Caught in the Camera Eye

By: Mike Clifford

A rather simple question at first glance- or so I thought.
As I began to sort out the reasons I enjoy photographing the outdoors, it occurred to me that the camera in itself is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal when it comes to preserving our country?s natural heritage.

The inspiration that photography provides in people makes it a medium unlike any other.

Whether you decide to share your works with friends and family or broadcast them far and wide, the fact remains that our natural areas are indeed being preserved in one way or another.

In researching for this article, I came across a fascinating story of the Gordon River in Tasmania. A photographer by the name of Peter Dombrovskis captured an image of what is known as ?Rock Island Bend? (Check out the ?Conservation Corner Online? forum on HeartlandOutdoorsmanCom for a glimpse of this remarkable photo, as it is truly amazing!). As the story goes, it was decided that a dam should be built to harness the power of the river, and public outcry quickly ensued. This one single frame became an important symbol of the fight to save the river, because it depicted the wild untamed beauty of this ecologically significant waterway and people instantly embraced it while coordinating their efforts.

Not everyone goes out with the camera to use it as a tool for conservation, obviously?but sometimes we overlook how important sharing these memories can be, and the residual benefits that often go unseen.
Remember the old adage ?Take only memories...Leave only footprints?? The next time you are out and about, the focus of this article will become much more evident while keeping that thought in mind.

For yet another reason to bring the camera along with you in your outdoors adventures, consider that it?s one of the best things you can have in your possession when scouting for future fishing ?hot spots? on our local rivers and streams.

Instead of feeling disgruntled in the middle of a major dry period, take advantage of the fact that the water levels are low.

By snapping photos of the shoreline habitat at this point, you can look back on them during high water and you?ll know exactly where to pitch that perfect cast for those fish looking to get out of the current. The brushpiles, weedbeds and boulders are more than likely still there and you will now have the knowledge at hand to target them quickly and efficiently! Think about it.

Unfortunately, there are other obvious aspects of the outdoors that are not as pleasant for us to cherish as memories of our experience on any given day. The time may come when you happen upon circumstances that are likely to cause great harm to your favorite watershed, and your camera now becomes that all-important tool again in preserving it?albeit from a much different perspective that what we?ve already discussed here. Pollution, poaching, illegal dumping and a myriad of other illegal acts are perpetrated against our natural resources continually, as much as we hate to recognize them or to give them a second thought. In this case, you become the witness, while your camera produces the evidence, and many times you are the only person around that will ever see a specific event happening.

Let?s hope these occurrences are the exception rather than the norm in your travels, but keep it in the back of your mind that the opportunity exists to help bring resolution to the problem.

In getting back to the finer points of photographing the outdoors, be sure to visit HeartlandOutdoorsman.Com for your chance at some great prizes in the SPRING PHOTO CONTEST. Every photo posted among the various Photography Forums will automatically be entered and judged.

Need FREE hosting for your submittals? We can provide you with that as well.
As Spring brings a new awakening to ?all things wild? in our area, we look forward to viewing your submittals, as there are more than likely some remarkable shots in your camera as you read this!

As space is limited in an article of this sort, you can learn much more about capturing the great outdoors on film or in a digital format by reading the numerous articles on the website. Plenty of Tips and Tricks have been submitted by amateurs and professionals alike, so feel free to share your own or simply browse what others have written.

Until next time:
Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colorsComputer Technology Articles, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.? ~Rainer Maria Rilke

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