Why I’m Here: Walking in Ansel Adams’ Footsteps

Why I’m Here: Walking in Ansel Adams’ Footsteps


February 26th, 2018|0 Comments

By Devon Kellums, American Forests

In the suburbs of Chicago where I grew up, I wasn’t exactly surrounded by forests. However, I was lucky enough to have parents who were determined to get me outdoors to experience all of what nature has to offer. Whenever I started to feel bored over a long summer break, my parents would encourage me to walk to the nearest forest preserve.

Credit: Devon Kellums, American Forests Multimedia Intern

I spent many days exploring Leroy Oaks, a forest preserve about a mile away from my house. I was always either taking photos or walking our dogs along the paths. I felt at peace among the trickling creeks and the rustling leaves. It was a place for me to get away from the sounds of cars rushing by or the bustle of my own house.

My family also recognized the importance of traveling to experience new landscapes. When I was in middle school, we went on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park. I was utterly amazed by the powerful geysers, the vibrant hot springs, and the diversity of the animals. I yearned to go back as soon as I left, and luckily, I was able to do so before my senior year of high school.

Credit: Devon Kellums

I immediately noticed some changes during our first hike. Some of the vegetation wasn’t as vibrant. More of the trees were dying. I didn’t see nearly as many animals as I had before. That’s when I realized the seriousness of climate change, and felt the need to do something to help our environment.

Yellowstone will always amaze me, and I will always want to go back. The park has so much to offer, and it has an incredible history behind it. On that second trip, I stood in the exact spot as Ansel Adams did when he took one of his famous photos.

Credit: Ansel Adams

As I set up my camera to take the same shot as him, I felt passion, peacefulness and awe well up inside of me. Ansel Adams had worked to raise awareness for the importance of nature and preserving our national parks. He’s also been my long time inspiration, and a big motivator for me to take photography classes. When I snapped a photo in the same spot as this amazing photographer, I knew I wanted to continue in his footsteps.

I came to D.C. through the Scripps in D.C. program offered at Ohio University. It includes a ten-week long, full-time internship for visual communication and journalism students. As a junior studying Commercial Photography, this program was the right fit for me.

I knew I wanted to make the most of my time here in D.C., and I didn’t want to work just anywhere. While perusing different internships online, I found one with American Forests. When I saw on their website that they were trying to save the grizzly bear habitat in Yellowstone, I instantly thought of my last visit there.

Credit: Devon Kellums

It seemed like a sign.

The work American Forests does is incredibly important, which is why I have joined them as a Multimedia Intern. I have a passion for visual communication and a love for nature, so this internship seemed like the ideal way to bring them together. I also like to think this experience will help me follow in Ansel Adams’ footsteps. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I am excited to be part of a team that’s making a difference!

The post Why I’m Here: Walking in Ansel Adams’ Footsteps appeared first on American Forests.


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