John Fielder, renowned Colorado nature photographer, dies after lengthy cancer fight

John Fielder, renowned Colorado nature photographer, dies after lengthy cancer fight


By Steven Josephson, The Summit Daily

John Fielder, a prolific and prominent nature photographer who has lived in Summit County since 2006, died Friday, Aug. 11, after a prolonged struggle with pancreatic cancer, according to an email from his daughter, Katy Fielder. He was 73 years old.

During a career that spanned 50 years, Fielder worked to protect Colorado’s ranches, open space and wildlife. Over 50 books have been published depicting his Colorado photography. In January 2023, he donated his Colorado photography to History Colorado. The museum is the home of a collection of more than 7,000 photos distilled from 200,000 he made since 1973, and which are now available to the public for personal and commercial use.

“I have never felt that I ‘owned’ my photographs, only that I was borrowing these places to visit and record, and that I would give them back someday,” Fielder wrote in a column for the Summit Daily News talking about his donation.

Banded Peak Ranch in Colorado’s southern San Juan Mountains has been protected with a conservation easement preventing any development. (Provided by John Fielder / The Conservation Fund)

His photography influenced people and legislation and earned him recognition including the 1993 Sierra Club Ansel Adams Award, in 2011 the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s first Achievement Award ever given to an individual, and in 2017 Colorado Mountain College presented him an Honorary Degree in Sustainability Studies.

He leaves behind two daughters Ashley and Katy, and six grandchildren. John lost his wife Gigi to Alzheimer’s disease in 2005 and their son J.T. to suicide in 2006.

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