Earlier this spring, Claudia and I, along with our friend Robert, spent five days photographing flowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument. We marveled at the vast fields of flowers. As I wrote in an earlier post, we found acres and acres of tidytips, phacelia, hillside daisies, fiddlenecks, and goldfields, growing together in dense mats, uninterrupted by shrubs or even a blade of grass. We had to tiptoe carefully to avoid crushing flowers at every step.
We saw pronghorn antelope and tule elk, both reintroduced to this area. We saw three endangered San Joaquin kit foxes. It truly seemed as if we’d stepped back in time, and were seeing what California looked like 200 years ago.
As many of you know, the Department of the Interior is “reconsidering” the status of 22 national monuments, along with 5 marine national monuments. Carrizo Plain is one of the national monuments on this list, along with Grand Staircase – Escalante, the new Bears Ears National Monument, and many more.
This isn’t a political blog, but this is an issue that directly affects landscape photographers. Whatever your views are about these proposed changes, I urge you to express those views during the comment period, which has already begun. You can do so here:
The comment period for Bears Ears ends on May 26th, so there’s not much time left. The comment period for the other monuments ends June 10th.
It’s one thing to consider issues like this in an abstract sense – the value of preserving natural places vs. the value of oil extraction, for example. But it’s another to actually see these places, and what’s at stake. With that in mind, photographer Kevin Ebi has put together a free ebook called Land Almost Lost, with photographs of all 22 monuments under review, featuring work from ten photographers (including some of my images of the Carrizo Plain). It’s free, and I encourage you to download it, and share it with anyone who might be interested. Here’s a link to the free ebook:
— Michael Frye
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.