A recent adventure found me near Atlin, BC, where I had the opportunity to accompany an old friend of mine to some remote areas in the northwest of the province.
Kyler Hardy, president of Ridge Resources, was in the area to perform some soil sampling and prospecting (checking the mineral content of surface rocks) for one of his many projects.
Transportation to the site was provided by Discovery Helicopters, based out of Atlin.
Being on a mountainside in such a remote location for several days renewed my appreciation for both the conveniences of city life and for the beauty of the natural landscape and delicate ecosystem. Walking through the forest of mostly mixed balsam and aspen, trying not to mind the swarms of black flies and mosquitoes, I couldn’t help but think that few of us, myself included, would survive more than a few weeks in such a setting. Most of us lack basic wilderness survival skills, especially those concerning food and shelter, simply due to the absence of a need for such skills in modern civilization. I was very thankful for my tent and our abundant food, not to mention Kyler’s excellent camp cooking skills.
The site we were visiting, and many like it, are possible locations for future placer mining operations, a somewhat controversial method. My initial response to the kind of environmental destruction associated with placer mining is one of resistance and opposition. Further thought, however, leads me to realize that the majority of the comforts we enjoy are reliant on such methods. This dependence, of course, does not necessarily justify the types of methods employed, but it does extend the responsibility to those of us, which is most of us, who take advantage of the products acquired in methods like placer mining. It would seem that a paradigm shift concerning what we consider our “needs” would be required to eliminate or at least reduce the need for such methods as placer mining.
I’ve not yet sorted out how this sort of ethical concern affects my profession as a photographer. I certainly enjoy travelling and taking photos, and, so far at least, I don’t feel overly conflicted in offering my services to natural resource groups so long as no deception or misrepresentation is taking place, and so long as I am transparent in my role as a photographer. I welcome debate on the matter should anyone like to get in touch with me. More photos below.