What Would You Have Done? by Andres Puiggros

What Would You Have Done?

by Andres Puiggros

photo by Willa Wie

This blog post was written in Spanish by Nature First Advocate for Chile, Andres Puiggros, and translated to English for our site. His post focuses on our principle #5 “Know and follow rules and regulations” Read about his tough decision last month and his choice to do the right thing.

What Would You Have Done? 

Regardless of the activities you participate in, every once in a while there are opportunities that are unique and that will not be repeated in our lifetimes. In the case of nature photographers, we are always attentive to opportunities given by our source of inspiration – nature. It can be some extreme weather event, volcano eruptions, alignment of celestial bodies, etc.

photo by Brynn Schmidt
photo by Scott Bacon

This year we learned of a comet, called NEOWISE, which was observable, even with the naked eye, in some parts of the world, giving us photographic opportunities that several of us never thought we could have within our reach. At the end of July, it was certain that it was going to be visible in some places in Chile with some clarity, as long as the weather cooperated. Within those places is the city where I live, Arica, in northern Chile. We were in total quarantine at that time as a result of the COVID19 pandemic until July 24, so I had everything planned for Saturday, the 25th to go climb to a dark place, without clouds so that I could see the comet despite its position close to the horizon. I had everything planned, and Photopills supported my research. On Friday the 24th, in the morning, the extension of the total quarantine was confirmed for at least one more week in Chile. My plans were complicated and the dilemma started – what should I do in this case? I have always tried to be a consistent person with my ideas and values. Sometimes it is not easy and sometimes it does not work out. As one grows personally and professionally, the principles and values one clings to change and evolve. In this case, despite having been able to get some official permission with some tricks, despite seeing that the risk might not be that much, I decided to respect the regulations and pass up this opportunity, unique in my lifetime perhaps.

The comet could be seen with the naked eye in late July in Arica, northern Chile
Planning that I did in the Photopills application

Perhaps at another time in my life it would not have been like this, as many others did go,   However,   I   am   deeply   committed   to   doing   things   well and  the commitment to nature cannot be partial. As an ambassador for Nature First, I firmly believe that, if each of us contributes his grain of sand, however simple it may seem, we will be able to create awareness by setting an example and spreading the respectful way of capturing the wonderful opportunities that nature gives us. We need to know too when the right decision is to miss opportunities like this. Being part of Nature First has contributed to my way of relating to nature. In this case, one of its principles was the one that guided my decision: “Know and follow the rules and regulations.” 

Please join our global initiative.  There is no cost and it does not require your time. We just ask that  you to be respectful of nature when you want to take a photo or video. Check out the principles that Nature First promotes here, and we will all add in this remarkable initiative. This was a hard decision – and you, what would you have done?