Photography is a popular hobby across England. Thankfully the old-days of film made with gelatin (animal bones) are almost gone. The bad news is that whereas taking a photo used to be very simple, today digital cameras can be complicated to use, which is why many people now choose to take photos on their smartphone instead.
an eco-friendly paper digital camera!
Paper Shoot Camera (use code englandnaturally for 10% discount) is a wonderful digital camera, which is simple to use and eco-friendly too. Of course many people use their smartphones. But if you use a digital camera, this is one of the best.
Made ethically in Taiwan (the founder is a Taiwanese engineer who worked in the paper industry), it’s made of stone paper with a camera inside (you can recycle small batteries at jewellers). The company uses recycled, repurposed and biodegradable materials and pays ethical wages to all employees.
Built to last years, full specs are available on the website. You can recharge the camera using the USB and take video or timelapse photos. The detachable ring light replaces a flash. The cameras are available in a wide choice of styles and colours. Then just upload your photos. Switching to digital also eliminates having to use photography paper (only a few brands are vegan).
respect wildlife, when taking photographs
Obviously also be careful not to startle people or pets either. But many people take photographs of wildlife using a flash camera, which can startle them (it can even kill seahorses, whether in the ocean or trapped in aquariums). All professional wildlife photographers know to stay well away, use zoom lenses and not making noises or flash lights.
Never do anything to stress an animal or damage its habitat, just to get a photo. This includes taking photographs of nests or flying (or flying drones) too low or making noises that could scare any creature. Never get close enough to wild animals that they spook (if you can see a basking seal looking at you, you’re too close).
photo albums made from elephant dung!
Display your favourite images in elephant dung photo albums! They’re made from a blend of recycled paper and elephant dung. In villages in Africa and India, elephants are sometimes shot as they trample and eat crops. But when you give villagers money to collect dung, they see elephants as friends and income. Elephants eat the equivalent of us eating 375 cans of beans a day. So that’s a lot of fibre-rich poo! And each album is unique, as the flecks depend on the food that your elephant friend ate that day!
All elephants are at risk from poaching, habitat loss and conflicts with humans, and often venture into tea plantations and trample on crops. Logging and the palm oil industry are also risks to elephant friends. So buying items that give income from collecting elephant dung, is all for the good. Read more on how to save critically endangered elephants.
use photographic skills to help animals
Often kind volunteers at animal shelters take terrible photos! So on a serious note, talented photographers can help up adoption drives by showing animals in a different light, being careful not to startle them with stark background, noise or flash photography. Photos of miserable-looking animals with murky backgrounds don’t help.
Sophie Gamand has good tips (that’s one of her subjects above!) One portrait she did of a blind senior dog who kept facing the wrong way, went viral after she just went with it as a comedy statement. Of course the lucky pooch found her forever home!
Mutley’s Snaps has good tips for other pet photographers (his work is beyond amazing!) His happy staffie photos show adorable friendly dogs, and they are made into an annual calendar, which helps to raise funds for a local animal shelter.
volunteer for operation photo rescue
If you have photographic skills, volunteer for Operation Photo Rescue. This worldwide outfit lets people whose photos have been ruined through fire or flood, to be restored to their former glory, at no cost. An ideal way to help if you’re a photographer, grapic designer or image restoration artist. Insurance can cover natural disasters and house fires, but can’t restore photos.
For a paid service, Photographs Forever can restore photos that are faded or discoloured or accidentally ripped in half. These experts can also remove spots, stains, marks, creases and tears, as well as digitally remove mould damage and improve contrast etc.
If you have an unwanted camera, ask if anyone in your community would like it, if there is an interest in photography. In northeast England, you can visit Camera Donation Project to find details of how to pass it on to someone who will use it. You can deposit camera batteries at any battery recycling bank across the country.
If you have hundreds or thousands of old photos, keep what’s best and bin the rest (nothing bad will happen, people throw out magazines with photos every day, and you can’t recycle or burn photo film, as it releases toxic gas). Instead of hoarding dusty albums and boxes of photos of the tops of people’s heads and clouds from aeroplanes, sort out the ones you really do like, and display them for everyone to see!
If you have lots of photos you’d like to keep, you can send them off to Vintage Photo Lab (there’s always a risk, but they’re just photos), and they can return you a lovely digital album of all your shots, which you can then store to a disk or on the cloud, for safekeeping. This company can take old faded photos, slide disks and vintage albums, along with old scrap books and telegrams.