Pick it up.
Summer cleanup – you can help
Story and photos by Derek Doeffinger
We Finger Lakes folk love the outdoors in summer. Sometimes too much. Fortunately, we are usually pretty good about keeping our trails and parks clean. But not quite perfect. I know because time and again when I photograph wildflowers or waterfalls while looking through the viewfinder I spot a crumpled can, a discarded tissue, a styrofoam cup, socks, even the occasional underwear (hopefully not yours) in my scene.
Unfortunately, even one ill-placed snack wrapper can tarnish an otherwise pristine scene.
I confess that I’ve not always been diligent in removing stray litter, even though I’ve always admired those inspirational volunteers who spend time picking up the discards of others.
Now I’m going to join them. In my own way. Instead of using Photoshop to remove the litter in my photos I’ve gotten into the habit of picking it up and carrying it out. By the end of summer, it’s inevitable that our heavily used trails begin to accumulate some litter.
So along with lenses and filters, I’ve added a more practical accessory to my camera bag, a kitchen trash bag. It can double to protect gear from rain and waterfall spray but more importantly when I come across litter, I can help restore the trails to a more natural harmony.