National Nature Photography Day: How Will You Celebrate?

Hey, have you heard the news? Today is our day! Today is National Nature Photography Day! That’s right. Today is your day! And it’s my day! And we’re reserving this space, right here, to talk about celebrating.

There is a seemingly unending list of “National (fill in the blank) Days.” More than there are days on the calendar, actually. It’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed by, or to simply ignore, these ‘special’ days altogether. I mean, how many people out there are celebrating “National Pop Goes the Weasel Day?” It’s a day set aside each year to… wait for it… acknowledge the famous nursery rhyme. Yeah, that was yesterday. Did you remember to acknowledge it? 

No offense meant to those who celebrate Pop Goes the Weasel Day, but TODAY is different because today is OUR day! Each year, since its inception in 2006, June 15th has marked ‘National Nature Photography Day,’ and that is what we do. This day is meant to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, but not just that. Images have been used to advance the cause of conservation and protection of landscapes, plants, and wildlife for just about as long as cameras have existed.

photo: Doug Marshall

Today, I am feeling inspired to photograph the natural world around me. I’ve experienced a bit of a re-birth with regard to photographing locally since moving at the end of last summer from the high desert of northern Arizona to the Pacific Northwest. Both locations are almost mystical in terms of their individual landscapes and the stories they tell.

Getting to know better the flora, fauna, geology and cultural history of this ‘new’ area has been exciting, to say the least. Frankly, shooting around these parts right now makes me feel like I’m on one big Backcountry Journeys tour, but without the pleasure of others, something that cannot be duplicated. 

I’m heading out to shoot today. And I’m going to think about how my images could be more than just pictures. Won’t you join? I’m also thinking a lot about the trips I’ve led in 2022 for BCJ. These included two departures in February at Death Valley; Olympic National Park, and Coastal Oregon & California’s Redwoods. These trips were incredible experiences that I left with both new and renewed friendships, experiences that I’ll not soon forget, images to edit, print, and be proud of, and yes, a couple of extra pounds (from all the eating). Those of you who’ve traveled with us already know this. Pardon my reminiscing, it’s just how I’m feeling today as I revel in this inspiration from thinking about Nature Photography Day, 2022. 

I’m considering my next trip, too, which will take me back ‘home’ to northern Arizona at the end of July for Southwest Monsoon: Grand Canyon Country. I’m excited to see my old digs with a new lens. By that I mean seeing the high desert and canyons and listening to the story they tell after being away and in such a different environment. Will it say different things? Will it look different? I think that it will. 

But, enough about me. This piece wasn’t meant to be a “What’s Kenton up to these days” piece. 

What does Nature Photography Day inspire in you? Will you head out and make some images of the natural world that surrounds you? Maybe take a moment to learn something about your own backyard that you’ve just never known? Even if you reside in a city, there must be something available. Have you looked for it recently? What is it trying to tell you? 

Maybe you’re more inspired by a trip to somewhere far off, someplace you’ve thought of in daydreams, but have yet to get to. Maybe someplace you’ve been yet would like to re-visit. That’s where we come in! 


Here are some ways to celebrate Nature Photography Day:
(The following list comes from the North American Nature Photography Association)

  • Learn even more about the natural history of your environment: plants, wildlife, and land. Hey! We do that on BCJ photography tours!! Your guide will be well versed in the natural world, or national park, in which you travel with us so you can expect to learn a bit about the location you’re photographing, which in our opinion, is essential! 
  • Encourage the creative spirit among your family and friends. Tell them about books and online resources with suggestions on how to photograph flowers, birds, and more. 
  • Know that your photos can be invaluable, telling vital stories about nature. Find something that detracts from the natural world, showing images of how human beings sometimes adversely affect the environment. Have you taken time recently to make your loved ones sit through a slideshow of your trip images? If not, it’s time and you are overdue for a session. Your friends and family will thank you later. Seriously, though. Share your images, the things you’ve learned, and the love of the locations you’ve visited while on BCJ trips! 
  • Remind your colleagues about Nature Photography Day and how images have been used to protect the natural world. If you have a website or blog, spread the news there, too.
  • Immerse yourself in the legacy of nature photography by reading about the work of naturalists as well as pioneers in the profession. Have you read Ansel Adams’ Biography? It’s GREAT! 
  • Build vibrant memories by picking something close to home that you’ve never photographed before. Then make plans to photograph that subject or scene. Enjoy your hobby on a day set aside to acknowledge it!
  • Create a scavenger hunt for birds, butterflies, insects, rocks, and other natural sights likely to be close to you. But don’t just list what you’ve found. Take photos!
  • Finally, ask yourself how your images can help to bring positive changes to the Earth. After all, it’s our common home. 

So, how will you celebrate our day, today? Might it be time to schedule that next BCJ trip? Whatever you choose to do, make it something that speaks to you. 

Kenton Krueger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Olympic, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, Coastal Oregon, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, and former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

 

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