Sometimes I’m amazed how far a photographer is willing to travel. Yes, I’ve been to Yellowstone and even the Serengeti, but I’m not just talking about traveling for fun. I’m talking about how far a photographer is willing to travel for images to add to their body of work.
I’m sure this goes back to one’s sense of exploration and adventure, which actually are big drivers towards photographic work for me. But sometimes you have to look right under your nose. It’s almost as if photography these days is a showcase for the places that a person can go. It’s taking to extreme the old saying, “If you want an interesting photograph, put your camera in front of something interesting.”
Even more, the growth of photography today has resulted in some problems. You see photographers, being an adventurous sort, aren’t willing to stay on the trail, aware of how delicate vegetation can be, or sometimes even aware of the dangers associated with some remote locations. The popularity of National Parks have grown but so has the damage to our park’s facilities and terrain.
But don’t let the secret out. My favorite stomping grounds are 20 minutes from my house, and it’s not like I live in Montana or Oregon. I’m finding endless subjects to photograph in the nearby Potomac River. Sure, you need a kayak (or canoe) to get to those subjects, but that’s where the adventure starts. The light on the river at dawn and dusk is incredible. Whether it’s landscapes, macro or wildlife, it’s all on the river.
Where the Potomac has been the basis of my body of work over the past few years, it’s also helped me grow beyond selling prints and leading meetups to more of a focus on conservation. And the river needs that kind of attention. It’s come a long way in the last ten years. Once declared by President Johnson to be a disgrace, today pollution is down, fish are more abundant, and it’s a rare day on this body of water when you don’t see a Bald Eagle.
So while all my photographer friends are logging frequent flyer miles and standing in security lines, I’m putting that time towards a local waterway for my body of work.