For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to the environment and spirit of the natural world. As a child growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I “went to the woods” to experience, learn and explore. It was the beginning of my journey to “see” nature. Today almost a half-century later I am still on that quest to experience, understand and “see” the natural world.
As a geological scientist my goal is to explore, analyze and try to understand the workings of the planet’s composition, structure and processes. As an artist, my goal is to visually capture the essence of the environment and communicate my vision of the natural world by extracting images that evoke a Sense of Place and transport the viewer into the environment I am photographing on both intimate and grand scales. If I am successful, I believe that the image will “speak” to the viewer and evoke emotion. I am truly passionate in this quest to communicate the visual beauty of the natural world and hope that viewers of my work will come to appreciate the wonderful complexities of this planet and help work to preserve it.
In my photography work I always strive to adhere to a code ethics that has been compiled by the League of Landscape Photographers. :
- I inform myself about all rules and regulations relating to photography when visiting a natural area or public attraction.
- I do not knowingly step onto private property without permission even if the property appears abandoned.
- I stay on designated paths and trails. If there is no trail, I follow proper etiquette by educating myself on the principles of Leave No Trace.
- I aim for authenticity by photographing plants and animals in their natural habitat engaging in their normal behavior.
- I inform myself about the plants and animals I intend to photograph. I avoid photographing them if they exhibit distress signals, and during times of physical strain or breeding seasons. If my presence is causing stress, I leave the area immediately.
- I help to protect the environment by picking up trash I find when in the field.
- I work to improve my photographic skills by using all my tools when making a composition. I do not move objects, pull plants or otherwise ‘tidy’ a scene. I move my position or wait patiently rather than attempt to influence an animal’s behavior or posture.
- I refrain from baiting (including sound baiting), or placing attractants to entice wildlife or influence their behavior. Also, I remove all artificial attractants I find in wild places that were placed there by others.
- I treat wild animals living in an urban environment, such as songbirds, with the same respect that I accord to those living in the wild. I consider their safety and well being before putting out seed. If I do, I research the proper natural organic food and follow proper procedures to ensure the cleanliness of the feeder to minimize the risk of disease. I locate the feeder to avoid cover for predators as well as potential in-flight collisions with reflective house windows.
- I keep rare species safe and intact by not broadcasting the location of a fragile area, plant or animal. I remove GPS data from my images before sharing them with others.
- I avoid stopping to photograph if it is likely to start a chain reaction resulting in other visitors crowding the area. I find another time or place to continue photographing.
- I ask permission before photographing an identifiable person.
- I treat all people with respect.
- I treat models with courtesy, repaying professionals with prints or fees for their
- I do not reimburse people where to do so would take advantage of their social or
economic position or unduly influence them to pose for my picture.
- I am patient and courteous with non-photographers visiting a scene. I am creative and can adjust my expectations of the images I planned to make. I am open to new ideas as they present themselves to me.
- I am aware of my position and how it may interfere with the ability of the photographers and non-photographers around me to enjoy a scene.
- If someone wanders into my scene, I am courteous and will wait for them to move. I will consider adjusting my own position, or kindly asking them to move when they are ready.
- If I see someone violating the Code of Ethics, I will consider talking with them about the possible effects of their behavior. I will only do so if I do not perceive any threat to my personal safety. As an alternative, and if their behavior is particularly egregious, I will consider documenting the situation and reporting them to the appropriate authorities.
- I adopt this Code of Ethics and strive to adhere to these important principles.
- I am an ambassador of ethical conduct in the industry through my own behavior
and by sharing these principles with other photographers and the public.
- I know and respect my physical limitations and keep myself out of harm’s way by
avoiding situations where my health and safety or the health and safety of others
could be put at risk by my actions.
- I educate myself about the weather, terrain, culture and potential hazards before
visiting a new area.
- If I am leading a photo group, whether commercially or not, I ensure that the
group members are informed about the Code of Ethics, potential hazards and other safety concerns, and that the group size is appropriate given the sensitivity of the place we are visiting.
- I am always forthcoming about my post-processing and refrain from representing my photographs as something they are not.