From the President: Gordon Illg

It’s holiday time! That special season when we wish for Christmas miracles, Hanukah miracles, Saturnalia miracles…basically we’re looking for miracles. Grant us another year of health, livelihood, friends, family, and as nature photographers, the continued existence of the things we like to take pictures of. Grant us another year of not just rattlesnakes on dirt roads, but an abundance of wildlife of all kinds, as well as scenic vistas with a capital S and a capital V. We’re talking landscapes like those that greeted the first humans. That’s all we want.

In these days of increasing scrutiny, I feel I should mention the snake in the cover photo was not molested in any way. We found it on one of our wild horse photo tours, sunning itself on a dirt road. We photographed it without moving it, then guided it off the road. It didn’t even rattle till we tried to convince it to leave the road. Not that I, personally, wasn’t in terrible danger during the shoot. Yes, my back could’ve seized up at any moment, leaving me lying on the ground, feebly moving my limbs like a turtle on its back. It’s no fun getting old, but nature photographers are used to taking some risks for their craft.

Sorry, I let myself get distracted by an image of a snake. It’s like shaking keys in front of a toddler, or exposing a cat to Christmas tree ornaments.

I was talking about miracles, and the true miracle is that we still have exciting things to photograph. As the year winds down, try not to dwell excessively on the problems and the losses that plague the natural world. Remember the victories and the wonders that still exist. Focus on the beauty that can still be seen. Recharge your batteries so you’re better able to pursue the things that are important to you in the coming year.

It can sometimes look like things are only going from bad to worse, but no matter how hopeless and depressing things may seem, there is always beauty for us to contemplate, beauty that is forever beyond our reach and our ability to disturb. The darkness is after all, only a passing thing. On that somewhat hopeful note, I’d like to pass on my season’s greetings. Hope you all have a fabulous holiday season, and that 2019 is full of wild things and wild places. I hope to see and chat with each and every one of you at the Las Vegas Summit in February.