Wednesday, July 6, 2016

10 of the Best in Conservation Photography, part one

by Mark Lukes, President, Fine Print Imaging

Ok, normally when I discuss conservation photographers, gender is rarely a factor. You either devote your energy to making a difference or you don't.  And certainly all 10 of these photographers are absolutely, unequivocally, completely dedicated to conservation. What's special about these photographers is that they all have been selected to become members of the prestigious and purpose driven International League of Conservation Photographers - The iLCP. And they all also just happen to be Women.

I've had the honor of working with each of these photographers, and it'd be hard to find a more talented group of individuals. I had hoped to tell you about all 10 of these photographers in this blog but quickly learned  that I would need pages and pages to do so.  So I'll start simple - with just a few of these unique and amazing conservation warriors. More to come later.

Cristina Mittermeier

Drive, determination and passion all describe Cristina Mittermeier, the visionary founder and former President of the iLCP, "a consortium of some of the best photographers on the planet who are actively working for conservation. As an active North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) member, Cristina began pushing for the organization to take on a stronger conservation stance. While she made amazing progress in a short period of time, she also knew the planet did not have time for casual discourse. It needed a champion who would work tirelessly to coalesce the talents of the world's top world’s top wildlife, nature and culture photographers.

 In 2005, Cristina accomplished her goal - the iLCP was born. For the next 7 years, she worked tirelessly to shape the iLCP into the unquestioned leader in the world of conservation photography.  While her imprint on the iLCP will be everlasting, Cristina now heads the newly founded organization Sea Legacy, whose mission is to use the power of photography to promote the protection of our oceans.

If you've never heard Cristina speak, you are missing out on one of the top story tellers of our time. Check out her Ted Talk in Vail, CO here: .  To learn more about this iconic figure in the world of conservation photography, go to

Alison Jones

Drive, determination and passion all describe Alison Jones... OK, OK... I know I just said that about Cristina. Better get used to it because all 10 of these conservation photographers can be introduced with the very same words. Well, Alison has spent the last 30+ years of her life pursuing her career in photography, and from the very beginning, has been a role model for conservation photographers.

She has traveled the entire African continent with her camera.  In 1985 while in Kenya she started documenting protected areas, wildlife and community development. In 1999 Alison, helped the start-up of Kenya's Mara Conservancy.   In 2005 she wrote a Proposed Management Plan for Ethiopia's Necessary National Park based on the Mara Conservancy.

In 2007, Alison created No Water - No Life, a non-profit that is focused on what I consider to be one of the most critical issues facing our planet. This nonprofit combines the powers of photography and science to raise public awareness of global freshwater issues. "Alison's documentation for NWNL covers the values, degradation and management of 6 case-study watersheds: Africa's Nile, Omo and Mara River Basins and North Americas Columbia, Mississippi and Raritan River Basins. NWNL products include an in-depth website, lectures, videos, exhibits, social media and print publications."

Add to all of this that Alison is a fun-loving, larger than life human being, and you have someone that you've just gotta meet someday. You don't need to wait; you can meet her online:

Next Blog we meet Jenny Ross and Amy Gulick

Monday, May 9, 2016

All That Glitters is Not Gold...Sometime's it's Silver!

by Kate Dardine

We’ve always referred to each other as “family” -  maybe that is why we just celebrated two 25 year anniversaries:  both Mike Roberts (production manager) and Patricia James (color technician) marked their silver anniversaries with Fine Print this past April.  Aside from owners Mark Lukes and Linda Helm, I am officially the “oldest” Fine Print employee – I passed my 25 year mile marker in 2014.  Other contenders for extreme longevity are Mary Hills (24), Tonya Aspegren (15) and Jerry Hummel (18).

In an age where staying at a job longer than five years is virtually unheard of, what is it about Fine Print that creates an atmosphere where employees want to stay?  In a nutshell (and sometimes he IS a nut), founder, owner and president of Fine Print, Mark Lukes and his partner in love and business, Linda Helm.  Together, they have nurtured a business culture of independence, cooperation, dedication, fun, honesty, caring, environmental stewardship and compassion.  Mark and Linda lead by example, are always there for their employees, demand excellence and forgive mistakes.  All the ingredients needed to make their staff feel proud and appreciated for the work we do. 

Although they have different roles at Fine Print, Patricia and Mike have some things in common.  Both got married within a month of working at Fine Print.  (Both are still married – to the same people!). Both had children who were born and grew up in that 25 years – Patricia’s son David graduated from college 2 years ago, and Mike’s 3 are all in college now, with one graduating this Spring.  Both are still doing the job they hired on for, although how they do their job has changed dramatically. Both are willing to pitch in and do whatever needs to be done to help the business and our customers.

Yes, 25 years is a long time… In 1991, digital imaging wasn’t even a blip on our computer screens; in fact, we had only just gotten our first computers in 1989. At that time, all of our printing was done in the darkroom,  using negative film and enlargers to create prints on photographic paper.  We had three full-time “spotters” (they used photographic dyes to fill in the tiny white spots on prints that were caused by dust on the negatives).  We didn’t do “single” prints; customers had to buy in quantities of the same image/size:  20-5x7s, 10-8x10s, 5-16x20s… Instead of entering packages into a computer system for tracking, everything was handwritten into logbooks. Nobody had a cell phone. Our newest piece of office equipment was the cutting edge fax machine!

Through all the changes in technology, the changing economy and  the changing “face” of our customer base, one thing has remained constant – Mike and Patricia’s dedication to getting the best prints possible to the best customer in the world – YOU!

 Kate Dardine has been helping photographers and artists market their prints for over 25 years. She is currently Marketing Director at Fine Print Imaging, as well as a professional artist selling original paintings and prints. Need one on one advice?  Call 970-484-9650 or email to learn about our marketing consultation service