I spent weeks preparing and packing for my “Epic South Georgia” voyage, a photographer’s dream bucket-list trip, run by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. One of my main priorities was having proper clothing and photography gear. That and staying healthy before and on the trip, especially because there is no airstrip, rescue or other emergency service on the island, nor is there cell or Wi-Fi service.
By the time I left home the first week of October 2019, I had watched plenty of YouTube videos and seen enough Facebook and Instagram posts from South Georgia Island to make me vividly imagine returning home with memories and images of magical experiences. In reality, I had no idea what to anticipate. Nor could I assume I would get great images, having only two years of experience in nature photography. Little did I know I’d go as a hobbyist wildlife photographer and return as a budding conservation photographer and advocate.
Clay Bolt of Livingston, Montana has been named the 2019 Philip Hyde Conservation Grant recipient by the NANPA Foundation. Bolt’s award of $2,500 will be used to continue his study of bumble bees, specifically the effect of climate change on bumble bees in the Sky Islands in south-central New Mexico.
Among many important projects, the NANPA Foundation offers two grants each year: the Philip Hyde Conservation Grant and the Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant. The deadline for both grants is 11 PM Eastern Time tomorrow, October 31st, 2019. Although that’s not a lot of time, the grant application forms are not onerous and can be completed with a few hours effort. So, if you are a student studying photography in college or are either planning or in the midst of a conservation photography project, this is your chance for some financial assistance that can have a real impact on what you’re doing!
Sometimes a really critical piece of a conservation project isn’t the photography, the charismatic megafauna or stunning plants. Sometimes it’s something much more mundane or prosaic, like transcripts.
“If you were alive in 1970, more than one in four birds have disappeared in your lifetime.” So begins a Cornell Chronicle article about a new study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. That loss represents about three billion birds, across the US and Canada and across all biomes. Researchers examined decades of data on 529 species and found massive declines (53% loss) in the numbers of grasslands birds as well as big drops (37%) in shorebirds. As Ken Rosenberg, lead author of the study said, “It’s a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife. And that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment.”
In 2010, as part of the International League of Conservation Photographers’ Chesapeake Bay RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition), I found myself on the Anacostia River in Washington DC. The Anacostia is one of the most imperiled watersheds within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, a sprawling eco-region spanning most of the Mid-Atlantic. The Anacostia is also my home watershed, where the water that drains off my house and yard ends up.
NANPA’s Showcase competition includes a new category this year: conservation! In addition to birds, mammals, ‘scapes, macro/micro/other and altered reality, you can enter photos that speak to conserving species, ecosystems and places. So get your conservation images ready to enter!
Not all conservation photographs are taken for the same reasons and purposes. Your particular goal will determine what sort of approach you use for each shot.
Story and photos by Dave Huth
When people learn I’m a “conservation photographer,” they may form many different ideas about what my pictures look like.
No matter what they’re thinking, they’re probably right!
Photography can support the work of conservation in many different ways. Each makes good use of a certain kind of photograph. When I’m in the field, I try to keep in mind the particular ways my pictures might meet a conservation goal — and I set up my shots accordingly.