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A Heritage on Film

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2010

is an indicator of its health.

A major project has taken Lindholm from the East Coast to Montana, gathering material for a book with the working title River Across Time, in collaboration with W. Raymond Wood, professor of anthropology, University of Missouri at Columbia. They've followed land and river routes taken by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, and a German naturalist, Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, from 1832 to 1834. The book will document changes along the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and show areas that have endured.

Photographers who want to help the environment have two basic directions to go, says Lindholm. "One is pointing up the beauty of things we need to save, and the second is pointing up the problems we've created." Since black and white landscape photography can be challenging, he offers this advice:

  • Select one film and developer combination and work with it until you understand it, rather than bouncing from one film to another. Lindholm prefers slower films, because "you get the best quality, better grain structure and higher resolution."
  • Hold the camera steady with a tripod or a bean bag on a fence post. If negatives are blurry, it's usually a sign the camera is wiggling. Even the action of the camera's shutter can make it jump.
  • Sometimes the vastness of a beautiful landscape doesn't come across in an 8 x 10 print. When photographing, look for a point of interest, such as an object in the foreground to combine with the landscape, unusual clouds or a pattern of hills in light and shadow.
  • Study a booklet on filters. The right filter can increase the cloud effect, making it more dramatic, or provide definition in a dark evergreen tree.
  • For printing, select a paper and stick with it until you learn to use it. "Experience teaches you in the darkroom," says Lindholm.

Move in close and fill up the frame for subjects such as a farmhouse window or detail in foliage. Beginning photographers tend to stand too far away, so the subject of the photo is small and distant.

Where can your photos do some good? Lindholm advises getting in touch with conservation and environmental organizations. "Use your imagination," he says. "Who might be working to improve this area or save it?"

Your photo could inspire new action, if your local newspaper runs it with a story. A photo and a letter to the right person can get attention

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