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Photographer John Fielder to present free slide show Monday

Nationally-renowned nature photographer John Fielder will present a free slide show 7-9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

The show will include photographs from Fielder’s latest book, “Ranches of Colorado,” celebrating the history and future of Colorado ranches. Many of fielder’s books will be available for purchase and for signing by Fielder.

As a member of Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, Southwest Land Alliance (SLA), Pagosa’s local land trust, will host Fielder. Proceeds from the sale of his books during the event and the silent auction of one of his signed, numbered and framed photos will benefit SLA.

Tucked into every corner of the Colorado landscape are places where legends still live. The ranches of the West, and the ranchers who run them, embody what is true about America, and what Americans want to be true: self sufficiency, determination, independence, competence, fearlessness, and an abiding reverence for the land that has blessed us with abundance and opportunity.

These ranches tell of a life that is fast disappearing. There is pressure to sell out to developers for ski areas and vacation homes and shopping centers. There are children who, legacy or not, no longer want to make a living from the land. And there are taxes that can threaten to take away what has been in the family for generations. As we watch the complex struggle of these ranchers to maintain a life that is slipping away, we also witness the inspiring way in which people are coming together to protect it.

In 2007 and 2008 Fielder traveled to photograph 50 of Colorado’s most beautiful multi-generational working cattle ranches, most already protected from development. The resulting book, “Ranches of Colorado,” will play a part in the protection of other ranches. The project is a partnership of Fielder, Colorado’s preeminent outdoor photographer, and the Colorado land trust community, including Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Colorado Open Lands, and the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts. These organizations earn royalties from each copy of the book sold.

The Pagosa slide show will include over 250 of the project photographs and Fielder will tell stories about his experiences working with these remarkable ranchers and exploring their ranches … all enhanced with the inspiring symphonic music of Aaron Copland. Both book and slide show will be used to rally support for the use of conservation easements to save ranches by encouraging other ranch owners to do the same, and to raise funds to purchase development rights from ranchers so that these lands can remain in ranching in perpetuity.