NEW BACKER REWARD -- NATIONAL PARKS T-SHIRT -- Featuring the names of all 59 National Parks in an iconic design, printed on a Hanes Tagless T!
My name is Rob Decker and I'm a photographer, graphic designer and independent producer. I have two great passions – Photography & our National Parks. From the age of six, I have been visiting and photographing the National Parks, and have visited 23…so far.
In 1979, I studied photography with Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park, an amazing experience that has left a lasting impression. Today, I live in Colorado, practically in the shadow of Rocky Mountain National Park.
American Icons: Our National Parks, is a photo-graphic project aimed at creating individual iconic images for each of America’s 59 National Parks. The project is inspired by the posters created during the Works Program Administration (WPA) where hundreds of artists were commissioned to create thousands of posters to stir the public’s imagination for education, theater, health, safety and travel.
But only 14 National Park posters were created…and there were only 25 National Parks at that time.
My goal is to create unique, iconic images for each of the 59 National Parks, which as a photographer is a real challenge – to create that single photograph to truly represents each park.
The basis of this Kickstarter project is to get the first 12 iconic images done...and since there are 18 national parks within 10 hours' drive...I expect to easily create the remaining nine images by the end of this year.
And, by backing this project, you can make a positive impact on the future of our National Parks!
Many – if not most – of our National Parks are under duress. Yosemite on fire! Yellowstone lost more than 790,000 acres in 1988. The ice is melting at both Glacier Bay and Glacier National Parks! Acid rain is damaging Rocky Mountain National Park! And 65 million visitors each year strain resources at all levels – roads, trails, campgrounds, services and much more.
Your Support Can Help Our National Parks!
One of the most important aspects of this project is to eventually get these posters, postcards, note cards and calendars into the bookstores at the National Parks and nature associations that support them. Proceeds directly and positively impact the National Park Service by generating revenues that can be used to preserve the parks, educate visitors, build and maintain trails and allow for the enjoyment of the parks by future generations.
With your help, I’ll be able to finish photographing each of the parks and create iconic images in the timeless style of the WPA era. With 59 parks, this is a monumental effort and my goal is to complete this project to coincide with the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.
What I Need & What's In It For You!
I am seeking $27,000 in funding to truly kick start this project. The short-term goal is to complete 12 images by early December, 2013 – so you won’t have to wait 2 years for your rewards! There will be a series of 12 postcards, 12 note cards, a 12-month 2014 calendar and 12 unique 13” x 19” posters -- all printed and shipped before the holidays. These will make great gifts for anyone on your list!
I have already created 3 images, so the funds will go towards creating the remaining 9 images in the first collection of 12. I’ll also be creating some polls and surveys so that you can get involved and have input on which parks you’d most like to see covered!
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition, so if I don’t reach my funding goal, you won’t be charged and the project may not get off the ground. Kickstarter fees are about 10%, and the cost of paper, printing, mailing envelopes -- as well as postage for mailing your rewards -- will account for a significant amount of the overall funding.
Beyond that, I hope to raise enough funds to complete the entire set of 59 parks – and who knows – by 2016, there could even be some new ones! For the parks I can’t get to in person, I will be acquiring photographs from other photographers and deriving the final graphic images from those photos.
- My first image, for Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, is currently being reviewed by their staff for inclusion in bookstore and on line sales!
- I’m actively developing the image for Arches National Park, and will be working with the Canyonlands Natural History Association once this project is off the ground.
- And, I’ve been in touch with the Rocky Mountain Nature Association and have started working on an image for Rocky Mountain National Park.
About the Image Creation Process
I have developed a “photo-graphic” process to create these iconic images. It all starts out in the field when I take a series of photographs – from seriously under exposed to seriously over exposed – nine shots in all.
Back in the digital darkroom, I select three or more of these images and employ High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography techniques to create an exposure that is typically not possible by taking a single shot. Using HDR is needed when there is a high dynamic range of light – a sunset, brightly lit scenes on snow or water, or intensely backlit situations. By using up to nine shots in my HDR photography, I can capture an amazing range of light! Perfect for National Park scenes.
Once the digital negative is produced, it’s time to move it to Photoshop, where it undergoes the transformation using a variety of filters, layers, techniques and tweaks to create the final graphic image. Finally, based on my research of the park's most popular features, the headline and subtext are overlaid on the image. And finally, the name of the National Park, along with a customized icon featuring the year the park was designated, is added to the artwork.
After the master artwork is produced, the final images for the posters, calendar, note cards and postcards will be created and made ready for printing.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can’t contribute right now, there are some other ways you can help:
- Spread the word! I’d really appreciate it if you could let your friends and family know about this project.
- Use your social networks to spread the word, too!
- Buy the posters, postcards, note cards and calendars when you visit the parks!
Risks and challenges
The risks to this project are few; the challenges are inspiring.
The risk is that our National Parks, which are so important on so many levels, are threatened every day. Yosemite is on fire! Glaciers are melting at a rapid pace. Acid rain continues its deadly impact. Budget cuts limit our ability to preserve and protect some of the most amazing places on earth. The risk is NOT capturing the amazing beauty and nature of these parks before they suffer even more.
The challenge will be to personally visit each National Park...and moreover...to capture that single, iconic image that accurately represents each and every one of these National Treasures. As a photographer with more than 45 years of experience...this is a challenge I can't wait to tackle!
I have been professionally involved in photography, graphic design and print projects for nearly 30 years. Since I will be responsible for creating (or worst case, acquiring) all of the original images -- and then developing the photo-graphic images for each poster -- that aspect of the project is quite secure. During my professional career, I have worked with highly-professional printers across the country, and will be able to produce the posters, post cards, note cards and calendars...and will work with the best printer for each individual print project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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