Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Carolina Rain Forest
The landscape and diverse wildlife population in the Blue Ridge Mountains’ temperate rain forest is a photographer’s dream
Consider that there are more tree species here than in all of Europe, more moss types than in the state of California and ferns that are only elsewhere found in the Amazon. Then consider that land development, invasive species and other threats may alter the way this land looks and functions over the next 15 years.
Clay Bolt thought about all of this when he started using his camera to do more than just capture these mountains as a nature photographer. He decided to use his pictures to play a role in educating the public about why this region is so ecologically valuable and what challenges it faces, and to drum up support for preservation.
“There was a point when I realized I was profiting off all of these different species and landscapes, and doing nothing to give back,” Bolt recalls. So he called The Nature Conservancy, offering up his services to do whatever the organization wanted in terms of photographing the region for promotional material, educational purposes and other needs.
Bolt’s work began with capturing the Blue Wall Preserve, one of the first in the state to be managed by The Nature Conservancy. This led him to take on more projects in South Carolina’s mountains, which often are overshadowed by the coastline. Mostly, he shoots properties that are privately owned, giving the public visual access to an ecosystem that in some ways is hidden from view.
“I feel like I have a golden key to some of these places where these rare and endemic species live,” he says. “I get to take these great images and do something for the state of South Carolina.”
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