From the day I started camping and my adventures I have always tried to follow Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Sometimes it is a bit gross carrying stuff you really don't want to carry for a week, but it just needs to happen. You just have to pack out everything that you take in. The phrase just leave footprints and only take away memories is often used. For those who want to know more about the basic principles of Leave No Trace you can visit their website lnt.org. The principles are always evolving so it is always worth a look each year to just catch up on any changes.
Just recently an outdoors company enraged the outdoor community by leaving graffiti over the mountains in the Lake District. They said it was a biodegradable chalk but days later the markings still remained. Many hikers and keen campers took to social media to vent their anger and quite rightly show their disgust at the company. Social media is a powerful tool.
In addition I see in the forums and Facebook groups a constant stream of irresponsible people lighting fires on the ground, even in moorland areas. Just recently a huge fire in the Yorkshire moors destroyed hundreds of acres of moorland and it is not the only fire recently caused by irresponsible behaviour. In this particular case it was a BBQ that set fire to the moorland.
For a while now, photography has been a major part of my hiking and adventures, but the damage caused by photographers and the over tourism to places does play on my mind. The rise of social media, e.g. Instagram amongst others seems to have just caused an explosion in our constant desire to get the hero shot, no matter what the cost is to nature or even human life.
I have always wondered if there was something for nature photographers. So I was watching a Ben Horne Youtube video the other day and surprised to see a new alliance called Nature First Photography has been created.
Nature First Photography seems to be built on LNT principles but crucially guides photographers to not only refrain from causing damage themselves but to be careful sharing locations that would be damaged with an increase of visitors. Many times, locations are ruined when photographs are placed on social media with exact location details. Hoards of people visit the locations with their selfie cameras and tripods in tow and effectively kill a location. I think it is a good idea, some are even just tagging their photos PlanetEarth.
I do not know if Nature First Photography will gain any traction but the principles seem sensible and a logical extension to LNT to try and protect nature and the landscape from photographers and tourists. If you are interested in taking a look or even becoming a member, you can do so on their website at https://naturefirstphotography.org.