Take Only Photographs, Leave Only Footprints

Hunters shoot and kill wildlife. But watch what happens when this hunter puts down a rifle, trades bullets for an SD card, picks up a camera, and starts taking a different approach to shooting. 

"Chasing Light," a YETI production, tells the story of Wyman Meinzer, a man who was raised as a cowboy in Texas where he learned to hunt and trap. He kept detailed logs of his kills and paid bills with the success of his marksmanship. Spending ample time in Texas' badlands gave Meinzer a deep appreciation for the natural world. He often took note of the colors and contrasts in nature and eventually picked up a camera to capture fleeting moments of the landscape and wildlife. While also still a hunter, Meinzer is now the only official State Photographer of Texas. Plus, his images have appeared in publications such as Smithsonian, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Outdoor Life, BBC Wildlife, and many, many more. 

What I like most about Meinzer's story is his attitude and work ethic toward the craft. His passion and appreciation for his subjects fuel his determination to succeed. He didn't instantly land magazine covers, but with persistence and perseverance, he began to succeed in getting published. I think this is a great lesson about hard work and willpower for any photographer. 

In this video, I appreciate Meinzer's candid approach to life and his reflection on what it means to be an outdoor photographer. Regarding the fact that he is first and foremost a hunter, I greatly respect his outlook on keeping some wildlife alive by clicking a camera's shutter rather than a gun's trigger. Watch the video to hear Meinzer's full story. 

Cover photo by Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash. 

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10 Comments
Deleted Account's picture

Enjoyable, informative video and he's a really great photographer. His images don't stop at that 1/125th of a second but seem to capture the spirit of the thing.

Leslie van der Merwe's picture

Its a problem here in Africa....the number of tourists impacting on the environment....Botswana has now banned plastic bottled water ... a real problem is how to handle the faeces generated by tourists in wilderness areas.....1 trophy hunter generates more income and has less income on the environment than 500 photographers....

Deleted Account's picture

There are no perfect solutions, only those with negative consequences you can live with.

Raul Dederichs's picture

That is just plane BS! How exactly does a trophy hunter create more profit and have (I assume you mean to say ‘less impact’) on the environment, just because he pays a handsome sum of money that will go towards some corrupt government official when park fees and photography permits are creating millions towards sutainability in national parks and game reserves??? Does the trophy hunter not drink bottled water and defecate? Naturally one of them will have less impact than 500 of the others, and I am not defending all photographers here, but there are a LOT more trophy hunters than just one! And what purpose do trophies serve other than conpensate for other shortcomings of the hunter’s body parts? Photographs can at least contribute to create awarness of the existance of the last bit of wilderness we have not yet managed to poison and erradicate, your nonsense excuses for pointless killing are just as condemnable as the actions of those that pull the trigger, cowards who kill endangered species from hundreds of yards away when I have spent hours in harmony at barely few feet of the animals that potentially could become trophies of those who need them to feel more manly, shame on you!

Benjamin Stockard's picture

I highly suggest looking up the Theodore Roosevelt model of conservation. It has been deemed an overwhelming success by the world over and several countries in Africa are now starting to implement similar practices. As a result, hunters and fishermen have done more to contribute toward the sustainability of wildlife and the habitat that they need to survive.

William Faucher's picture

I have to agree with Benjamin here. Don't be quick to bash on something you do not quite understand. If things were simple as black and white, it would be easy to say "Animal die, hunter bad!" and it would be the sum of all truths. Unfortunately things are a bit more complicated than that.

To explain a little, the money a trophy hunter has to pay to hunt an animal (in a controlled manner, one that is predictable and more ethical) is an astronomical contribution to conservation efforts, while having a (comparatively) low impact on the environment. Photographers contribute very little in terms of finances and the effort to preserve the wildlife. Sure we take pictures, and spread awareness, but there is no shortage of pretty wildlife photos, especially in these areas, and in the long run, isn't doing much for conservation.

Don't get me wrong, I am not condoning the free taking of an animals life, and ESPECIALLY NOT POACHING. But the money that conservation efforts make thanks to the Roosevelt model is a big success.

Raul Dederichs's picture

Thanks for the feedback to both you and Mr Stockard, but after living and working in East Africa for over five years I do believe I am entitled to an opinion without risking to be considered naive - and while the Theodore Rooselvelt model of conservation makes complete sense in well controlled areas such as Europe or North America, in Africa it only opens the floodgate to corrupt practices influenced by the huge amounts of money paid by big-game hunters - there is absolutely no scenario you could possibly name that would justify the killing of endangered species such as Elephants or Lions (and sadly those are the two prime targets for those 'Trophy' hunters) yes there needs to be certain interaction to decimate species since the balance in wildlife has been completely thrown off due to human interaction, but this should be done by wildlife and forestal professionals and not by trigger-happy millionaires that enjoy the thrill of killing!

Raul Dederichs's picture

I agree that this model works well in developed nations where laws are easily enforced, however it doesn't in Africa, there is no scenario imaginable that would ever justify the hunting and killing of endangered species, no matter how much one contributes to the treasuries of countries that will likely never truly invert in conservation. National Parks like the Serengeti, Masai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo, etc. are are perfect examples where hunting is not permitted and visitors (mostly tourists and photographers) pay between 60 - 80$ per day that go directly into the Kenya or Tanzania wildlife trust.

Arun Hegden's picture

Too good..:)

Rob Davis's picture

It really is just as gratifying and virtually the same strategies and tactics.