Visual Ballads Program

Conservation Made Simple is absorbing the Visual Ballads organization and their main researcher, Bryant Carlin, to create the Visual Ballads program. The first project within this program will be a two year journey through the Olympic National Park documenting the scenery, flora, and fauna found within its boundaries. Using his 20+ years of experience trekking through the Olympic wilderness, Bryant will document seasonal changes in nature through the eyes of his own rich memory and compare it to the past expeditions. While analyzing the current health of the ecosystem, he will be documenting the journey through photography and video work, written word, and audio recordings.

"There are many urgent stories that need to be told. With the changes in the fire season's location and duration through the years, what changes are occurring in the Olympic National Forest? How much is the Douglas fir effected with the need for fire heat to germinate? What does this mean for the health of the ecosystem? It is important to know questions then let observation of the wilderness speak for itself. Will the potential loss of the alpine berry crop gravely affect the bears and any number of small mammals and birds?  Have marmots been frozen in their winter burrows because of the lack of insulating snowpack for their colonies?  Will the elk be forced from the alpine early this year due to parched meadows and lack of water?  How will decreased water flow to the ponds, streams and two rivers affect a presently abundant amphibious population?  How will the fisheries be adversely affected?  These are just some the questions to be considered over the course of the expedition." ~Bryant

Updates from the Field

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See results and updates of the expedition on social media!

Instagram: @visualballads

Facebook: Visual Ballads

In Other News


Lost and Found

August 19, 2015

Former Real Change editor spent nine days hiking with vendor Bryant Carlin. Together, they unearthed a purpose.

Full Article

How a Homeless Man Helped this Writer Overcome His Fear of the Woods

January 20, 2018

NPR interview about Bryant Carlin and his adventures in the Olympic National Forest.

Listen Here

Real Change Vendor Bryant Carlin Captures a Rapidly Changing Landscape

November 28, 2018

Real Change highlights Bryant's upcoming two year project.

Full Article


Why are you doing this?

I want to create a document of the current state of the Olympic National Forest to the best of my ability using my techniques of wilderness immersion photography and experiences. I want to create something usable by future generations.

When are you leaving?

I started a two month trial run on March 8th to more accurately calculate the results of the project and then the full two years will begin immediately after we receive all the funding needed.

What gear do you use?

I used to use a Canon EOS 1N with a 35-350 mm lens (all photographs above are from this camera) but in my upcoming project I will be using a Canon EOS 6D Mark ii with 24-105 mm and 

100-400 mm lenses.

Where will you be?

I will be camping in roughly 45-52 base camps within the Olympic National Park although my satellite camps can be a couple day hike from base camp. 

Who are your inspirations?

My biggest inspiration is Jim Brandenburg's book Chased by the Light, followed by Ansel Adams and Art Wolfe. Although I am a photographer first, I take great inspiration from works by John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman.

What do you take with you?

I only take my tent, sleeping bag, clothes, a cook stove, food, camera gear, a good book, and of course a listening ear to the sounds of nature.