The Gift Of Inspiring Joy: A FREE CAMERA!

The Gift Of Inspiring Joy: A FREE CAMERA!

After more than a decade of reliable service I am finally retiring my trusty Canon EOS 40D SLR Digital Camera. Even though it’s still in good condition and ready to use on a new project I’ve decided to give it away to an aspiring young photographer. ABSOLUTELY FREE! If you know someone between the ages of 12 and 17 with a passion for taking pictures I want to make a gift of this well-loved piece of equipment and a few accessories to encourage their development as an artist. Just tell me their story. From among those whom you nominate I’ll select a single person to receive a complete kit to get them started.

A week ago I used this camera for the last time. As the still photographer for the PBS documentary film series America’s Forest with Chuck Leavell I had the honor of shooting the premier of Episode 3 at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. In this edition of the program we featured a three black families who have managed small private forests in the “Low Country” of South Carolina since the end of slavery in 1865. Sponsored in part by the U.S. Endowment For Forests & Communities the stories we shared exemplify the importance of passing from one generation to the next the values of environmental stewardship and conservation. And in the spirit of inspiring others to use their talents of creative expression for the benefit of protecting and preserving our natural heritage I want to put this camera into the hands of someone who can carry on the work we’ve only just started. Watch the episode here:

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Here’s the deal: In 450 words or less tell me about the young person you want to nominate. Tell me their age, where they’re from and anything that will make their case. What makes you think they’ll put this camera to good use? They don’t necessarily have to already possess great photographic skills or even talent. I’m really just looking for someone with a deep desire to tell stories in a meaningful way in pictures. Maybe they have photos on Facebook or Instagram that are particularly compelling. Perhaps they use their parents’ cell phone to take snapshots. Imagine what they could do with a professional grade camera. Special consideration will be given to nominees with an interest in nature or adventure photography that leans toward environmental activism.

The person selected will receive:
1 Canon 40D SLR Digital Camera
1 Owners Manual
1 Canon 17- 85 mm lens
6 rechargeable batteries
1 battery charger
1 USB transfer cable
1 Peak Design Slide (Camera Strap)
1 Peak Design Capture (Camera quick release mount)
1 Peak Design Everyday Sling (Camera bag)

Certainly, it had occurred to me to simply sell this camera. But truthfully I’ve made more than enough money from it already. And rather than let it sit on a shelf collecting dust I felt compelled to pay a bit of my good fortune forward. Like St. Nicholas I like the idea of providing for others the things I want for myself. I want this gift to inspire all those who participate to imagine ways they can make the outdoors and the natural environment accessible to more people. In the giving spirit of Christmas and the holiday season I want to encourage everyone to count their many blessings and do what they can to bring some joy to the world.

I spent the better part of November traveling across the country on another assignment. For more than three weeks I followed the path of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as its official photographer. From the Carson National Forest in the town of Red River, New Mexico all the way to Washington D.C. With my partners at the nonprofit Choose Outdoors I documented the journey of The People’s Tree through the heart of America. Having encountered thousands and thousands people along the way I was really moved my the wonderful sense of generosity and kindness that is still such a big part of what it means to be an American citizen. From behind the lens of my cameras I was able to see and record the spirit of our great nation as folks from all walks of life took the time to set aside their differences long enough to celebrate together their mutual love of our National Forests and the public land we all share.

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I look forward to hearing from you! Drop me a note in the comments below or write via email at Send your nomination today. For best consideration reply by December 24th!

Special thanks to my friends at Peak Design for offering up a few additional items to round out this package. If you’re an outdoor industry product manufacturer or retailer and want to support this effort please be in touch and let me know what you’d like to contribute. I’d to like offer at least a few consolation awards to those nominees who are not selected. What can you offer as a gift to inspire joy?

“So shines a good deed in a naughty world.” ~ William Shakespeare

This holiday initiative is among the ways the Joy Trip Project is exploring ways to get the environmental conservation movement to #rethinkoutside. For more stories or to pledge your support visit