National Parks

National Parks

national park is an area of (unfenced) countryside, or occasionally sea or fresh water, protected by the government for the enjoyment of the general public or the preservation of wildlife. 

National parks must not be confused with that of a game reserve, game park, wilderness area, park, zoo, animal rehab, private game reserve, wildlife conservancy, wildlife sanctuary, reserve or trust, all of which are fenced in.

There are some 6,555 listed national parks around the world however, only a few hundred are considered “genuine national parks” that are open all-year-round without limitations.

Some U.S. national parks will charge an entrance fee for conservation and staff salaries however, national parks in the U.K. do not charge for entry relying solely on donations and government grants.

Source: Google Earth | Credit: Infoterra Defence

National parks do not have the same restrictions that wild game reserves and conservancies do where dangerous wildlife roam freely.

Nonetheless, they still host some dangerous animals such as elkbearsreptilessnakes and elephant seals. Smaller wildlife such as squirrels and fox can bite and may carry ticks, fleas or rabies that can make you or your pet sick. 

With that said, national parks are visited by millions of tourists every year opening new adventures and experiences.

Well, for photographer James York, he literally went head-to-head with a wild elk in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park back in 2013.

Source: Petapixel | Credit: Vince M. Camiolo

It was alleged in the video (seen below) that James York was photographing the elk from a “safe and respectful distance” however, the video paints another story. James York decided to sit on the side of the road for reasons we’ll never truly understand.

Meanwhile, the elk decided to move closer and investigate the human, and his camera at which point James York should have been putting distance between the elk and himself.

As fellow photographers and videographers looked on James York was attacked by the overcurious elk.

As interesting as the story sounds, unfortunately the ending is a sad one which could have been avoided.

The U.S. National Park Service advises all tourists to give at least 50-150 feet distance between you, and the subject you’re photographing or filming.

Credit: Vince M. Camiolo

Fortunately, James wasn’t seriously injured. However, not long after this incident a local NBC news affiliate reported that the elk had to be put down:

“An elk who went viral after a close-up encounter with a photographer was euthanized Friday, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials confirmed Friday evening.

Park officials said the elk could not be re-trained to be fearful of humans. They said the elk had been coming back to that area in search of food, and had begun associating humans with food.”

Source: WBIR via Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Vince M. Camiolo who documented the event, and photographer James York issued an official statement in response to the elk being euthanised:

“I am deeply saddened by the fate of the elk. It has certainly pulled a black cloud over this whirlwind “viral video” experience.

I spoke to the reporter who broke the story and she assured me the decision was based on a pattern of aggressive behaviour that began prior to the incident documented in this video.

The behaviour was the result of visitors feeding the elk and conditioning them to seek food from humans. This video only serves as an example of the elk’s dangerous behaviour, not an impetus to it.

Again, it brings me great sadness to learn of this beautiful animal’s demise and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it. 

I’m looking into a destination for proceeds from this video to help the NPS educate visitors on the dangers and consequences of feeding wildlife.

I also want to be clear that James, the photographer, was not complicit in a behaviour that led to the elk’s demise, but rather was made an example of the result of such behaviours.

The elk approached him from behind, likely looking for food as he was conditioned to do.”

Source: Vince M. Camiolo

“I love and respect animals and that’s why I photograph them and don’t hunt them. I am deeply hurt by the loss of such a beautiful creature that in its own way bonded with me.

I looked forward to watching him grow to a mature bull as the years passed. I’m truly heartbroken to know he is gone.”

Source: James York

In a 2013 Facebook post, Great Smoky Mountains National Park said:

“Do not feed elk! Dispose of all garbage or food scraps in wildlife-proof garbage containers or take it with you.

Keep your distance from elk. Do not approach within 50 yards (150 feet) of an elk. If an elk approaches you, it is your responsibility to back away slowly to provide space for the animal to pass.

Use binocularsspotting scopes and cameras with telephoto lenses to enjoy wildlife.

If you see another visitor breaking these rules, please call (865) 436-1230 or stop at a Visitor Centre to report it.”

Source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Humans make mistakes which is perfectly normal, and at times we momentarily lose concentration which again is perfectly normal behaviour.

However, incidents such as the one above are becoming all too common.

Wildlife photographers and tourists must be au courant of their surroundings at all times, especially when visiting regions where there’s an abundance of dangerous or unpredictable animals.

The best relationship a photographer can have with any wild animal is a long distance one.

Selfies and Close Proximity Wildlife Photography

The popularity of selfies and capturing any moment through photographs or video is posing a new threat to wildlife and humans. Trigger-happy tourists have started to provoke animals, and in some instances alter their behaviour’s as a result.

Quietly watching from a distance can be even more rewarding than getting the perfect shot. Use your zoom or a telephoto lens, or put your camera down and take a moment to really appreciate what you see.

Unfortunately, there’s always that one asinine photographer that believes the rules don’t apply to them which brings me to Dan Milner (seen below) milliseconds away from losing his face back in 2013.

Credit: Johno Verity

So-called professional photographer Dan Milner was only slightly injured suffering with cuts and grazes after a stag attacked him damaging his £1400 camera lens.

As expected from imbecilic stunts such as this the story made press headlines which prompted a wild backlash from members of the public and animal activists.

Writing on his blog, Dan said:

“You’d think I’d be braced for pretty much anything the weather can throw at me by now with 15 years of pro shooting in remote corners of the world tucked under my belt, but hey ho, Scotland was playing its joker when it came to photographer-bashing last week.”

Source: Dan Milner via the Daily Mail

As explained Dan Milner walked away with only a few scratches, and a broken camera lens however, Dan could have been seriously injured or even killed had the stag’s antlers punctured an artery.

Back in December of 2014, tourist Dr Kate Stone (seen below) was gorged by a stag at Lochailort near Fort William two miles away from where Dan Milner was attacked. Dr Stone was put into an induced coma for a week during which time she underwent two operations on her windpipe.

Credit: BBC

Kate Stone described how she was left fighting for her life, with injuries to her neck and spine. Her neck was pierced so deeply that the animal had to shake itself free.

Whether you have one or fifteen years of photography experience, its irrelevant. Animals will attack regardless of your experience but, animal attacks can be avoided if we adopt a common-sense approach, instead of an irresponsible one.

In Dan Milner’s case using the correct equipment such as telephoto and zoom lenses, and keeping your distance can prevent animals from attacking you.

Credit: Johno Verity

Telephoto lenses are crucial for wildlife photography, especially in national parks and game reserves, and how long depends on how close you can get and on the size of your subject.

Birds, small and flighty need really long lenses. So do animals that are shy. For small and shy fauna using a 100-400mm or 200-600mm is a start however, these lenses are big, heavy, and not a lot of fun to lug around.

If you’re hiking try using a teleconverter on a 300mm. They’re small, light and come in different degrees of magnification, and greatly increase the reach of your lenses.

However, as with all teleconverters you’re going to lose a few stops of light. Look into third party lenses too. The reason to go with a third-party lens is if the major brands don’t make the lens you need.

Source: Nikon USA

When using a 1.4x teleconverter, you lose one stop of light, so for example, when using a f/2.8 lens, the widest aperture you can use the lens at is f/4. A 2x teleconverter loses two stops of light, so an f/2.8 lens drops down to a wide aperture of f/5.6.

A good example of a robust lens to use when shooting wildlife is the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 zoom lens, an excellent-all-rounder however, don’t rely on it for every project. You may need to place more distance between you and the subject.

The Canon 100-400mmSigma 150-600mm, and the Sony 18-200mm are must have lenses for wildlife photography too. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens is an impressive lens at its price point, and is sterling for shooting wildlife.

Coupled with the amazing glass inside this lens, it has a pretty remarkable stabilising system which allows you to shoot super sharp hand held photos as well as relatively stable footage when shooting video.

The most alluring feature of the Sigma 150-600mm is its zoom. At 600mm photographers are sure to capture some incredible close-ups of wildlife in action.

Credit: Jeremy Neipp

The image stabilizer is also very reliable, which helps this lengthy lens produce sharp images even when photos are taken from a handheld position. If I were visiting a national park or game reserve the 600mm would be my main choice of lens to take with the Sony A9II.

With that said, Nikons new flagship camera the Nikon D5 and the AF-S 200-500mm f/5,6 lens would by my second choice. The Sony A9 II, and the Nikon D5 are beasts when it comes to wildlife and landscape photography.

However, its always best to try-out a new lens before purchasing. Most camera and lens manufacturers now give you the option to rent lenses before buying which is excellent.

I highly recommend Drew Sproule’s photography gear blog which hosts a wealth of information concerning specialist lenses for wildlife photography. Furthermore, Lenses For Wildlife Photography by Canon is a must read too for beginners and professionals.

Long lenses also need support when hiking or otherwise traveling on foot, additionally, you must ensure the tripod you’re using will support both the camera and your new lenses, and is suitable for the project you’re working on too.

Credit: Think Tank Photo

Wildlife photography is one of the most demanding from a camera’s technical perspective; therefore, speed, accuracy, and performance is critical. Below I’ve listed several key camera models, lenses, tripods and supports that are more than suitable for wildlife photography.

With the correct photography equipment and knowledge you’ll be more than competent at snapping your chosen subjects at a safe distance. With that said, a small minority of photographers still don’t get it whereby they give into temptation for that all elusive image.

Credit: Nikon Europe

Back in January of 2021, David Yarrow hit the headlines again for all the wrong reasons. Professional photographer David Yarrow and his team were witnessed bating foxes in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

In David’s eyes using the correct kit is often irrelevant at times because he practices Robert Capa’s assertion that, “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Outside Online reported that British photographer David Yarrow, and his colleague Tom Rosenthal were photographing red foxes paddling over a frozen lake.

Instead of using the correct telephoto lenses his colleague Tom Rosenthal stood behind, tempting and drawing the canines closer by waving a piece of cellophane wrapper from a pack of cigarettes that they might take for food.

The goal was to get a super-tight shot of wild foxes, and the tactic—though ethically dubious—worked. After an image of the incident surfaced, however, along with an eyewitness allegation that the crew had illegally fed the animals, the backlash was swift

On the 14th April 2021, Outside Online reported:

“If he was a tourist, I would understand, says Tiffany Taxis, the photographer in Jackson, Wyoming, who captured the scene and reported the incident to the National Park Service. “But David Yarrow knows what he’s doing. He endangered the life of an animal so that he could get a good shot, and it really rubs me the wrong way.” 

Yarrow and Rosenthal defended their actions, saying that they didn’t actually feed the foxes. “I don’t think they can eat cigarettes, do they?” Rosenthal told me.

Two weeks later, park rangers trapped and killed one of the foxes that was present the day of Yarrow’s shoot. Because the animal was habituated and food driven, having spent the past year accosting picnickers and thieving anglers’ trout, its fate had been sealed for months—long before Yarrow’s brush with it.

Nevertheless, criticism of Yarrow, known for his highly stylized photographs of high fashion, historical scenes, and wildlife, continued. 

A petition emerged calling for his total ban from all national parks, which has garnered more than 7,500 signatures. 

Those on social media who pinned the foxes’ fate on Yarrow referenced his questionable approach to wildlife photography in the past, with alleged reports of deploying animals from photography game farms and taking images that showed models in dangerously close proximity to African elephants.”

Source: Outside Online, Mike Koshmrl
Source: | Credit: Advocate for Animals

On the 15th April 2021, I reached out to David Yarrow for further comment concerning his past and recent unethical behaviour. However, at the time of publishing this article David Yarrow declined to comment.

Meanwhile on the 19th April 2021, I contacted the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) to understand more about the ethics of wildlife photography in an effort to educate photographers about the importance of ethical wildlife photography.

Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS, Director for Education and Public Affairs for the Royal Photographic Society said:

“We encourage all nature photographers to follow the nature photographers code of practice.”

Source: Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS

The RPS Nature Photographers Code of Practice states:

“Photography should not be undertaken if it puts the subject at risk.

Risk to the subject, in this context, means risk of disturbance, physical damage, causing anxiety, consequential predation, and lessened reproductive success.

There is one hard and fast rule, whose spirit must be observed at all times. The welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph.”

Source: RPS Nature Photographers Code of Practice

The Nature Photographers Code of Practice goes onto state:

The photographer should be familiar with the natural history of the subject; the more complex the life-form and the rarer the species, the greater his/her knowledge must be.

He/she should also be sufficiently familiar with other natural history subjects to be able to avoid damaging their interests accidentally. Photography of uncommon creatures and plants by people who know nothing of the hazards to species and habitat is to be deplored.

  • Photography may be seen as a criminal offence with relation to some species, since disturbance will be occasioned
  • Many species are afforded special legal protection
  • The Law as it affects nature photography must be observed. For Great Britain the main legislation is listed below and in citation links
  • In other countries one should find out in advance any restrictions that apply. Apparent lax or absence of local legislation should not lead any photographer to relax his/her own high standard


The photographer should be aware of the appropriate sections of the following, and any subsequent amendments:


When we speak about the ethics of wildlife and nature photography some people assume the code concerns fauna (animals) only. In actual fact, the ethics of wildlife and nature photography concerns all species of flora, animals, the vast majority of British Natural History sites, national parks, woodland, meadowsriverslakes and lochs and waterways.

Furthermore, U.K. national parks are listed as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). However, SSSI’s and ASSI’s are often difficult to distinguish between that of non-SSSI’s because they’re rarely signposted.

To understand more about SSSI’s and ASSI’s please view the list below. Additionally, its important to note that permission may be required before commencing any form of photography or videography projects within an SSSI or ASSI:

Unfortunately, where SSSI’s are signposted a small minority of photographers, tourists and hikers chose to ignore these waymarks resulting in protected flora being trampled.

On the 13th July 2021, the BSBI News & Views reported that someone had trampled a rare X Dactyloglossum viridellum (Northern Marsh x Frog Orchid hybrid):

“The rare X Dactyloglossum viridellum (Northern Marsh x Frog Orchid hybrid) in northern England got a lot of attention from visitors whilst it was flowering.

Someone decided they needed a photo of the whole plant, from ground level upwards, and removed all of the surrounding vegetation to get it.

The images are reproduced courtesy of Dr Richard Bate, who was definitely NOT responsible for the damage shown.”

Source: BSBI News & Views
Source: BSBI News & Views | Credit: Dr Richard Bate

The BSBI suggested the following proposals on how to acquire the most out of plants – and your camera – without causing harm:

“I think a good rule of thumb for my photographs is that nothing dies in pursuit of them – including the subject, and any innocent bystanders.

We have both seen some truly shocking examples where it looks like somebody has taken a road roller or a strimmer to the surrounding sward.

Jon Dunn recalls seeing a well-known nature photographer, who would doubtless prefer to remain nameless, actually bringing out a pair of kitchen scissors from their camera bag in order to cut away surrounding vegetation for a ‘clean’, uncluttered image.

Pick your angle carefully. If you can’t get a clear view of the flower from a particular direction because of the sward, consider whether you would have better luck from another side. The best photos aren’t always the front-on views!

Incorporate the sward into your photo. A clean image of a single flower isn’t the only way to compose a beautiful photo. For example, the colour contrast of a purple orchid among yellow cowslips can really make the orchid shine out.

Similarly, surrounding vegetation can provide good context of the habitat in which a particular plant is found, or even generate creative ways to highlight the subject.

Before even considering taking a photo, you first need to locate and approach a plant. Damage often occurs at this stage as people wander off paths and through sensitive habitats. This doesn’t just apply to photographers, but anybody who wants a closer look at a plant.

Stay on paths where possible. Try to avoid lying down to take your images or to examine small plants, especially if the surrounding area contains other plants.

We’ve all done it, but it’s to be avoided if at all possible. Vegetation can be crushed or uprooted, and may not flower and set seed, or may be killed entirely.

And NEVER EVER step over a fence or barrier intended to protect plants from people. At the end of the day, a nature reserve is just that; a reserve for nature, not a zoo or botanical garden.”

Please click the citation link below to read the full article.

Source: BSBI News & Views: Good practice and bad habits in the pursuit of botanical beauty


A social influencer is an individual who utilises a variety of social media platforms to express their opinions on specific brands or products, consequently influencing their captive audience. In an effort to express their opinions concerning specific brands social influencers often need sensational images or videos.

However in recent years, social influencers have been making the headlines for ruining patches of protected flora in U.S. national parks for the purpose of sensational clickbait images. On the 28th March 2019, University Fox reported that social influencers had trampled swathes of California’s rare super bloom in Chino Hills State National Park.

Source: University Fox

The damage was so widespread, it left Chino Hills State National Park with no other option but to close the park to prevent social influencers from taking any-more photos. The damage (seen below) shocked many Californian residents, some of which created a vigilante name and shame site on Instagram.

Source: University Fox

In a 2019 news article, University Fox reported

“Residents are furious because so many of them are able to go and follow regulations, but a small group has disrupted the environment and ruined it for everyone else.

People have been sharing their feelings and blaming Instagram users for the reason they can’t have nice things anymore.

The rush to the parks has caused already horrible highway traffic to become even worse. Everyone, from near and far, is heading to the parks to capture and witness these unique wildflowers.

For those who don’t want to wait in traffic or lines, however, they have chosen to get creative. A helicopter actually landed in the fields to avoid the crowds. When rangers tried to approach to take action against them, they hopped back into their helicopter and flew away.

It turns out that these California poppy flowers are actually protected and it is illegal to destroy them, punishable by fines and possibly jail time. This means that all of those Instagram models and wannabe influencers have been breaking the law just to get that perfect pic.

In the end, authorities realized that they just couldn’t keep the masses of visitors away no matter what they did. So, they put out warnings to try and keep people following the rules. For those who just got to get that pic, they told them to at least worry about their own safety, along with that of the poppies.”

Source: University Fox

The RPS Nature Photographers Code of Practice states that photographers who are working in other countries should find out in advance any restrictions that apply.

Apparent lax or absence of local legislation should not lead any photographer to relax his/her own high standard. Unfortunately, some photographers choose to ignore the code as can be seen in the video below.

Credit: Vice News


As previously mentioned, national parks do not enforce the same laws and regulations that game reserves do because they’re not home to dangerous free roaming apex predators.

With that said, national parks are home to several dangerous animals such as snakesbearssquirrelsmountain lionselkfoxes and bison etc. Furthermore, national parks can still be just as hazardous, especially to tourists that wander off of trails or ignore safety advice.

On average, approximately 312 visitors per year die while recreating in the United States National Park System. Flash flooding, falling rocks, waterfalls, heatstroke and animal attacks are the most common cause of injury and death which makes national parks more dangerous than all Southern African game reserves!

However, the vast majority of reported injuries and deaths could have been prevented had excited tourists not taken extreme risks, for example standing on the edge of a grand canyon cliff face in windy conditions for the purpose of a single photo.

Source: The List Show TV | Credit: Kevin Fox

On the 29th September 2020, the Metro reported that a 43 year old photographer named as Steven Gastelum fell to his death from a cliff edge:

“Steven Gastelum, 43, was attempting to take a photo on Monday at Devil’s Cauldron of Oswald West State Park in Seaside, Oregon when he fell from the cliff ledge.

A tree limb broke, resulting in Gastelum falling about 100 feet into the Pacific Ocean, officials said. The tree the man fell from sits near a barrier warning visitors to stay away from the edge.

The Oregon Beach website has a listing that talks about proceeding with caution when near the cliffs.

‘For your safety, please use caution near the end of this trail and do not go beyond barriers,’ it said.

Another hiker died in 2017 after he lost his footing at the cliff edge of Devil’s Cauldron.”

Source: The Metro

On the 7th October 2020, Sky News reported that 25 year old Orlando Serrano-Arzola fell to his death while taking selfies at the Colorado River at the Glen Canyon Damn Overlook:

“Mr Serrano-Arzola, from Arizona’s capital Phoenix, plunged about 100ft and slid a further 150ft when the accident happened at around 9am on Sunday morning.

Park officials reached him around 30 minutes later and confirmed he had died shortly afterwards.

Jon Paxton, of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation, said Mr Serrano-Arzola was presumed to be climbing rocks to get a better view.

“When he tried to climb back out, evidently he lost his footing or rock hold,” he added.

Mr Serrano-Arzola fell near the city of Page in northern Arizona. The entire Glen Canyon National Recreation Area covers more than 1.25 million acres across both Arizona and Utah.

While responding to the incident, human bones were also found at the base of the overlook – but it is unclear what happened and that discovery is now also under investigation.”

Source: Sky News

On the 30th October 2018, the Guardian reported how two photographers plunged to their death from Taft Point in the Yosemite Valley of the United States:

“An Indian husband and wife who fell to their deaths from a popular overlook at Yosemite national park in California were apparently taking a selfie, the man’s brother said on Tuesday.

Park rangers recovered the bodies of Vishnu Viswanath, 29, and Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, on Thursday about 800ft (245 meters) below Taft Point, where visitors can walk to the edge of a vertigo-inducing granite ledge that doesn’t have a railing.

Viswanath – who Cisco India said was a software engineer at the company’s headquarters in San Jose, California – and Moorthy had set up their tripod near the ledge on Tuesday evening, Viswanath’s brother, Jishnu Viswanath, told the Associated Press.

Park visitors the next morning saw the camera and alerted rangers, who “used high-powered binoculars to find them and used helicopters to airlift the bodies”, he said.

In an eerie coincidence, a man who had hiked to the same spot with his girlfriend captured pictures of Moorthy before her fall, saying she accidentally appeared in the background of two of their selfie photos.

Sean Matteson said Moorthy stood out from the crowd enjoying the sunset atop Taft Point last week because her hair was dyed bright pink and that she made him a little nervous because he felt she was standing too close to the edge.”

Source: The Guardian

On the 28th November 2020, the New York Post reported that 48 year old Wesley Brandon Stedham fell to his death as he tried to take a photo in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee:

“Wesley Brandon Stedham, 48, of Warrior, fell 50 feet from the park’s Chimney Tops Overlook,  WBRC reported.

Stedham was at the park with his family, and tried to climb down a steep, dirt embankment below the overlook in order to get a better photo, officials said.

Losing his footing, he suffered fatal head trauma in the fall. Park officials said it was the first time a visitor to the park had died as a result of trying to take a photograph.”

Source: New York Post

On average, 6 people die in U.S. national parks every week which equates to 312 deaths per year. In 2017, the last year for which stats are available, search-and-rescue (SAR) teams were deployed for a total of 3,453 incidents.

Credit: Trading for Bacon

The National Park Service has a general photography guide encouraging visitors to check park alerts for hazards and closures, and stay on designated trails regardless of the temptation for an off-road pic:

“We get it — national parks have some pretty photogenic scenery,” the guide reads. “The views are truly magnificent. While we want you to capture all of the splendour of our amazing parks, do not put your life at risk for a picture.”

In recent years, several photographers and locals have been seriously injured and killed by wild animals in national parks too.

Back in 2007, The National Park Service reported that a 57 year old photographer named as Jim Cole was mauled by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Cole was hiking alone, off-trail in prime grizzly habitat that Wednesday when he was attacked by a sow with a cub. He apparently was carrying pepper spray but whether he used it was unclear.

Cole told rangers he walked two to three miles to seek help. Cole, of Bozeman, Mont, was said to be in a fair condition that Friday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Centre in Idaho Falls. He underwent seven hours of surgery to repair his face.

On 3rd June 2015, DIY Photography reported that a 16-year-old Taiwanese exchange student who came to the U.S. to experience a new culture found herself up-close and personal with a massive American icon. “The girl turned her back to the bison to have her picture taken when the bison lifted its head, took a couple of steps and gored her,” said a park service official.

Source: SFG | Credit: Todd Orr | Info: Todd Orr’s injuries he sustained after a bear attack

Back in 2017, CNN Network reported that 49 year old Richard White was mauled to death while snapping a wild bear.

Photographs found in his camera revealed that White was watching the bear for at least eight minutes near a river before the attack. Wildlife officials shot and killed the animal as it was still “defending the kill site along the Toklat River as the recovery team attempted to reach White’s remains,” the park service said.

Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife


National parks aren’t just confined to the United States. Throughout the entire world there are 6,555 national parks however, there are many definitions of a national park which tends to confuse tourists.

For example there are over twenty national parks in South Africa that are actually game reserves which have been set aside as a ‘national park’ to protect flora and fauna. These game reserves host dangerous free roaming wildlife. Additionally, there are some fifteen national parks in the United Kingdom that are areas of outstanding beauty; home to protected birds, small mammals, marine fauna and flora.

All 6,555 national parks are conservation areas that have been established to help protect and preserve plants and animals. The land can be semi natural, all natural or even some developed land that can be named a park. National parks protect biodiversity. Furthermore, they provide an opportunity for tourists to experience the vast expanses of the outdoors which enhances leisure and well being.

National parks are also the largest classrooms in the world, whereby they educate millions of people every year about nature, marine biology, and volcanology etc. Finally, national parks receive millions of visitors every year generating billions of GDP.

Unfortunately, when national parks are closed down because tourists refuse to follow the rules, it doesn’t just affect tourist income for that individual park. Without income park rangers cannot protect plants and animals. Moreover, when people are injured or killed due to their own stupidity or by sheer accident because they did not follow or understand park rules, it leads to the good name of each individual park being tarnished.

We’re not just photographers, and we have a duty of responsibility to protect Mother Nature especially in protected conservation areas. Our behaviour defines our character. If our behaviour defines us as negligent people it doesn’t just tarnish us – it blackens everyone within the photography community.

J. J. Williamson | The Norfolk Photographer

My name is Jon Williamson; I’m an ethical photographer and writer with fifteen years of experience in the industry. I shoot landscapes, seascapes, riverscape, fine art, and portraits. I also run workshops, run tours, and offer one-on-one photography feedback.

Published by J. J. Williamson

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