On this Mother's Day, it seems appropriate to write something about the virtue of loving your mother—Mother Nature, that is. I sometimes ask myself why I do what I do. The answer, always, is simple: I love nature, and I couldn't imagine a life without it. I suspect that all nature photographers more or less feel the same way. It is this common love for nature that unites us, overwhelming the everyday frivolous divides that seek to tear us apart. It is this love of nature that animates our spirits, and inspires our art.
The Internet has in many ways become the primary outlet for our work, and these days web audiences with short attention spans appear only interested in nature images of overwhelming beauty. In the battle for online attention, it seems that epic landscapes, epic light—and epic Photoshopping—are disproportionately rewarded, leaving us in an ever-accelerating race to produce the next otherworldly photograph. As this inflationary trend continues, I can't help but wonder whether the quixotic pursuit of Internet fame has become more important than our love of nature.
I'm by no means a purist or an ideologue, and I constantly strive to find some middle ground that allows me to both stay competitive and sleep at night. I can't help but think, however, that nature photography is somewhat adrift at the moment, and that we are all floating like cast-away fishing bobbers on a turbulent sea, spinning uncontrollably in the frothing waters.
Part of me feels that a more deferential approach to nature is needed. That perhaps it is time to release our eagle-claw grip on the saturation slider, and to approach nature with more reverence. Maybe it is time to look to nature with a more subtle eye, to love her many changing and infinite moods and hues, and to resist the urge to show her only in her most glorious. Maybe it is time to wander the inner path, seeking a deeper mastery than that obtained by chasing epic moments. Maybe, on this Mother's Day, it is time to let nature be our guiding star, and to let her lead us where she wills.
Maybe it is time to get back to the simple joys of loving our Mother.
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