Showcase 2021 Winner: Kyle Moon

Photo of a Black-Capped Chickadee Stuck in Burdock, Bozeman, Montana, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Conservation © Kyle Moon
“Black-Capped Chickadee Stuck in Burdock,” Bozeman, Montana, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Conservation © Kyle Moon

Artist’s statement

This photo is special to me thanks to the community involvement in removing burdock, a local invasive species, and the associated storytelling opportunities. I’m a nature photographer, but a conservationist first. As a committee member of the Sacajawea Audubon Society here in Bozeman, Montana, I wanted to shed light on our local conservation efforts. Our “Knock out Burdock” campaign has brought many volunteers from various backgrounds together to make change in our community. My vision in taking this photograph was to raise awareness on this issue in the hope that I would encourage others to get involved and start a larger discussion. 

Continue reading

Milky Way Photography: The Basics

The Milky Way looms over an arch in the Alabama Hills. When you have more zoom, the Milky Way will appear larger in context to the foreground. © Peter Zelinka
The Milky Way looms over an arch in the Alabama Hills. When you have more zoom, the Milky Way will appear larger in context to the foreground. © Peter Zelinka

By Peter Zelinka

The Milky Way “season” is generally considered to run from April through October. By that we mean that the galactic core, or center, of the Milky Way galaxy is visible in the Northern Hemisphere and astrophotographers have the best chances of capturing, well, stellar images. But there’s a lot more to successful Milky Way photography than that. This article excerpts some tips from a NANPA webinar I did a while back. The complete webinar is available in the Members’ Area of the NANPA website.

Continue reading

Spring Flowers

Photo of the Estes Valley outside of Rocky Mountain National Park after a spring snowstorm. ©  Dawn Wilson
A view of Estes Valley outside of Rocky Mountain National Park after a spring snowstorm. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Welcome to the month of spring flowers!

Well, for most people it should be. As I type this blog post, it is snowing again here in Colorado. The snow is a welcome weather occurrence as we desperately need the moisture, but it does do a number on those flowers people plant before the recommended planting date of Mother’s Day in Colorado. Much of Colorado, like the West, is still under severe drought conditions, bringing with it the fear of yet another difficult wildfire season. Fingers crossed that is not the case.

Continue reading

Showcase 2021 Winner: Melissa Fraser

“Palm Trees Morphed into a Nature Mandala," Moloka'i, Hawai'i, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality © Melissa Fraser.
“Palm Trees Morphed into a Nature Mandala,” Moloka’i, Hawai’i, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality © Melissa Fraser.

Artist’s statement

I have recently been learning more about meditation and am fascinated by the many ways one can choose to meditate. One ancient form of meditation is to focus on a mandala image. Mandalas, or circles, are a sacred form of meditation that allows the individual to focus on the image and in clinical trials has been shown to promote healthy living. With this image, I tried to combine an image of nature, which is naturally calming to me, with the idea of mandala art. This image reminds me of a warm tropical sunset with the color, trees, and circular motion. When looking at it, I can almost feel the warm sun, hear the waves and feel the salty air on my face, and it sends me into a relaxed state.

Continue reading

What I Learned on African Safaris

Photo of a Cheetah Cub. A large percentage of cheetah cubs don’t make adulthood. They can be taken by lion and even eagles. Nikon D500, 1/1250 seconds, f/5.6, ISO1000 750mm © Donna Brok
Cheetah Cub. A large percentage of cheetah cubs don’t make adulthood. They can be taken by lion and even eagles. Nikon D500, 1/1250 seconds, f/5.6, ISO1000 750mm © Donna Brok

By Donna Brok

Going on safari in Africa is on many photographers’ bucket list. It is an unforgettable experience, and very different from other photo tours or workshops you might have attended. What should you expect? What do you need to know? Here are a few of the key things I learned on photography trips in South Africa and Botswana.

You will see things that literally astound you. Just sit back for the adventure of a lifetime. Take my word for it, you may want to stay longer or not even want to board the plane for home. You might even feel a kinship, after all, it is the Cradle of Civilization. If you go once, you will be going again and again, as it is a life altering experience. I plan to be back in Africa this October, assuming pandemic travel restrictions are lifted.

Continue reading

Husband and Wife Photographers Receive NANPA Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award

Photo of Joe & Mary Ann McDonald
Joe & Mary Ann McDonald

Joe and Mary Ann McDonald live in central Pennsylvania where the run their photography business. At NANPA’s 2021 Nature Photography Virtual Summit, they will be recognized with NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award in recognition to their contributions to the profession. They will also be keynote speakers. With 50 years of photography experience, Joe was a founding member of NANPA and has served on the board of directors. He’s written seven books and hundreds of articles. Mary Ann brings 30 years of experience and is the author or many children’s books on wildlife as well as being a Visiting Author in several programs. Their images have place 15 times in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. They’ve led more than 100 photo tours to see mountain gorillas and were given the honor of giving a name to a baby gorilla in Rwanda’s “Kwitza Inza” ceremony, the highest honor one can achieve in mountain gorilla conservation. Previously, they have received NANPA Fellows Awards (Joe 2002, Mary Ann in 2010) and NANPA’s Outstanding Service Awards (2002).

Continue reading

Showcase 2021 Winner: Marie Read

Black Skimmer Carrying a Fish, image by Marie Read
Black Skimmer Carrying a Fish, Long Island, New York, 2021 Showcase Judges’ Choice, Birds © Marie Read

Artist’s statement

Through my photography I try to portray the character or spirit of a bird. Often that involves capturing behavior that represents some distinctive aspect of that particular bird’s lifestyle. It’s extra rewarding if I can achieve that vision in a unique or artistic way as with this black skimmer in flight. We see the astonishing blade-like bill with which it skims the water’s surface to capture fish, a bill so thin in cross-section that, seen from the front, almost disappears from view. The unusual head-on view, the symmetry and verticality of the wings, the shallow depth of field drawing attention to the bird’s eyes—factors that all came together to produce a compelling image. Framing a bird flying toward you at close range can be extremely difficult, but I love a challenge and in this case the reward totally outweighed the effort.

Continue reading

Photo Editor Becomes NANPA Fellow

Photo of Susan McElhinney
Susan McElhinney

Susan McElhinney is the photography editor for Ranger Rick magazine, published by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and for NWF children’s publications and projects. And, during NANPA’s 2021 Nature Photography Virtual Summit, April 29 – 30, she’ll receive a NANPA Fellows Award. The award recognizes McElhinney’s career in publishing, in supporting professional nature photographers, and in using images to promote children’s connection to nature and educate them about conservation issues.

Continue reading

Montana Photographer Received NANPA Fellow Award

Montana-based nature and conservation photographer Daniel Cox will receive a NANPA Fellow Award during the 2021 Nature Photography Virtual Summit, April 29-30. Through a long career, he and his images have reached a wide audience through publications (including two National Geographic covers), exhibits, workshops, and presentations. He’s published more than 20 books is a member of the Explorers Club, and serves as an advisory board member of Polar Bears International and as director of their Arctic Documentary Project. He’s received awards in competitions such as BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature’s Best and NANPA’s 2013 Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year Award. He and his wife, Tanya, lead photo tours at Natural Exposures.

Continue reading

Arizona Photographer Receives NANPA Fellow Award

Tucson-based nature and conservation photographer Jack Dykinga will receive a NANPA Fellow Award during the 2021 Nature Photography Virtual Summit, April 29-30. Dykinga began his career as a photojournalist in Chicago, working for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, where he won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. After moving to Arizona and working at the Arizona Daily Star, he began working on a book about the Sonoran Desert, which launched his career in a new direction. Dykinga is a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and his work regularly appears in National Geographic and Arizona Highways magazines. He’s taught at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College and has received NANPA’s 2011 Outstanding Photographer of the Year and 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dykinga’s latest book, A Photographer’s Life: A Journey from Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photojournalist to Celebrated Nature Photographer (Rocky Nook), was published in 2017.

Continue reading