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Destroying to Make the Picture

The very popular Lundy Canyon is suffering a scourge of too much visitation.

I’m aghast. This tree and several others were broken off like this for no other reason than to make a picture; they are not in the way of anything like a path, but are broken off to clear the view—as is obvious standing there for the line of sight. Someone simply broke down what was “in the way”. The offense is petty, and yet it is not: anyone willing to do this in a high traffic area deserves condemnation. Even in a low traffic area, there can be no argument for breaking off a young tree like this to make a shot. Even a clean cut would have showed more care.

Anyone who damages what they are photographing like this is a vandal, pure and simple. No matter how good technically or artistically the resulting image might be, it irrevocably becomes an act of destruction and vandalism that obliterates any value it might have.

The Lundy meadows are also being trampled down badly. Cars have now mashed-down reeds and grasses nearly to water’s edge in places. Foot traffic has pounded down deep paths anywhere near the road there is non-soggy footing (as well as areas on the main trail). And then was that chaperoned group of teenagers stomping up and down on the beaver dam last year. Gah!

This wide gamut of this type of stupidly destructive behavior is why I am adamantly against posting GPS coordinates, with virtually no exceptions making sense, because it only takes one jackass to ruin something. Any anyone lacking the spirit of exploration has no business being in the wilderness anyway. GPS coordinates are a recipe for destruction of sensitive places, even if the intent is not otherwise ill (think trampling fragile areas). I loathe Sierra Club, which brought 30-40 visitors in one large group into one of my favorite canyons about six years ago—one I have visited for 30 years—I have watched the creekside degradation accelerate year over year.

Landscape Vandalism in Lundy Canyon
f9 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 400; 2016-11-16 10:29:56
NIKON D810 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0

[low-res image for bot]

Castor canadensis makes clean cuts at least. But beware of walking through waist-high summer foliage, or these sorts of cuts at knee to groin height could impale and kill.

Landscape Vandalism in Lundy Canyon
f4 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 64; 2016-11-16 10:19:14
NIKON D810 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0

[low-res image for bot]

James G writes:

I agree wholeheartedly that we often “love" our wild places to death. While, for my part, I want to see more people (most of all my kids) get off the couch and get outdoors we need to foster the same respect in our natural places that we expect in our private and public spaces - our homes, shops, schools, etc.

One note to other photographers that might help - I carry a couple of long bungee cords and some lightweight nylon cord with me when out in the wild for the purpose of holding or pulling back an intrusive tree or bush branch being careful not to tweak anymore than is necessary in the interest of the plant. One end goes on the plant and the other end to my camera backpack. If it looks like it’s not in the plant’s best interest, I try a different composition or move on.

DIGLLOYD: one solution. But anyone willing to break off trees is not likely to pause to consider it.

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