If you enjoy environmental photography, the Environmental Protection Agency is an unusual source of photographs from sea to shining sea. They include contributions from amateurs, professionals and EPA staffers, along with one series of photographs connecting history to the modern world.
One can easily get lost, as I sometimes do, following the photo links from the EPA’s photo blog to its Flickr galleries to its Facebook page, with side trips to photo exhibits in the National Archives.
Let me provide a guided tour, if you will. A good place to start is EPA’s State of the Environment Photo Project — especially if you like to share your pictures of nature with others. This is a blog that features interesting and often amusing pictures from throughout the United States and even from other countries.
You may choose to subscribe to EPA’s photo blog in the right column to receive notice of new posts. (Don’t forget that you can subscribe to this “Water Ways” blog as well.)
For the past two years, EPA has been encouraging people to submit photos that document the environment and way of life in the U.S. The Documerica Photo Project updates a similar project launched in the early years of the EPA in the 1970s. It is scheduled to continue through the end of this year.
A specific feature of the overall project is “Documerica Then and Now” (Flickr page), in which photographers try to match the exact locations from the original series and place them alongside recent photographs. I’d like to see more contributions from Northwest photographers. Check out one set of “Then” photographs for Seattle and another set for Olympia and Tacoma, or go to the full list of location challenges.
Here’s a match: John Day Dam on the Columbia River, 1973 and 2012, by David Falconer and Scott Butner, respectively. Notice the wind turbines in the modern photo.
David Falconer (Flickr page) documented the fuel shortage and water pollution in the Northwest during the early 1970s. It would be fun to match his photographs, including one of Spokane Falls and another of the Thunderbird Motel alongside the I-5 Bridge over the Columbia River.
It’s a quick jump to the National Archives photostream, where the original Documerica photographs are displayed.
To view recent submittals to the Documerica Project and other EPA galleries, you have the choice of using either EPA’s Facebook photo page or its Flickr page. Both options provide a wide range of EPA photo albums.
Although not connected with the Documerica project, you may wish to wander into the Puget Sound gallery, which features staff photos from our familiar waterway, which EPA calls “a place of rare biological diversity and high economic value.” That’s where I found the picture of the EPA diver assessing conditions at the bottom of Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor.