k1photography.com: Articles

Rewarding Nature

by Karen-Jane Dudley

window to the soul -karen-jane dudley 2013
window to the soul -karen-jane dudley 2013

To spend time living close to nature is a reward in itself, its experience allows time to absorb the rich diversity of natural wealth and beauty this planet holds, more importantly it brings closer an understanding of our own existence and our role to help protect and preserve the fine balance of nature to which we belong.
What right do we have to dominate, destroy, intimidate or disrespect nature? Our insistent push towards global domination will be our eventual downfall .Our demands on the natural world are taking their toll, for which we are now sadly all too aware of, Extinction levels are critical, each day we see the tragic loss of yet another specie its final fate to become yet another sad statistic on the lengthening list
As a wildlife photographer my role within the realms of nature is to visually demonstrate its beauty through the power of imagery, but how far do we enforce this role before we become intrusive?
Our quest for knowledge and understanding into the lives of the many stunning species that still grace this earth continues to grow in intensity with demands for photographic images that may inevitably become our only sad preservation of their existence, we can sit and do nothing or we can make a commitment to ensure that future generations will not have to witness the natural richness of our planet preserved only in the pages of a book

hypnotic -karen-jane dudley -2013
hypnotic -karen-jane dudley -2013

How do we justify and abide by the laws of nature to ensure that no matter what the demands of the cutting edge image required ? the drama of the daily life and death struggle of the animal kingdom hands us a responsibility, remember your impact on the environment whenever out into the field to preserve a vision of nature on camera
The answer is simple; it will come down to our individual conscience, what we take from nature we also need to give back,To earn a living from nature holds a magnitude of rewards and should never be influenced by material gain alone, the greater reward is priceless – the wealth of pride at being granted time to become part of that world, it is vital we now address and correct our policy of regarding wildlife as a prized commodity for personal gain. Copyright laws protect our ownership of photographic images and privacy laws to stop personal intrusion, Why do we choose not to implement these laws for nature’s protection and privacy? If animal chooses to distance herself from the camera, who are we to demand she poses for the perfect image, she too has rights to privacy, we need to respect this fact, we do not own her. Our patience and understanding of wildlife should never be forgotten, allowing time for them to accept our presence with a gentle and sensitive approach, never crossing natural boundaries or using artificial means to entice for our own benefit, wildlife will never be dominated or respond to demands.

eternal spirit -karen-jane dudley 2013 - copy
eternal spirit -karen-jane dudley 2013 - copy

We have to learn to work alongside nature, not against It .In a world seemingly driven by greed we need to evaluate our role with the camera and look at the broader picture, just how far should we pursue or invade to gain that ultimate “ money image “ at natures expense.My role as a photographer has never been influenced by material gain, with many images published and freely donated for the provision of educational material to demonstrate the beauty of nature or given back by way of royalties to conservation causes, my gain is far greater as a conservationist, custodian and guardian of nature

How do we reward nature?

In a world dominated by technology our insight into the natural world has taken on another dimension in our ability to explore deeper and examine more closely the complex world of the animal kingdom, but how can we utilize this advancement to also reward it? –By giving nature her “ voice”
By allowing wildlife to use camera and lens to act as their voice will allow us a greater and deeper understanding into their language, to share in their pain, anxiety, and fears and also joy,
The responsibility as a photographer is to relay these messages through our images by observing and giving them the opportunity to “ speak “ and the ability to connect and communicate in their language, They will reward and respect you in return,

born free - karen-jane dudley 2013
born free - karen-jane dudley 2013

The power of a lion looking directly into your eyes to speak his message, never once threatening but full of gentleness and warmth will instil a spirit that can never be erased or washed away ,Look into the eyes of a lioness and see her pure soul, her messages are clear to see,

“ Do not see me as a predator only,
I am a mother; I will defend my children and family as you would defend yours
This planet we live on, the air we breathe, we share these common bonds
We do not destroy your lives, yet you choose to destroy ours,
You invade our homelands, we do not invade yours
Your laws protect you, who protect us
You hunt for pleasure, we hunt to survive
My existence is vulnerable, as is yours “
Grant me your respect, I will never disrespect you

Remember the camera will record natures messages, how we choose to decipher or interpret their messages only time will tell,
It is never wise to look through the lens and take it all for granted, what you see today maybe gone tomorrow , it is down to us to take notice, listen and take positive action,

sacred -karen-jane dudley 2013
sacred -karen-jane dudley 2013

With the world of digital photography booming and opening up opportunities for everyone to enjoy and explore the world of photography, further pressure will be placed upon the natural world,myself having witnessed photographers pursuing a stressed animal in order to gain an image,
Think before you act, if you are in their domain act responsibly, never harass, corner or intimidate,
Give them time, space and respect,
An aggressive approach or act of intimidation to gain a photograph is not acceptable in our daily lives, why should wildlife be subject to this act , we do not own nature we are part of it
No matter how expensive the equipment, the camera is only the tool that records what we see, it is down to the individual photographers knowledge, patience and understanding of nature that will produce results that will cause little or no impact to our natural world
Remember do NOT TAKE photo's ..... Take NOTHING from nature ... simply choose to preserve its vision and beauty.
I have been asked on numerous occasions as to the most dangerous animal I have ever worked with ?? ....

It is a specie with the ability to protect and stem the flow of damage sadly being inflicted on the natural world .....A specie with the intelligence to take responsibility for its actions ... but it also has the ability to be the most dangerous too

That specie ??? .............My answer is a simple one ……………..HOMO SAPIEN