Why I Celebrate Earth Day

I wasn't always interested in nature, or seeing everything our planet has to offer. 

It's true. When I was young, it took effort to get me outside for activities like hiking or skiing, and even as I got older I didn't fully appreciate the natural world until I was about 18. It's difficult to imagine feeling that way today, but I'm glad I replaced my youthful naivety with a yearning to explore the world around me as much as possible. Today, anyone who knows me can recognize how my mood and personality changes when I'm outdoors, and in a lot of ways, I have photography to thank for that. Without realizing it, my camera became my gateway to experience life and to experience the Earth.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, every April 22 is Earth Day, and right now we are living through a vicious and damaging period in our planet's history. Climate change is already ravaging ecosystems and causing noticeable changes to our lives, and the Earth is screaming at us to take notice. But still, the damage continues.

I can't help but think that comes, in part, because not enough people are aware of how amazing this little blue marble is. They haven't known the awe of standing in front of jagged mountain peaks that reach impossibly high, or experienced the intense color of a summer sunrise over the ocean at 5am. They haven't trekked out to that distant valley to find the hidden lake it protects, or felt the palpable sense of scale standing alone underneath a starry sky in the middle of the night. Too many people still possess that naivety that I once experienced.

If this sounds like a list of reasons why I'm lucky to have the life that I do, it's not meant to. I know that everyone's circumstances are different, and that no single day can bring about the sweeping changes needed to heed our planet's call. But this is why I chose landscapes as my subject of choice in photography. I've felt so forever changed by exploring the planet and trying to capture those moments and those places that most people either choose not to see, or willfully ignore. I photograph this planet because I want to share it with everyone, so they too can experience those feelings and understand why it's so worth protecting.

Earth Day gives us an opportunity to share and appreciate everything that this planet has to offer. This is the only place in the universe where life exists (that we know of), and one of the best ways I can honor its impact on me is by continuing to share what makes it special.

Below, I've selected some of my favorite locations that I've photographed over the last four years. These aren't meant to represent my best photos, just some landscapes that I can't forget, and ones that reminded me how lucky I am to be standing on this Earth. I hope you enjoy them, and that they encourage you to get outside and explore what's around you, whatever that might look like.

If you'd like to take action to help keep our planet healthy, I'd encourage you to visit the official website for Earth Day, and find something that works for you.

Thanks for reading, and never stop exploring.

Fall foliage in Cabot, Vermont
Cabot, Vermont | 150mm, 1/125, f/7.1, ISO 100
Lake Louise in Banff, Canada
Lake Louise in Banff, Canada | 17mm, 3.2", f/22, ISO 100
Sunrise at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Golden, Colorado
Golden, Colorado | 24mm, 1/8, f/9, ISO 100
Lake Willoughby, Vermont
Lake Willoughby, Vermont | 80mm, 1/100, f/6.3, ISO 100
Sunrise over Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts | 35mm, 245", f/7.1, ISO 100
Milky Way galaxy over Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park, Maine
Foreground: 16mm, 5", f/2.8, ISO 2500
Sky: 15 frames at 16mm, 15", f/2.8, ISO 4000
Teton mountain range in Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming | 88mm, 1/800, f/4, ISO 125
Crawford Notch in New Hampshire
Crawford Notch, New Hampshire | 72mm, 1/125, f/13, ISO 100
Sunrise at Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Old Orchard Beach, Maine | 17mm, 25", f/16, ISO 100
Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | 105mm, 1/100, f13, ISO 100