Good Practices and Bad Habits of Nature Photography

There have always been irresponsible or criminal people who destroy the nature that they claim to love. Social media seems to have worsened that trend. Some are so focused on getting a popular photo that they trample over rare plants. Others rip out surrounding greenery to take a clearer shot. I’ve watched in horror as people ignored fences and warning signs, and then crushed endangered native species in pursuit of a selfie.

The Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland spoke with Jon Dunn, author of Orchid Summer, and ecologist Callum Macgregor about responsible photography practices. Their tips include:

  • Don’t harm nearby plants to improve your view. Consider different angles to get a clear shot, and incorporate plants as background. Gently push aside grasses, or temporarily weigh them down with light objects, like knitting needles.
  • Learn how to get the most from your camera. Practice with it. Change settings or use software filters to focus on your subject, and blur the background. Photo editing software can remove intrusive vegetation.
  • To prevent trampling, stay on paths whenever possible. Don’t lie down to take pictures, or you’ll flatten a large area. Never go over fences or barriers. Pay attention to signs and warnings. Set up a tripod and remote control, or a telephoto zoom, to take shots from a distance.
  • Remove GPS data before posting pictures. Sadly, ignorant and immoral people utilize posts to pinpoint rare plants and steal them. You can change settings on your camera or phone to prevent photos from showing this info. Some social media sites may automatically delete EXIF data, which contains locations. Check out these tips to learn more about removing metadata.
  • If you find something rare or protected, notify local conservation authorities. They may be able to provide extra protection for the plants.
  • Connect with other nature lovers, and spread these helpful tips.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books, Conservation, In the News

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