May is usually the month when I start working on land conservation photography projects for my non-profit clients, and this week I’ll be getting to work on a local project here on the New Hampshire Seacoast. My mix of projects for the spring and summer is looking to have the usual mix of small local woodlots and hay fields, as well as bigger projects in northern New England that involve wild places of several thousand acres.
I enjoy all of these projects despite the occasional trying moments, like bushwhacking through raspberry brambles, standing on the edge of a swamp with swarms of mosquitoes, or carrying 50+ pounds of camera gear up a steep trail only to see a less than inspiring sunrise. The challenge of shooting in these mostly unknown and little photographed places is a great experience that has really forced me to become a better photographer by finding interesting photos in places that are not so interesting at first blush.
This time of year, I’m usually looking forward, planning my upcoming shoots and researching the conservation efforts behind them, but today I thought I’d take a look back at a project I shot in the fall of 2007. Back then I spent three days in an unincorporated township in northern Maine, west of Baxter Sate Park, shooting scenes of Seboeis Lake for the Trust for Public Land.
It was one of my favorite assignments of the year because I “had to” paddle a canoe to an island in a remote Maine lake and spend a couple of nights camping with a good friend, looking out over the water at Mount Katahdin and cruising the shoreline looking for moose.
It was obvious to me that this place was worth protecting, and the Trust for Public Land worked with the State of Maine to protect most of the shoreline of the lake as well as a big chunk of the surrounding forest. These bigger projects can take a long time to complete, and much of that land I had photographed was protected in 2009, so I had pretty much forgotten that it was still active. I was happy to see a press release yesterday announcing that the final piece of this puzzle was officially acquired, bringing the protected land total around the lake to 21,000 acres, which anchors Maine’s largest tract of contiguous conservation land (more than 500,000 acres, including Baxter State Park, the Allgash Waterway, and the Nahmakanta Reserve.) There’s a good article about the project in yesterday’s Bangor Daily News.
From a personal standpoint, it’s nice to know that a few days of shooting can result in photos that can have a positive impact for years into the future. Hopefully, my projects this year will be just as helpful.
Do you know of any similar land conservation projects in New England that could be well served by some positive, compelling photography? Let me know in the comments below.