Leaving no trace when taking nature photos
As nature enthusiasts, many of us love to capture the beauty of the outdoors through photography. However, it's important to remember that we have a responsibility to protect the natural environment we love so much. This is where the Leave No Trace principles come in.
The Leave No Trace principles encourage us to leave the outdoors as we found it, without leaving any trace of our visit. This means that we should avoid damaging or removing any natural objects, and we should take all of our trash with us when we leave. But what about photography? How can we capture the beauty of nature without harming our natural areas?
Birch tree seen on a hike (Photo by Mariam Qureshi)
When taking photos, it's important to be mindful of your surroundings and the impact of your actions. Avoid trampling on vegetation or disturbing wildlife in your quest for the perfect shot. Instead, stick to established trails and viewpoints, and use a zoom lens to capture wildlife from a safe distance.
One way to bring nature home with photos is to focus on the small details. Zoom in on the intricate details of a flower or the texture of tree bark. We can also learn about the behaviour and habitats of different species. Not only does this help us appreciate the beauty of nature more deeply, but it also reduces the risk of damaging the environment by not wandering off trails to look for that perfect wide landscape shot.
Several lifestyle objects printed with a birch bark photo that I had taken while hiking (Photo by Mariam Qureshi)
Photos can be a powerful tool in design, but they can also have a negative impact on the environment if not used responsibly. When designing with photos (stock or commissioned), it's important to consider the environmental impact of their creation as well as the ethics.
Sustainability means meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. When we choose to be sustainable, we are making a commitment to reduce our impact on the environment. This doesn't have to be just about using reusable water bottles or bringing our own bags to the grocery store, we can be sustainable in our use of photography by considering the impact of our photos. Storytelling through photos can also create awareness and foster stewardship in others.
Inspiration for more lifestyle items with nature incorporated (Photo by Mariam Qureshi)
Rug with bark print (Photo by Mariam Qureshi)
Overall, incorporating your own nature photos into your home design is a great way to create a space that is uniquely yours and reflects your love of the natural world.
We can share these photos with others and inspire them to appreciate the natural world. We can also use these photos to educate people about the importance of protecting our planet. Contributing photos to community science projects are a great way to share your nature photos, such as in the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Big Backyard BioBlitz event that just took place over the August long weekend.
Moreover, taking photos is a great way to connect with nature. This summer, I tried to keep this mindset while walking in nature and taking photos. This inspired me to create designs (shown in the examples above where I printed a photo of tree barks I had observed onto fabric for household items) that I could use as home decor with minimal impact. I am excited to show my designs of nature in an art exhibit this fall (Sept. 21-Dec. 14) and share my thoughts on contemporary ways of leaving no trace.
Photography and sustainability go hand in hand. By following the Leave No Trace principles, focusing on small details, and reducing our impact, we can continue to capture the beauty of nature without harming the environment we love. Remember to be respectful, leave no trace, and bring nature into your home to add its beauty and tranquillity while leaving the wilderness as you found it for future generations to enjoy.