David Johnston

Working in Nature: Ethical Principles

David Johnston
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Duration:   4  mins

In the last decade or so, the sale of digital cameras has exploded. Many more photographers are accessing public land to capture its natural beauty. In this video, professional outdoor photographer David Johnston reminds you of your ethical responsibilities when working in nature with your camera.

David shares with you his basic principles. Working in nature involves preserving the landscape and leaving it in a natural state. That means prioritizing the natural conditions. Never shoot an image if your actions harm the landscape. Working closely with nature means understanding the ecosystem. He suggests you educate yourself about areas where you might endanger plants or wildlife.

When working in nature, you will have some impact on the environment. You must use discretion when sharing locations with other photographers. Some fragile locations can’t handle the foot traffic. To see a large crowd of photographers shooting soaring eagles over a river is to see their disrespect for the birds and the land. Another of David’s principles is to strictly follow the rules and regulations. Caring for nature means protecting the pristine places where your journey takes you.

David stresses the “Leave No Trace” principle. When working as a nature photographer, you should strive to leave your locations better than you found them. On your photographic excursions, never leave anything you brought in, and never take anything from the land back with you. Hopefully, no one would ever know you had visited a location. This is the ideal method of working in nature. Finally, you can be an ambassador to the landscape and the ecosystem. Beyond just practicing David’s principles, make an effort to promote them to others.

Join pro photographer David Johnston as he shows you his beautiful landscape images captured without harming the land he journeyed through.

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2 Responses to “Working in Nature: Ethical Principles”

  1. Robert Bolton

    Good video, but it could probably use an accompanying PDF to download and keep and print out as a reminder. The written word sticks better than a quick video.

  2. Thomas St. James

    I was a Boy Scout (when that was still a good thing). I have always practiced "leave no trace", not just in photography, but in fishing, camping, hiking or even having a picnic If there is any evidence of my having ever been there, it's that I've cleaned up the spot. Keeping mum about locations is also important. I have seen pristine areas trashed in only a few short years after word gets out. Another good rule is to keep things natural. Don't rearrange things for a better shot and don't provoke wildlife. While an animal or bird is more exciting engaging in some action than they are just sitting in one place, spooking them to get them to move is a no no.

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