John Fielder, one of the nation’s most prominent nature photographers known for scenic images of Colorado, will be the guest speaker at commencement ceremonies for the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University at 9 a.m. Dec. 18 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.
Fielder, who also is a publisher, teacher and preservationist, hikes, skis and drives thousands of miles in Colorado each year to record on film its natural places. He has spent 30 years traveling across his adopted state, photographing and working to preserve the beauty of its rolling plains from the soaring Rocky Mountains to the Western Slope’s remote plateaus and river canyons.
Fielder is the photographer of more than 30 exhibit-format and guidebooks, all but four about Colorado. He is well known for one of Colorado’s best-selling books, "Colorado: 1870-2000," which juxtaposes historic photographer William Henry Jackson’s images of the 19th-century landscape with Fielder’s recent images.
Fielder first visited Colorado at the age of 14 during a school field trip from North Carolina, and he was struck by the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains
"In all my life, I have not forgotten my first sight of the Rockies rising up before me over the plains. I was simply smitten by this wall of snow-capped peaks above a treeless plain," he says. "And the word ‘Colorado’ was the most poetic name for a place I had ever heard. I realized that moment that someone or something had guided me to this place, and that I belonged here for the rest of my life."
Fielder has worked to promote the protection of Colorado’s open space and wild places. In 1992, Fielder helped found the Board of Great Outdoors Colorado, which uses lottery profits to protect open space and wildlife habitat. Through his photography, he has influenced people and legislation, earning recognition including the University of Denver’s Ritchie Award for Corporate Responsibility, the University of Colorado’s Distinguished Service Award and the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award.
He speaks to thousands of people each year to rally support for land-use and environmental issues. Fielder lives with his family near Denver.