Photograph the “Quiet Side” of Ireland in 2016

Castle Bourke, Ireland. Image © Ron Rosenstock

Castle Bourke, Ireland. Image © Ron Rosenstock

Magical light, accessible shoreline and community await prospective tour leaders.

You’re invited on a 10-day tour of Western Ireland with veteran tour leader Ron Rosenstock, September 23 through October 3, 2016. The magical light, sacred sights and after-dinner conversation with fellow artists not only beckon you to expand your portfolio but also your career—perhaps becoming a photo tour leader yourself.

Rosenstock, retired photography instructor from Clark University in Massachusetts, has led more than 200 tours to worldwide destinations since 1967. He was first drawn to Western Ireland because of the light and extensive miles of accessible shoreline. “Being in the northern hemisphere, there are magical cloud formations daily, if not hourly,” he explains. “The light is silvery sifting through layers of cloud and sky.”

The tour is set in County Mayo, often described as “the quiet side of Ireland” and includes tiny villages, hidden beaches, castles and ancient abbeys that you could never locate on your own. It is a landscape of broad peat lowlands and dramatic coastline where soft pastel shades and the warmth of the Irish people have captivated artists for hundreds of years.

But Rosenstock’s tour includes more than just visual points of interest. He also opens his home, providing accommodations at Hillcrest House, renovated specifically to house groups such as this. Most evenings after a traditional Irish dinner, the group moves to the living room to talk about photography and how to become a photo tour leader—because Rosenstock wants others to benefit from his trials and triumphs.

“I’m the luckiest person in the world,” he explains. “In my 70s, I look back and realize I’ve been living my dream. My wish now is to pass on what I have learned, the struggles and benefits of being an international photo tour leader.”

Although Rosenstock can list many traits required of a good photo tour leader, he places the ability to listen and respond honestly and clearly at the top. He says you have to be open to the needs and concerns of all group members and flexible enough to meet them.

Participating photographers from previous tours have noted a sense of communion about the trip. Communion with other photographers, with sacred sights and with nature.

“[Ron’s] talk on photography and the spirituality of photography was a great revelation for me, as I have always felt this way about it myself,” said Michael McLaughlin. “It was great beyond words to be participating with a group of artists who were as passionate as I about photography and image making.”

Past participants have also enjoyed going to town to enjoy traditional Irish music at pubs in Westport.

The tour is limited to eight photographers. NANPA members can attend at a special rate, and a donation will be made to the NANPA Foundation. For more information, visit the NANPA Foundation’s site at www.nanpafoundation.org or www.phototc.com.

Don’t delay your registration—the tour has sold out four years in a row.

British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters

Canada's Sacred Headwaters, the shared birthplace of three great salmon rivers. Image © Paul Colangelo

Canada’s Sacred Headwaters, the shared birthplace of three great salmon rivers. Image © Paul Colangelo

NANPA’s Philip Hyde Environmental Photography Grant Brings Tahltan Territory to Those Who Would Never See it in Person.

by Paul Colangelo

The Sacred Headwaters in northern British Columbia is the shared birthplace of three great salmon rivers—the Stikine, Skeena and Nass. It is also the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation, and it supports a vast ecosystem known for large numbers of moose, caribou, sheep, goats, wolves and bears.

In 2004, Shell obtained tenure of nearly a million acres in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters for a coal bed methane development that would entail thousands of wells connected by roads and pipelines, fracturing wildlife habitat. The water-intensive fracking process that would be used to remove the methane risked altering water levels and contaminating the rivers.

The response from the Tahltan people was clear and strong—they blockaded road access into the headwaters to keep industry out. This was the beginning of an eight-year campaign to protect the Sacred Headwaters, which attracted international attention.

I first visited the Sacred Headwaters to photograph Ali Howard, a northern British Columbia resident who decided to swim the entire length of the Skeena River—355 miles over 28 days—to raise awareness of the issue and unite the downriver communities. After the campaign launched, there was one glaring omission. Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the Sacred Headwaters, there was a lack of visual material. Without images, connecting the greater public with the place they were being asked to protect was difficult.

After seeing the Sacred Headwaters for myself and hearing the local people explain what it means to them, I decided to use photography to bring the Sacred Headwaters to those who would never see it in person—a project that lasted five years, culminating in a book, The Sacred Headwaters: The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass, produced with the iLCP and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis and accompanying exhibitions at Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado; Banff Mountain Film Festival; and the Vancouver International Film Festival. The images were also used in articles, campaign materials, websites and talks aimed at protecting the area.

We sparked an emotional response with the images, spurring action and increasing the number of voices speaking on behalf of the land and wildlife. Amazingly, these voices were loud enough to convince Shell to remove itself from the Sacred Headwaters and the British Columbian government to permanently ban oil and gas exploration in the region. This decision, made in December 2012, was the result of nearly a decade of work. A small group of people, passionate about their home, was able to take on one of the world’s largest corporation and win. For me, it was affirmation of photography’s important role in environmental conservation.

While this was a huge success for the Sacred Headwaters, the ban does not encompass hard rock mining. We are still working to protect the region from a proposed coal mine and an open-pit copper-gold mine. Please support the continued efforts by donating to Sacred Headwaters Journey.

Paul Colangelo is a photojournalist focused on environmental issues and the crossroads of culture and the natural world. Paul is a National Geographic grantee and a member of the iLCP. See more of his work at paulcolangelo.com.

Paul was awarded the Philip Hyde Environmental Grant for this project in 2010 by the NANPA Foundation. The $5,000 grant is provided by Fine Print Imaging through its Art for Conservation program, the International League of Conservation Photographers, the NANPA Environment Committee and individual donations.

San Pedro Mezquital Project Update

The last free-flowing river in the Western Sierra Madre, Mexico. Image © Jamie Rojo

The last free-flowing river in the Western Sierra Madre, Mexico. Image © Jamie Rojo

NANPA Environmental Grant Helps Protect the Last Free-Flowing River in Sierra Madre.

by Jamie Rojo

The San Pedro Mezquital project is an ongoing communications effort to protect the last free-flowing river in the Western Sierra Madre, Mexico. The river is under threat by several development projects, including a dam in the middle basin and a huge tourist resource in the upper basin.

The Philip Hyde Grant that I obtained in May 2012 was used to continue the documentation of this huge river basin, but also to give public presentations in the upper and lower basin to involve the local communities in the actions to protect the river.

In May 2012, we inaugurated a large format exhibit of the San Pedro Mezquital that was hosted by the three main cities of the basin, following the course of the river on its way to the sea. I gave presentations on Durango and Tepic on the day of the exhibit launch, and had meetings with regional authorities involved in the management of the river basin:

  • Durango, upper basin, May 2012
  • Presidio, middle basin, Oct 2012
  • Tepic, lower basin, Jan 2013

Also, in January 2013, I did a 2-week expedition with my colleague Octavio Aburto, co-financed by National Geographic Explorers Fund, to document some of the most remote parts of the upper basin (Chachacuaxtle canyon and the Tres Molinos basin), with some surprising results, and a field blog was published in National Geographic Newswatch. The Philip Hyde Grant represented a great opportunity to continue the conservation photography work in the San Pedro Mezquital river and I will always be thankful for NANPA’s support.

Please take a moment to check out the San Pedro Mezquital website, and this multimedia piece that I produced for NANPA Foundation called San Pedro Mezquital.

Children at a project exhibit in Durango, Mexico. Image © Jamie Rojo

Children at a project exhibit in Durango, Mexico. Image © Jamie Rojo

 

Jamie Rojo was awarded the Philip Hyde Environmental Grant for this project in 2012 by the NANPA Foundation. The $5,000 grant is provided by Fine Print Imaging through its Art for Conservation program, the International League of Conservation Photographers, the NANPA Environment Committee and individual donations.