Love Nature Photography? Read these tips!
South Florida offers hundreds of acres of protected land with ample opportunity for photographers. Nothing beats glimpsing a rare bird, colorful plant, or wild animal. As a photographer of the natural world, you can be an ambassador for conservation! Help tell the story of Florida’s dwindling Everglades, but keep a few things in mind before enjoying the outdoors. Our friends at National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, and the alike will thank you! For more details on wildlife photography ethics click here.
Wildlife Comes First
It’s our responsibility to remember that refuges, parks, and preserves are habitat! In that environment, the resources, plant or animal, are protected. They should go undisturbed, if possible. Overly excited photographers can sometimes forget this as they work to frame a good shot. Even this mild harassment can be stressful for wildlife. An animal that is afraid or stressed may panic. Panicking animals are more likely to injure themselves, a person, or even become prey. If an animal looks at you, stops feeding or moving, starts acting injured, or charges, you’re stressing it out!
When it comes to wildlife, distance is our friend. Wild animals don’t need our food, our water, or our help. Wild animals are unpredictable, and should always be given ample space. If an animal feels trapped, it will try to defend itself, and this sometimes results in personal injury. If you see an animal that is injured or otherwise compromised, take note of the location, and report it to the nearest staff member or call the phone number listed on their website.
Stay on Trail
Nature is unpredictable! We should never take our safety for granted while outdoors. In the manicured gardens and beaches of Southern Florida, it’s easy to forget! Stay on the trail, heed warning signs, and listen to the staff and volunteers–they’re there to help!
It’s easy with our noses in our cameras or phones to get distracted. Even on a paved trail, it’s important to stay alert. It’s easier than you think to trip, get lost, or disturb wildlife. So stay sharp! Of course, you’re after the perfect shot, but don’t forget to enjoy the moment, too.
Leave No Trace
We all try to be responsible stewards when we’re outdoors. Sometimes a scrap of paper gets away from us. Or maybe we forget our water bottle at a lookout point. Try to take out everything you took in. If you see some litter, and it’s safe and reasonable for you to do so, clean it up! Or let a staff member know.
Share the Message
Share your pictures on your social media, give the location a shout out, and consider including the message of responsible stewardship. You never know who among your followers needs to hear it!
Staff photographer Shane Srogi has traveled the United States photographing some wild places. He currently teaches a breadth of workshops at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre and can accommodate 1:1 sessions. If you’re interested in taking a walk on the wild side but need some guidance, Shane can help! Click here to see a list of upcoming workshops or call 561-253-2600 to schedule a 1:1.