Since the development of photography in the early 1800s, there has always been a strong tradition of photographers using their work to promote conservation and social justice issues. One need only to look at the development of the National Park System in the United States to see the impact early photographers had on conservation. William Henry Jackson, with his 1871 Yellowstone photographs, helped push through legislation that established Yellowstone as the world’s first National Park. Another well-known example of a conservationist photographer was Ansel Adams, whose tireless efforts both as a photographer and as a 37-year member of the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors led to the establishment of Kings Canyon National Park in 1940.
Ever since I was a kid and visited the Grand Canyon for an hour with my family, I have dreamed about going back and seeing the canyon from the river’s perspective. So when some friends invited my wife and me on a 21-day trip after they had waited 15 years for a private permit, it wasn’t hard to commit. The permit covered nearly the entire month of March, when crowds are smaller and no motorized boats or guides are allowed on the river.