Saturday, February 17, 2007

National Parks benefit from Digital Cameras.

When talking with a National Park official of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park almost 2 weeks ago I suddenly had a realization about how much the proliferation of digital photography has helped the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and for that mater all national parks in the United States.

The funny thing is that all these years traveling in national and state parks around the country hiking trails, fishing, boating, and horseback riding in all the nooks and crannies of these parks that it took until now to realize how tremendous the positive effect of this new technology.

As you can see by yesterday's article on littering in the Smokies, I hate litter bugs. Whether I am hiking on a trail or snorkeling on a reef, I clean up trash when I see it. Over the years I have picked up trash of all sorts from beer cans to old shoes and hundreds and hundreds of 35mm film canisters, empty Kodak and Fuji film boxes and my fair share of used flash bulbs, flash cubes and flash sticks.

Film in the Smoky Mountains

While most serious nature photographers that visit our national parks are great protectors of the environment, many amateur and professional photographers have been careless over the years and tossed or lost photographic trash on and around trails and waterways within our national and state parks and forests.

I also gave great thought to all the chemicals used in the manufacturer of the film itself and as well as the processing and the printing let alone the plastics, metal film and cardboard used in the packaging of 35mm or other size photographic film.

All is not golden however with digital outdoor photography. The excessive use and improper disposal of batteries can be a huge environmental disadvantage of digital cameras. The chemicals and the heavy metals inside the common household battery can do far more damage to the environment and its inhabitants than the cardboard and plastic packaging ever could.

The environmental damage of the batteries from digital camera could very easily be avoided by simply having enough rechargeable batteries on hand. Not only would this save any photographer a bundle over the lifetime of the camera, it would greatly reduce the environmental impact of digital photography to virtually zero.

I close with a quick outdoor digital photography tip for those photographing the great outdoors in the Smoky Mountains. Turn your flash off when taking pictures during a snow fall or foggy weather. Both snow and fog reflect your flash making for very poor pictures.

Here's to taking great pictures in one of the most beautiful places in the world - the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding areas in the Smoky Mountains!

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