Waking up on a cold, dark December morning I slowly find my way out of bed and procure a cup of coffee from the pot my husband’s just finished making. There’s a fire burning in our wood stove; the only heat source we have for our little home. All is quiet aside from the gentle popping and crackling of wood aflame.
Well, 2021 is finally in the books. I am not sure about everyone else, but I am very happy to see it in the rearview mirror. It was a tough year for many, including myself, and in my home state of Colorado it ended with another horrible wildfire. Events like that put life in perspective to remember to spend time with those you love, don’t worry about things and stuff, and treat every moment like it is the most special of your life.
Like most of us of a certain age, I shot thousands of rolls of film over many, many years. As a result, I have five large, steel, filing cabinets in a cold room that are just chock full of carefully filed archival slide pages. Those who feel a pang of nostalgia for all of those 2 x 2” cardboard slide mounts, please raise your hand.
Next to the sun, water is probably the most photographed subject in nature. It can convey power and strength as a magnificent crashing wave or serenity and calmness as a gentle babbling brook. With a fast shutter speed, you can freeze it in time to see every detail or use a slow shutter speed to render it as an ethereal mist. Of course, let’s not forget its beautiful reflective properties. No wonder that water is a fascinating subject to photograph! In fact, it’s so fascinating that even a solitary droplet can elicit feelings of awe and wonder. And that takes us to water droplet photography, a specialized type of photography that takes a lot of trial and error to successfully accomplish. The stunning results make it well worth the effort.
We’re getting used to seeing companies, government agencies, and even museums ask for unnecessarily broad copyright terms in their photo contests. Some go as far as having photographers surrender all copyright to the images they enter. Others want unrestricted rights to use photos in any way they see fit, including sublicensing to third parties. And, thankfully, some respect the rights of photographers and other creative artists. The latest example was brought to our attention by NANPA member Mark Larson and, while better than some, still has a few areas of concern.
Urban Nature is a new feature of NANPA’s blog, a series of articles created to address the issues of nature photographers living in urban areas, with little or no access to conventional, natural environments. It will focus on topics ranging from finding subjects to finding inspiration. Also, in an effort to attract more beginners into the field, it will attempt to demystify the art of photography in general.
City living may have its benefits when it comes to a lot of things, but it might not be so advantageous if you’re a nature photographer seeking subjects to shoot. This is a problem all year around, but it’s especially difficult in the winter. Other seasons allow amble time to plan quick getaways to photograph spring flowers or fall foliage. But, if you’re trying to capture pristine, snow-covered landscapes without a hint of man-made objects, it’s not so easy if you live in an urban area. You can visit a local park, but pristine conditions won’t remain that way for very long. In no time at all, the place will be inundated with hordes of hyperactive schoolkids celebrating their snow day – forever erasing that delicate Winter Wonderland. Also, even in a large park, it’s still very difficult to avoid traces of civilization almost anywhere you point your camera. Of course, you can try to venture outside of your city limits, but what if you don’t have a car? Many people (myself included) who live in large cities do not own cars. They’re more of a hinderance than anything else. Public transportation is usually the best option. But public transportation may not get you exactly where you want to be at the time you want to be there. So, having said all of that… if you live in the city and you want to get photos of unspoiled, snow-covered landscapes, your best option might be to stay in the city.
In the closing days of 2020, the world lost a number of giants, among which were Archbishop Desmond Tutu, naturalist and author Edward O. Wilson, and ecologist and conservation biologist Thomas E. Lovejoy III. Wilson and Lovejoy massively influenced our understanding of the world around us and their work was profoundly important to conservation and biodiversity. Dr. Lovejoy was also an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of the NANPA Foundation, alongside Jane Goodall and Dewitt Jones. He was recruited by Jane Kinne in the early 2000s, recalls Foundation President John Nuhn.
What’s happening in iNaturalist and what’s in it for you?
by David Cook, NANPA Conservation Committee Volunteer
In 2021 NANPA created regional collection projects in iNaturalist where members can load their observations of the natural world. The projects are valuable resources for nature photographers; you can research the types of species found in a specific geographic area at a specific time of year, for example, to help you prepare for a photo trip.
NANPA’s Umbrella Project summarizes all of the regional collection projects, so we dove into the data to share an end-of-year snapshot with you. In 2021 the NANPA iNaturalist projects recorded 19,016 observations of 5,354 different species from 82 observers in 38 different states across the U.S.!
Back in 2019 a friend sent me a link to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. “You have some pretty funny stuff,” she said, “You should really enter this contest.” At that point I had only started submitting images in a few competitions with no success, and was still trying to get over my intrinsic fear of the whole process. What I liked about the Comedy Wildlife Photography competition is that it seemed a little less daunting and scary, and it was also a little more obvious what they wanted – an image that makes you laugh, right?
When photographer Jeff Wirth set up a camera trap near his home in Washington state, he was hoping to capture images of wildlife. When he checked his memory card, he got a big surprise. Among the photos of bobcat and other critters, was one of a somewhat larger critter, posing as if in a fashion shoot, as reported by My Modern Met and multiple other outlets.