I'm sure that most photographers are the kind of people that want to protect our planet and all the species living on it. After all, without all the flora, fauna and other natural wonders (including us) around, there wouldn't be much to photograph. On the other hand, there are ways to help protect the planet that many of us don't often consider. Here are a few suggestions for being a bit more “green”.
Use Rechargeable Batteries
Billions of disposable batteries end up in landfills every year. While harmful chemicals used in the manufacture of “household” batteries have been eliminated in the US, the reduction of landfill trash is of major concern. By purchasing rechargeable cells for your devices that can use them, you'll do your part by re-using them perhaps hundreds of times before disposing of them. What's more, you'll save money!
There's nothing quite like the feel of fine leather, but when it comes to lugging around your camera and peripherals, consider whether fashion or function is most important. If you're shooting a formal wedding, the leather camera rig will probably look more professional. If you're out in the “boonies”, nylon, canvas and other materials will do just as well and perhaps wear better.
One gear manufacturer that's known for their beautifully crafted leather gear has responded to requests for more sustainable gear with a line of its most popular multi-camera rig and accessories made entirely of man-made materials. Check out the Camera Swagg Collection from HoldFast Gear.
Watch Your Step
When you're keeping an eye on your subject out there in the wild, it's easy to forget to watch what your feet are treading on. In parks and sanctuaries, don't stray from the designated foot paths; they are there for a reason. Even in the wild, you never know what might be nesting on the ground around you or what fragile plant species might be underfoot. Tread lightly.
Don't Get Too Close
Every wildlife photographer wants to get the close shots and it may actually be easier to approach many species when they're nesting or denning with eggs or babies. Unfortunately, it's also highly stressful for the animals. Resist the temptation to push the boundaries. Use a longer lens instead. Your subjects will look more relaxed and your conscience will thank you.
Pack Out What You Pack In
No one should need to be reminded of this, but sadly, there are still too many people in all walks of life that leave litter behind. Burning your trash isn't always the answer, either. Stray fragments of burning paper cups are notorious for starting fires, and I constantly find melted plastic bottles in fire pits. Pack smarter so that you have less waste to dispose of in the first place. You can start with a reusable water bottle like this one from HoldFast's Explorer collection. It will fit as well in your bag as in theirs.
Obviously, there are many more ways that we can be more conscious of our impact on the environment while we're out there shooting. Wedding photographers can help protect outdoor reception areas by reducing the foot traffic on grasses. Landscape photographers can opt not to remove branches and other natural obstructions to their shots. We only have one planet. Let's try to keep it intact for our children.