Photographer John Fielder has rafted the Green River to photograph Moffat County's famous rivers, hiked the trails of Routt National Forest to capture some of Colorado's grandest autumn colors, and trekked through Vermillion Basin to shoot the county's canyons.
The award-winning photographer will display the work he's done on those adventures tonight during a slideshow at the Center of Craig.
During the show, sponsored by the Colorado Wilderness Network, Fielder will explain some of the finer points of landscape photography while educating his audience about the importance of ecology.
"His work is certainly important in the conservation movement. In Moffat County, many of these areas truly are beautiful as well as threatened. Fielder's slide show will bring those images that are often remote in the western part of the county to Craig," said Reed Morris of the Wilderness Network.
Fielder's work has appeared in 34 books, mostly about Colorado. He has won numerous photography awards, including the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award. Copies of Fielder's most recent book, "Seeing Colorado's Forests for the Trees," and his other titles will be available for sale and signing at the show. Forty percent of the sale proceeds will benefit Craig Middle School's River Watch program.
"I believe nature photographers should be advocates of the things that allow them to make a living, the environment," Fielder said.
He said he uses his work as a foundation to teach the importance of preserving Colorado's wilderness. While Colorado's landscape is changed through oil and gas development and mineral extraction, Fielder's photos remind viewers what it is they risk losing for economic gain.
"We need to think about how much damage we do in terms of the long-range economy," Fielder said.
Once oil, gas and mineral deposits have been exhausted in an area, the jobs will be gone, too, he said. By then, areas that could have depended on tourism to support their local economy have lost that option after the energy industry defaced their landscape.
"It doesn't matter if you're a farmer, rancher, oil and gas driller, ski bum or environmentalist, everybody loves nature and feels better when they're out there," Fielder said.
A portion of the presentation will be dedicated to explanations of how Fielder got his shots. Although Moffat County's canyons are some of the most beautiful in the country, the geologic formations are some of the most challenging to photograph, Fielder said.
Canyon photos are difficult to take because film doesn't register the highlights and shadows the human eye sees, he said. The warm orange and yellow shades of sandstone are a large part of what people enjoy about canyons, but the bright light above a canyon contrasts so harshly with the dim light inside a canyon that the colors get lost in the middle.
Therefore, a canyon photo won't come out well at high noon. The light will be too bright. Most of Fielder's canyon photographs have been taken at dawn or dusk because the light intensity is low.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at email@example.com.