Being a Responsible Wildlife Photographer
I live near Presque Isle State Park. Presque Isle is a wonderful natural treasure with incredible beaches, trails and access to wildlife. It's also considered one of the best spots for birding in the nation. Of course, because of this it is incredibly popular with photographers of all types.
Keeping Presque Isle a great spot for photographer's in the future requires some mindfulness on our part. As such, here are some reminders to being an environmentally responsible photographer.
1. Leave it the Way You Found it
This one has been said often enough you should already know it. When you go home after a day of shooting, no one should know you were there until you show them your photographs. And absolutely never leave trash.
2. Respect Wildlife and Keep Your Distance
A particular problem I've seen at Presque Isle is photographers getting too close to wildlife. We all love a great photograph of owls and birds up close and filling the frame, but getting too close to get those shots stresses out wildlife and can harm them or keep them from coming back to the area. In a related note, don't feed wildlife! Feeding wild animals, and getting too close to them makes them acclimated to humans which can require them to be euthanized, or consume improper diets causing disease.
3. Respect Park Boundaries
Many parks and preserves are located in very fragile ecosystems. If signs say to keep out, heed them. If you want to venture off the beaten paths, consider talking to Park Rangers about where the best and safest areas to travel to would be.
4. Learn About Your Subjects
Take time to learn about what you are photographing, whether it's birds, landscapes, or historical sites. Not only does it give you a greater appreciation for what you're photographing, but it let's you talk about your photos more when you show them to people! People will be more engaged with your photography if you can tell them something about it.
If you have specific questions or looking for ways that you can be more responsible to the environment, check out the resources below!