Why I Love the Wonders of Nature

As far as I remember, nature has always had an attraction for me. I have always had a deep love for it. Natural phenomena, seasons, landscapes, and land or aquatic animals fascinate me. When I am working in nature, I forget my worries. But what overwhelm me in nature, more than natural phenomena or the physical laws that govern them, are its wonders.

Dunes de sable dans le désert Lybique en fin d'après-midi.
The Rio Grande River in Big Bend National Park, Texas.

The Definition of 'Nature'

The word 'nature' is used to mean many different things. Its etymology is very interesting, because its root comes from the Latin word natura, which means 'birth’ or 'character' as well as 'nature'. However, because much of nature does not have the same 'character' now as it did in its beginning, this sense of the word can be restrictive.

That's why I use a slightly broader definition: "Nature is a set of events and situations that may have changed, but not as the result of human activities."

Before going into the field to take pictures, I always remember that definition. It helps me approach my work in a way which is consistent with my original vision.

Become Aware of the Smallness of My Actions

When I work on a project in nature, especially in the vast expanses of deserts or the ocean, I always become aware of my smallness. When I walk around in a city or when I sit in my house, using my computers, phones and cars, I feel like an important part of human society.

At that level, I can change my immediate environment. I feel I am actuating levers that influence and change the world. I have the impression of being indispensable for the functioning of the world. I have learned that these feelings are only feelings — not a reflection of the truth.

When I am in the middle of nowhere, in nature, and I look at all the phenomena that change it, I become aware of the insignificance of my actions. In light of the raw power of nature, I see that I am very different from what I think I am. What can I do to change the effects of erosion? What can I do in the middle of a hurricane? What are I to the rivers that carve their beds through the canyons?

Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Charente-Maritime, France.
Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Charente-Maritime, France.

Every Human Is a Grain of Sand

When I am in a desert, with nothing but sand dunes in sight, I quickly understand that I am no more than grains of sand on earth. What can I do to change the movement of the dunes? Can I deal with a sandstorm? It was in places like that where I really became aware of my true size.

When I am well protected inside my house and the rain lashes the windows or the thermometer plunges to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, I believe that I can dominate the natural world. But out of my shell, I am mere grains of sand, identical to those I tread on in the desert.

Sand dunes before sunset in Egypt’s western desert.

My Worries Are Exposed As Insignificant in These Immensities

Besides the fact that nature makes me aware of my real size and the real impact I have on the world, it often gives me moments of great tranquility, serenity and calm. I can recharge my batteries. I can regenerate and tap into nature for the energy I need to move forward in my artistic quest.

I have always found that when I start taking pictures of a place, an animal, or an underwater scene, my stress quickly disappears. This always happens when I live closer to nature. That is why I usually rent accommodation away from large cities and human agitation. I have also learned that my stress does not go away when I live in a noisy group amid human activities; not even during a photography project.

What is most interesting is that my worries and problems disappear very quickly when I live in nature. For instance, one of my greatest pleasures is photographing big mammals. This requires total immersion in the environment where the animals live. I need to blend into the environment with my blinds or my approach techniques. Then, there is only one thing that counts: becoming a part of the woods or meadows.

I also experience this feeling of fullness when I stand in great sand deserts or in deserted regions like the western United States. In the vastness of the natural scenery, my worries are only vague memories.

Nature is Full of Beautiful Places, Both Well-known and Obscure

Often, when I talk about my business as professional nature photographer, my interlocutors immediately think of well-known landscapes like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, the Sahara, and the Alps. It is true that these famous, breathtaking landscapes are real wonders of nature.

But more important is that the hidden treasures I find are real gems, from which I derive a great deal of energy. I have many favorite areas that are fairly obscure, such as Charente-Maritime in France, the Chihuahua Desert in New Mexico, and Mesa Verde in Colorado. There are too many for me to list them all.

But, whether well-known or obscure, there are many beautiful places in nature. Photography allows me to show them to others, and to share what I feel when contemplating them.

Photography: a Way For Me to Preserve and Share My Emotions

Nature photography has become a way of life for me. It is more than a way for me to relieve the stress that comes from being entrepreneurs and running my own business.

Nature photography is primarily a way of life. Nature allows me to put the human condition into perspective. When I contemplate the wonders of nature, I understand exactly where I belong, why I am here, and what I can do.

Nature photography and my love for the wonders of nature have helped me, over the years, to acquire a consciousness of my true status.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.

 

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