In the spring of 2017 I submitted a proposal to the Kentucky chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and was selected as the photographer to provide images for their upcoming Case Statement, which I was told would be the single-most in depth print piece they have ever produced in their 40-year history, discussing larger investments, new approaches, and the benefits of the work being done. No pressure, right?
Images would include environmental portraits, landscape images, and a few action images, mostly shot in an editorial style. I worked with the staff at TNC to review their content outlines, image ideas, and pre-existing documents that emulated what they desired to have in their own piece. The written content would focus on three different areas: forests and grasslands, rivers and streams, and urban areas. So our plans for photography followed suit.
We set up several photo shoots across Kentucky, complete with volunteer talent and outdoor equipment, and got to work. The first shoot was at a farm near the Davis Bend Nature Preserve, in Canmer, Kentucky. We staged some shots completely, but for others I merely prompted the folks on camera and let them carry on with conversations or tasks they had to do. I also had a drone in the mix to provide some aerial perspectives of the farm and surrounding landscape.
The following morning we captured photos at two locations along the Green River; the first one being at the site of a removed dam, and the other being an existing dam, just downstream. I shot portraits, kayaking, and some staged editorial photos to go along with the written content about these dam removal and wetland restoration projects.
The second shoot took place in Louisville, first at the home of Christy Brown, where we wanted to take a few nice portraits of her in nature. Later that day we shot images at Wyandotte Park and surround neighborhoods. We wanted to capture images of a family, as well as a young couple, in these neighborhoods.
The final shoot was spread over two afternoons because of scheduling challenges, but we were able to get photos along the Rockcastle River, as well as at Hazel Dell Meadow. The river images were to be focused on recreation near and around the river, and the meadow shoot was to get some environmental portraits.
The TNC staff were very supportive not only in helping to set up the shoots, but also in providing me with enough information and context to capture what I felt were successful images. They were pleased with the final photos, and I think the Case Statement turned out great!