The Privilege of Nature Photography

by | March 26, 2013

© Bret EdgeOne day, a woman and her friend walked into my gallery to look at some images. My wife chatted with them during their visit and learned that they were truck drivers from Texas. They saw a lot of country in their travels but always from the road, at 65 mph and at the wheel of a semi-truck while adhering to a tight delivery schedule. The ladies lingered in the gallery for a while, complimenting my work and enjoying conversation with Melissa. The image above, an abstract of colorful sandstone near The Wave in Arizona’s Coyote Buttes, caught their eye.

One woman commented that she’d never seen anything like it in “real life.” She asked Melissa where it was and when she learned that seeing it involved a fairly rigorous hike, she appeared a little disappointed. She explained to Melissa that she wasn’t much of a walker and that years of driving a truck had taken a toll on her health. The woman lamented that she’d probably never be able to see The Wave. The ladies thanked Melissa for chatting with them and left with a business card in hand.

A few weeks later, the woman called to order a print of the image she’d so enjoyed at the gallery. She said that she’d started walking for exercise because she wanted to get in shape to hike to The Wave. She wanted to hang the print on her wall at home as a source of inspiration for her daily walks.

Hiking to The Wave, or into the Grand Canyon or up a 14,000’ mountain peak is something I, and I think many of us, take for granted. We shouldn’t. We’re blessed to be healthy and fit. Sure, it takes dedication to stay fit enough to hike, climb, scramble and bike to the places we so love to photograph but everything we’ve worked for can be stripped away without warning. Enjoy every hike, every climb, every moment in nature.

It is a gift to know that one of my images inspired another human being to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle to allow them to venture into the wilderness in search of natural beauty. This knowledge motivates me to continue making images of the world around me. It makes me smile. It makes me realize just how fortunate I am to be in a position to create images that positively impact those who view them and serves as an important reminder not to take any of it for granted.

Textured wood © Bret Edge

One thought on “The Privilege of Nature Photography

  1. Your post reminds me 20 years ago. I love the Four Corners and Moab was a wonderful place for my husband and I. We live in Italy but had been fascinated by our first trip to Utah in 1987 and we planned a new trip there just to hike and walk. I remember I found the first pic of Antelope Canyon and the Wave on a German magazine, “Geo”. We couldn’t read German but we took it with us and showed those pics to most people in Page to know where we could find those places. We bought a permission to enter the wash to get to the Corkscrew in an Indian Tradepost out Page and then we hiked there. I was 6-month-pregnant and I enjoyed that walk so much!
    But…… nobody could tell us where the wave was! We hiked Paria Canyon and climbed everywhere we could, but no way to find it!

    Like the lady who visited your gallery, I have a small print of the wave, cut from the German magazine, on my office desk… it reminds me that I have to come back to see the wave, photograph and at last enjoy it!