Did you know that June 15th is Nature Photography Day? The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA, @nanpapix) created the day in 2006 to "promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images are used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes both locally and globally."
I celebrated the day by volunteering time working with kids visiting Grand Canyon National Park through the Stewart L. Udall Foundation's Parks in Focus program. Parks in Focus connects middle school youth to nature through photography, environmental education, outdoor recreation, and creative expression. It's a program that I have been giving time to each summer since 2010 because I love working with the kids, and I feel it's important to share our passion for our parks and nature photography.
The kids I worked with came from the Tucson area and were in the park to camp, make photos, and go on a short river trip. We talked about my experiences as a professional landscape photographer, exploring and photographing the Grand Canyon, and being responsible in how we share or use our photographs. Despite having hiked part of the South Kaibab Trail earlier in the day and being very tired, they had many outstanding questions about the canyon and being photographers.
Later in the afternoon, we walked along the rim, looking for exciting foregrounds for our photos to practice the idea of creating a foreground that would invite the viewers of our photos to "step" into them. After our photo walk, we posed for a group photo, and I gave each of them a matted print as a gift to take home. Once again, the kids were great and seemed excited to be making photos of the Grand Canyon.
After working with the kids, I was set to make the 90-minute drive home, but Sally encouraged me to stick around for sunset. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, but I always appreciate the opportunity to hike along the rim of the canyon and make a photograph or two. I remembered that there was a location I had photographed at about the same time last year that I wanted to photograph again. I wasn't completely satisfied with the photo I had previously made, so I hiked out to the location and made the photo you see here.