Where did you take that photo?
In short… if I don’t know you personally and have confidence in your Leave No Trace (LNT) commitment, I will not tell you the specific location of where an image was made. Period.
As a life-long wilderness explorer and lover of the outdoors, I strongly support Leave No Trace principals and I am a co-founder of Nature First, the Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography. Every place I go, whether road-side attraction or unknown back-country, I take pride in leaving the location looking like I was never there. I want those who come after me to have their own – sometimes life changing – experience. And I wish this for everyone – whether they visit a day later, or generations from now.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed a dramatic increase in damage to our natural areas. And my outdoor experiences are frequently tarnished by actions (or in-actions) of those who came before me. There are many reasons for this – from viral publicity leading to over-use, to just plain ignorance and lack of care. The result is devastating. The beauty of our natural world is increasingly becoming trampled and trashed.
The remedy is complicated… there’s no quick and easy fix. Opinions vary widely and discussions of what to do often devolve into online political shouting – unproductive, at best. Being and optimist, I believe that most people want to treat mother nature right. But efforts to educate and inform are usually ignored, and sometimes taken as offensive.
So what can I, as an avid explorer and a nature photographer do? In an effort to reduce the negative impact on sensitive natural areas, I will not publicize details about specific locations on my website or social media. If I don’t know you personally and have confidence in your Leave No Trace (LNT) commitment, I will not tell you the specific location of where an image was made. I don’t do this in an attempt to keep locations secret (we all know that is futile). I don’t do it to protect myself, my income, or my ego. I’m not an elitist. I want everyone to experience the beauty of nature, and I encourage everyone to get out and experience it. I simply will no longer contribute to the proliferation of information accessible by those who don’t share my passion and respect for nature.