Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ten Top Ethics for a Nature Photographer

Many disciplines have their ethical guidelines, including fields of photography like photojournalism. I am not sure if others have their ethical guidelines for nature photography, but I thought I would share mine.

1. Share beauty: What you capture in lens can be so beautiful, entrancing and wonderful. Help guide others to the appreciation of beauty you see as a communion of spirit. Let others know of your deep respect and love for nature. So that love can help them find their love.

2. Respect the land: With every action you do when you step into the world, try to leave the least imprint of your presence. If you see where someone has left garbage or something that has marred the environment, do what you can to set things right even in small ways.

3. Do by example: If you go on an outing with someone else show by your behavior your respect for nature. Sometimes small little acts are worth more than a thousand words of advice.

4. Treat animals with love and respect: Animals deserve our respect and love. Never mistreat, abuse animals in nature. Follow the guidelines in not feeding wild animals. And share with others the reason why. Respect the space of animals and do not intrude or interrupt their life.

5. Become in sync with nature: Go quietly into nature. So often I see people in conflict with the sounds of nature that they never have the opportunity to see the beauty that unfolds around them. Noise and even loud voices interrupt the rhythm of the natural world and as you pass through nature it will hide from you til you are gone.

6. Take the time to observe: Quiet and stillness are some of your best friends in the natural world. Take the time to be still and just look to see and feel. And the world will open to you.

7. Teach the children: Show your children appreciation of nature, teach them what you know. And show by example your love and respect for the physical world.

8. Remind yourself of your ethics: Even with this exercise of writing this post. I am remembering and reinforcing what I know is important. Sometimes I stray, but thinking about these things again helps me to better interact with nature.

9. Learn from the example of others: There are many who excel in their dealings with the natural world more than you or me. And you can learn lessons just by watching. You can learn from anyone they may be smarter than you or less so. But they all have lessons to teach.

10. Man's world is different than the natural world: Sometimes it is easy to lose sight that man makes a world different than the natural world. Man has estranged himself from nature in many of his thoughts ideas and concepts. He lives almost in an artificial world of politics and his technological environment . I think it is important to understand our artificial world for what it is and the natural world for what it is. When I move in the natural world I try to leave man's world behind.

Ethics to me are not hard and fast. They are a guide and a reminder of how we humans and nature should interact. And if you can bring your camera to illustrate the beauty and spirit of nature you are performing a service to yourself and perhaps others.

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