True Nature Filter Blog Launch!
If you are an amateur smartphone photographer like I am, chances are you’ve taken your fair share of nature photos – maybe without really thinking too deeply about what is going on in those photos. I’m talking to those of you who pause for the perfect sunset pic, steady yourself into a squat to focus on a flower, and bend over backwards to capture the length of a cool, crooked tree. Then you pocket your handy dandy phone and walk on. Another photo for the records? Check.
I do this all the time, whether it’s on a walk to the park, a weekend hike in the woods, or just while I’m crossing campus for my next class of the day. If you have a similar habit, I challenge you to wonder, for a minute: Why? Why do you feel compelled to whip out your phone for these kinds of sights?
Maybe it’s because you know those shots will do wonders for your Facebook and Instagram aesthetics. Maybe it’s because you want to remember the beautiful view, save it as the background on your phone and see it every day. Maybe you want to text it to a friend, or maybe you’re sending it as a Snap.
Or maybe you just do it. Because you can. In a time when most of us never leave home without our convenient rectangular cameras, maybe it has become a normal reaction, when we see something cool, to capture its image and then move on. Maybe this is a new, routine way of acknowledging the nature around us.
As early as I can remember, I have appreciated nature’s beauty. When I went to college and studied Natural Resources, I suddenly saw that picturesque world through a new lens. Some sights were even more beautiful, once I understood the intricate cycles that formed them and to which they contributed. Others became sad and disturbing, once I understood how they were threatened. This is not to say they became less beautiful – in fact, when do we appreciate something any more than when we know it is about to disappear? – but my view of them changed, and I could no longer simply see romantically hazy sunset without thinking about the polluted air framing the sun. I could no longer point my camera at colorful starfish after colorful starfish without wondering which ones would succumb to sea star wasting disease and dissolve, while still alive, back into the raging sea.
I still take plenty of nature photos, but now I see things through the lens of my smartphone camera that are not obvious to those who haven’t dabbled in the natural sciences. I have decided to share those “unseen” layers of my photos with all of you by adding them to what might be considered “typical” nature photos. Think of it as a filter I’ve added to each picture that, instead of enhancing the color of the image, enhances your knowledge of what is amazing and worrisome about Earth. My hope in pursuing this project is that I can change the way you view your own nature photos as you look back through your photo albums, but also how you view nature itself, as you’re snapping the next round of pretty nature pics.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, I believe it is wise for all of us to contemplate what some of those words might be, as we frame a small section of the natural world within the tiny screens of our phones. It seems like the healthy thing to do – for ourselves, and for the planet – to reflect on what we find so intriguing and so beautiful about the things we see carved into, cascading from, and growing out of this incredible planet and realize that each day, we take actions that may jeopardize the lives, functions, and beauty of those very places and things we so admire.
So, scroll around. Enjoy the blog. Follow True Nature Filter on Instagram to stay connected.