By SnapSquad - February 22, 2019

I don’t know about you but I happen to be in love, quite passionate to be honest. To cut short the suspense, I love our planet which I think is the most beautiful and amazing place in all the galaxies of the universe. I fact I believe that Earth is the Garden of Eden! Needless to say that it hurts me profoundly to see how criminally insane we have turned out to be against our own life provider: Nature. The deeper the cut when I think of what I am going to leave behind for my children and their children and that is why I have come to pay attention to all sorts of choices I make, including my hobbies, like photography.

Can photography be destructive? Really? Indeed, my first thoughts on this were that that hobby of mine was absolutely harmless. Then I thought again, making a mental effort to get away from the notion that picture hunting is harmless, that a lens cannot kill and that taking a picture of a wild orchid is so much more respectful than plucking it on its stem (especially when you know that those orchids will fade within minutes from being picked). This is how, after some searching and inquiring, I found out just how much our behaviour as photographers can affect our surroundings; I went on to collect some suggestions on how we can live our passion with respect for our environment, then I turned those suggestions into sensible questions we can ask ourselves on how we can leave as few as possible physical scars on our world and HOW TO BE AN ECO RESPONSIBLE PHOTOGRAPHER.

  • Am I changing, braking, or destroying anything to take my shot? 
While your mind is totally focussed on taking pictures, it so easy to forget anything else near and not pay attention to what is around that you may push out of the way or even break branches if you are outdoor (especially the one blocking the perfect shot), birds in their nest; artefacts if you are in an archaeological site, or even people’s property, these are but a few examples I can think of right now.

  • Am I disturbing any animals?
You may think of yourself as a harmless wildlife picture hunter but watch out! National Geographic Photographers do take lots of precautions before they start targeting their live subject. As amateur photographers, we too should go prepared and first study our subjects and their environment, even if the photo shoot is only going to happen as far as the local park down the street. You don’t need to be an extremist animal rights activist to respect them, basic common sense should prevail: be silent, don’t be a bully by getting close and carry the right lenses!

  • Am I forgetting anything behind?
Any food or drink containers, wrappers? Sun cream plastic bottle? Cigarette buds? What about wastewater if you are camping? I am thinking non-biodegradable things in particular yet, really, any leftovers should go back with you to be correctly disposed of or recycled. While you are caring enough not to leave anything behind, you may want to help by collecting what other not so smart and considerate people have trashed before you.

  • Am I using my flashlight in the wrong place?
In some places, such as museums, galleries and animal parks, camera flashlights are forbidden. In some countries though, regulations are not so clear and posters may be lacking to inform visitors. Personally, I always inquire with the ticket receptionist whether pictures are allowed or not. Again, it is a matter of common sense to know that flash photography is not allowed in caves so that BC paintings will not disappear so that only pictures of them remain. Many museums have strict rules on that too and so do animal parks. Respect the rules, read signs and posters on your way, enquire with the staff and listen to the guides.

  • Am I collecting the wrong kind of souvenirs?
Times have changed and wildlife trophies or archaeological memorabilia in the living room are not so cool anymore, if not illegal; so resist any temptation to collect botanical specimens, corals or pieces of Angkor Wat!

  • Have I considered changing my camera batteries to rechargeable ones?
Photographer Darren Rowse makes a strong point that we should use rechargeable batteries rather than AA’s. His opinion is that “Considering the many millions of digital cameras around the world that take AA’s the numbers of old batteries in our landfill because of them all must be massive. Rechargeable batteries will keep you from adding to this landfill for years to come – and in the long run, they’ll save you money too!”

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