NATURE FIRST – The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography

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Nature First” is an alliance of photographers to spread the word about responsible nature photography. Well, I think it’s not only about nature photography, their 7 principles apply also to other types of photography in nature. This could be a wedding shoot, a portrait session, or anything else.

These days it is all about protecting ourselves and our planet. Global warming is becoming an increased topic all around the world and not just in science, in politics as well. Don’t worry, we won’t get into politics here. It is all about photography.

The 7 Principles of Nature First

  1. Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
  2. Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
  3. Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
  4. Use discretion if sharing locations.
  5. Know and follow rules and regulations.
  6. Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
  7. Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

Read more details about each of the principles on Nature First’s website.

Besides photography, I am also a passionate Geocacher. Geocaching follows the same “Leave No Trace” principle. In Geocaching there are so-called CITO events that stand for Cach In – Trash Out. During these events, geocachers came together to clean up a local park, a forest, beach, or any other place in nature by collecting trash. This is something everyone should adapt to. If you see trash, pick it up and put it in a garbage can. Most importantly, don’t even drop your garbage on the ground and put it where it belongs.

On my travels and hikes, I see more and more places littered with garbage. People going there, trying to enjoy nature and then just throw away their empty cans, bottles, and snack packages. Every single one of us can make a difference and if we all come together, we can have a huge impact. Be responsible when you enjoy nature. Stay on trails and pathways to preserve the delicate eco-systems. 

The biggest impact on nature while doing some kind of “photography” is the Instagram Generation. These people are hunting for the next great shot to get the most likes on Instagram and other social media platforms. Often this hunt comes with a price, a price nature has to pay. People are careless and do whatever it takes to get the shot.

Besides Nature First, there is Leave No Trace, another great organization that educates about limiting your impact during outdoor recreation. This includes everything from hiking to camping in nature. Leave No Trace has its roots in the backcountry setting but their seven principles can be applied to any part of nature and the great outdoors even the small park around the corner.

As we are already sharing other important organizations trying to do good in the community and world, I would like to also introduce Operation Lifesaver – Rail Safety Education. They are all about educating how to be safe around railroads. For example, what to do when you are stalled on a railroad crossing. Please visit their website as well and learn more about railroad safety. This is also helpful when you are into train spotting or sometimes also called railfanning.

I am a big fan of trains and railroads and love to photograph them wherever I can. There are beautiful places, some of them are in the middle of nature where the train tracks cut through a nice valley or other picturesque places. You can combine the seven Nature First principles with railroad safety to get great pictures of trains.

I am not here to tell you what to do. We all want to enjoy nature, but let’s do it responsibly. I am here to educate and share my passion for photography and the outdoors. Let us all be rather the solution not the problem. Every single one can help. It’s enough to just spread the word in your family or with friends. Make a difference. One can become many and we only have this one planet, at least as of right now. Help to keep this blue marble thriving for many centuries to come. Give the next generations a place to enjoy and cherish.

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