Photography and Conservation


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A message from our photography editor on the links between photography and conservation.

Lions Head on Appalachian Trail

 ©Photo Copyright: Arnab Banerjee

I am excited to be part of this new effort and hope to provide inspiring, informative, and interesting content through this page. Our mission is to encourage people to get out there, enjoy the trails, take great pictures, share those pictures to inspire others and be advocates for the wonderful natural areas and trail systems - we need to protect and preserve these areas for the next generations. 

Historically, photography has been one of the most effective and powerful tools behind the conservation movements in the USA and beyond. The simple reason for that is: a “great” picture can provide a deep and powerful message that even thousands of words cannot.

Realizing the power of images, the great masters of conservation photography harnessed it to help protect some of the best natural assets of the world. The creation of the first National Park--Yellowstone--as well as the preservation of Yosemite, had a lot to do with the photography of William Henry Jackson and Carleton Watkins. Ansel Adams then carried the mantle. Adams’ bold and unique black and white photographs of the great American West landscapes inspired everyone and helped in getting passed legislation to protect many of these lands.In the East, George Masa's inspirational photographs of the Smokey Mountains helped create Smokey Mountain National Park.

Many great nature photographers have followed the footsteps of these giants and contributed in their own ways to generate awareness, document what we have and what we are going to lose, and being strong advocate for conservation. The art of photography has been an indispensable tool for conservation efforts.

In the region covered by the Trail Conference, landscape painting (think Hudson River School) has, perhaps, played a bigger role than photography in past conservation efforts. Certainly, the role of photography in these efforts is not as well documented as it is in the West. But we are fortunate that so much of our landscape has been protected for us and today inspires the work of countless talented photographers, who in turn inspire us to protect the landscape for the next generation.

In the spirit of the harmony between conservation and photography, I hope that this page will serve a role in the coming future. Our aim is to provide beautiful photographic presentation of our trails, provide information and suggestions for our readers to motivate them to explore and capture great images of our natural assets and share with each other. This website (along with the many maps and books that the Trail Conference publishes) already provides the most authentic and reliable information about trails in our region. We  seek to build on that with strong imagery and to inspire, motivate, encourage, and inform all the photographers to take part in this movement.

With the advent of digital photography, most of us now own and carry a camera when we go out on the trails. Though the technology has made it much easier to capture "good" images, the formula to create really "great" images still remains the same - vision, art of seeing, patience, light, knowledge and understanding of the subject - all need to come together. In this page, we will share great insights from professional and inspiring photographers on how to and where to take great images. We also want to make you, the readers, a big part of this page - by showcasing your best photographs and your stories. Every month, we will pick some of your best shots and share them here. 

Our vision is to make this page  the nature photography resource of the area. I think that there is no better place for something like this other than the website of New York -New Jersy Trail Conference. 

Please feel free to contact me anytime with your suggestions and ideas. Together we can make an impact.


Arnab Banerjee

Editor, Photography

Email: [email protected]


Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

This conservation photographer likes what you're doing!

I came across your inaugural entry today.  Very inspiring and wish you the best at the NJTC! Including interpretive text with photographs is very important though.  This scene of the man on the mountain outcropping here illustrates the wonder of unbroken vista, where the forest seems not to have suffered the impacts of fragmentation induced by road building, strip malls, etc. Joni Mitchell, reprised by Counting Crows, sang it well with "pave paradise, put up a parking lot." Let's continue to resist that by promoting native open spaces. I would enjoy contributing to future editions.   Good stuff. All the best, Bruce Farnsworth