NANPA Roadshow: What Makes Indelible Images? (Hawaii)

Pahoehoe Kahena

Pahoehoe Kahena by Scott Mead

As a professional nature photographer, one of the things I truly enjoy is fielding questions at my weekly shows and photo workshops. Of all the questions I receive (including email and social media), the two most frequent are:

“How do you create iconic images?” and “How do you choose the right paper to print your images on?”

While these two subjects may seem to lie at opposite ends of the process spectrum, they are actually intertwined: How the image is created has a direct effect on how it’s best presented, and how you present it can make or break the image.

In judging photography competitions, I’ve often seen good images with fatal flaws that kept them from being great – their creators may not have understood the critical nuances of light or may have been heavy-handed in their processing or printing on (gasp) copier paper. In nearly all cases, a subtle tweak or a different perspective would have taken the image from ordinary to extraordinary.

With that in mind, I’ll be hosting a North American Nature Photography (NANPA) Road Show on Saturday, October 11, 2014, at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in the heart of Maui. The class is sponsored by Hahnemühle FineArt and Canon Image PROGRAF. I’ll be teaching the tools and techniques of crafting indelible images, editing for emphasis, choosing the right Hahnemühle papers to present them with the most impact, and finishing options that add drama, value and maximize your profit. At the end of this full-day event, you’ll leave with the knowledge to help you create your own iconic images.

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The Apathetic Photographer by Daniel Stainer

Tao of the Turtle

Tao of the Turtle

Photos and Text by Daniel Stainer

At some point in our photographic lives, we all experience apathy. This demotivating condition can best be described as a state of indifference; the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation or passion. Like any other psychological ailment, photographic apathy manifests itself in varying degrees of severity.

Taking some creative license in my definition, I view the opposite (or antonym) of photographic apathy to be inspiration – to be inspired in both action and thought.

When we’re inspired in action, we proactively seek out interesting subjects to photograph or personal projects to tackle; we get off that proverbial creative couch, never letting excuses like bad weather or lack of time get in the way of our passion or goals. When we’re inspired in action, we are driven to photograph – and are excited to do so, no matter what form this activity might take.

When we’re inspired in thought, creativity comes as a revelation and we are transported to a place where our ideas resonate freely with one another in our mind. To be inspired in thought is to see subjects in unique ways; to find that still point in ourselves where we’re photographing in the moment, allowing the essence of our subject to reveal itself to us in all its glory.

When I talk about apathy, I’m not necessarily talking about the lack of photographic activity that may occur during dreary winter months, for example. I think we can all agree that there’s a difference between seasonal inactivity and negative thinking. Everyone has an apathetic (or lazy) moment from time to time, but this doesn’t mean that we’ve reached the stage where this negative thought has become debilitating to our artistic growth.

Apathy is not a one-size-fits-all disorder, and will manifest itself in different ways depending on where we are in our photographic evolution. For the seasoned pro, apathy may be the result of photography becoming too much like work, and therefore, our once unwavering love of the craft has started to wane.  Continue reading

The Everglades: Rock Pinelands by Paul Marcellini

Rocky Pinelands by Paul Marcellini

Rocky Pinelands by Paul Marcellini

Story and Photographs by Paul Marcellini

When most people imagine the Everglades, they probably picture large swaths of grass or some deep dark swamp loaded with alligators. In reality, it is a very complex ecosystem with a diverse landscape that includes pinelands, hardwood hammocks, cypress swamps, fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove forests, and beach dunes.

One of my favorite habitats is the rocky pinelands of the southern Everglades. Considered a globally imperiled habitat, the rocky pinelands are the most floristically diverse habitat in Florida. Historically covering more than 186,000 acres, there is now somewhere around 22,000 acres left, in part because it was the “high ground” and fell victim to urbanization and agriculture. Fortunately, most is now protected and Long Pine Key is a perfect place to explore this unique habitat. Occurring on the fringe of tropical and temperate zones, the range of plants found together is unique to South Florida.
A macro photographer will find an abundance of opportunities to photograph floral textures as well as many smaller critters like toads, tree snails, and insects. The bark of the pines can also make for interesting images on its own. As primarily a landscape photographer, I enjoy wandering around and trying to organize the chaos of a forest. One feature that makes the pinelands of Long Pine Key more photographable is a series of marl prairies that run north to south and are mostly short muhly grass. With an edge and a tapering out of pines, you can include the pines but shoot east or west from within the prairies for a simpler scene. I like the zone where the pines are thinning but you still have a diverse mix of understory to use as foregrounds. Palmettos make excellent subjects, with the eye-catching lines and vibrant greens of their fronds.

Long Pine Key starts approximately 4 miles in from the main Everglades entrance outside of Florida City. There are more than 20 miles of fire break roads that act as trails but the Long Pine Key Nature Trail is a great place to start. It ends after almost 7 miles at Pine Glades Lake, an excellent place for sunset. A quick mile in and back should give you a decent idea of the habitat, including the transition from pineland to prairie. Before you go, you should try and become familiar with poisonwood, a tropical tree that contains the same toxic oil as poison ivy, but creates a much stronger reaction. It is quite prevalent as a smaller tree, and it is one Everglades occupant you do not want to get up close and personal with.

The Everglades is my backyard and will always be home, even if I travel far afield. Hopefully after a visit, you will also appreciate the subtle beauty of the rocky pinelands.

Paul has a new e-book called The Ultimate Guide to Everglades Photography. Check it out by clicking here.

 

The Everglades by Paul Marcellini

The Everglades by Paul Marcellini

The Flint Hills by Scott Bean

A Great View of the Flint Hills by Scott Bean

A Great View of the Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Text and Images by Scott Bean

Talk about landscapes in Kansas and a lot of people are going to think of the stereotypical image of Kansas – one big flat wheat field. Kansas certainly does have some flat regions, especially in the western half of the state. Kansas also has a lot of wheat fields – which are beautiful in their own right. However, Kansas has a number of unique landscapes that may surprise a lot of people. The Flint Hills are one of the unique physiographic regions of Kansas. They are an especially interesting area as they contain some of the last large contiguous areas of tallgrass prairie. The interesting topography of the Flint Hills and the flora of the tall grass prairie combine to make for wonderful photographic opportunities.

Wide open views and gently sloping hills are characteristic of the Flint Hills. I like to use a wide angle lens to try and capture the sense of space and the unique shapes that can be found out in the prairies, but short to medium telephoto lenses are also useful to bring in details of the hills and focus attention on the lines and textures of the region. Magic hour light can really bring out the contours and shapes of the hills, and sunrises and sunsets are often full of amazing colors.

Like any location, the Flint Hills change throughout the seasons and provide a range of different ‘looks’ to photograph. Early spring can be a very dramatic time to photograph the Flint Hills as large portions are burned off to control invasive species and to promote the health of the prairie. The tall grass prairie has a long history with fire and regular burning has been an important part of its evolution – without regular burning the prairies in the Flint Hills would be overgrown with woody vegetation and cease to exist. Areas that have been burned respond quickly, and within a few days bright, vibrant green grasses will be covering the hillsides. This is one of my favorite times of year to be out with my camera. The green of the new grass is amazing and the hills are lush and spectacular. Also in spring, wildflowers will start blooming and will continue to bloom until early fall. A large number of different species of wildflowers can be found in the Flint Hills. One of my favorite wildflowers to photograph is the butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). I love how the red to orange color (and sometimes yellow) contrasts with the green of the prairie.

Out in the The Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Out in the The Flint Hills by Scott Bean

By late summer the heat (and sometimes drought) will have taken its toll on the grasses, but soon the cool temps of fall arrive and the grasses turn a beautiful reddish-brown. The fall colors of the grasses out on the prairie can be wonderful and the grasses can almost look glossy under the right light. This is another one of my favorite times to be out with my camera. Snow can be hit and miss in the winter and doesn’t typically last long, but after a snow the shapes of the hills can really be set off nicely.

The Flint Hills are located in a portion of the eastern third of Kansas and stretch across the state north to south, from just across the border into Nebraska down to almost the Oklahoma border. This is a big area so it is hard to recommend the ‘best’ spot to visit the Flint Hills. Like many agricultural states, most of Kansas is private land but there are places you can hike in the Flint Hills. One great place to visit is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve located near Strong City, Kansas in the center of the Flint Hills. The preserve has over 40 miles of trails and is open to hiking year round. The preserve also has a growing bison heard. Another popular place to hike the Flint Hills is at the public hiking trails on the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area located near Manhattan, Kansas. Both of these locations offer beautiful views of the Flint Hills and the chance to experience the prairie up close – many photographic opportunities are available at both locations. Other trails can be found around area lakes and parks.

You can also explore most of the Flint Hills from roads through the area including the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway as well as the Kansas Native Stone Scenic Byway. The Mill Creek/Skyline Drive Scenic Drive near Alma, Kansas takes you through some fantastic views of the Flint Hills. Country roads also offer a great way to explore the Flint Hills. There are too many beautiful drives along gravel roads to mention here, but the area around Matfield Green and Cassoday is especially beautiful. The location known as Teter Rock is also in this area and a visit there will reward you with outstanding views of the surrounding hills to photograph. You may even get a glimpse of some Bureau of Land Management wild mustangs that have been transported to roam the prairies of the central Flint Hills.

The landscapes found in the Flint Hills are often referred to as subtle. They may not immediately grab your attention like the Grand Canyon or the Grand Tetons, but if you take the time to look you might be surprised at the beauty to be found in the Flint Hills.

To see more of Scott’s work, please visit his website or “Like” his page on Facebook.

The Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Out in the Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Out in the Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Text and Images by Scott Bean

Talk about landscapes in Kansas and a lot of people are going to think of the stereotypical image of Kansas – one big flat wheat field. Kansas certainly does have some flat regions, especially in the western half of the state. Kansas also has a lot of wheat fields – which are beautiful in their own right. However, Kansas has a number of unique landscapes that may surprise a lot of people. The Flint Hills are one of the unique physiographic regions of Kansas. They are an especially interesting area as they contain some of the last large contiguous areas of tallgrass prairie. The interesting topography of the Flint Hills and the flora of the tall grass prairie combine to make for wonderful photographic opportunities.

Wide open views and gently sloping hills are characteristic of the Flint Hills. I like to use a wide angle lens to try and capture the sense of space and the unique shapes that can be found out in the prairies, but short to medium telephoto lenses are also useful to bring in details of the hills and focus attention on the lines and textures of the region. Magic hour light can really bring out the contours and shapes of the hills, and sunrises and sunsets are often full of amazing colors.  Continue reading

Telluride Photo Festival Discounts for NANPA Members

TPF_NANPA_newsletter

Telluride Photo Festival Discounts for NANPA members

Nestled in the heart of the of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado is a charming Victorian mining town surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. The main festival held October 2-5, 2014 is composed of seminars, speakers in the evening, panel discussions, networking events and portfolio reviews. This year’s festival features several workshops of interest of NANPA members: Mark Muench – Composed By Light, Ian Shive – National Parks Magazine Workshop, Jason Huston – Conservation Photography: Make Your Photos Matter. Bill Ellzey – Telluride’s Autumn Aspen Landscape. Visit the NANPA website at http://www.nanpa.org/member-discounts.php and login to the member area for a link to special NANPA discount passes and lodging. Morgan Heim (NANPA Board Member) and Gabby Salazar (NANPA President) will be attending the festival and will have a booth to represent NANPA.

Help Make NANPA a Better Organization

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Please fill out the NANPA Annual Survey!

Each year we survey all NANPA members and stakeholders in order to get their feedback and understand how they feel about key issues. The survey results are used by the Board, Staff and Committees to evaluate our progress and set direction for NANPA.

Your feedback is important to us and we’d like your participation in the NANPA Annual Survey Please use the following link to start the survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NANPA2014
It’s important to have input from the greater nature photography community, so we do want feedback from both members and non-members. All feedback is confidential and only presented in summary form without specific attribution.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Executive Director, Susan Day (susanday@nanpa.org) or Membership Coordinator, Teresa Ransdell (transdell@nanpa.org).

The survey will take 10-15 minutes of your time. In advance, thank you for your participation.

Photography from Your Car by JP Bruce

Sandhill crane photographed from my car!

Sandhill crane photographed from my car!

Text and Images by JP Bruce

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden

Having trouble with mobility? Can’t cover the distances you used to? Rough terrain look too imposing to try? Whether this is permanent or temporary I wrote a book to show that you don’t have to give up your photography due to this limitation. I had polio as a two year old and have needed a brace and crutches for mobility since then, so I have learned how to adapt. I want people with and without mobility limitations to see that quality photographs can be made while staying in or near a vehicle.

There are many advantages of photographing from your car. The car can transport you to many places in a short time. Many animals are used to vehicles passing on the road and will ignore them so your car makes a good blind. Your vehicle is a solid base so with the addition of a support such as a beanbag or window mount you eliminate camera movement (remember to turn off the motor!). As a bass fisherman I used my boat as a large tackle box. Now, as a photographer I use my car as a huge camera bag. I have all my equipment available without worrying about weight, so I’m ready for any photographic opportunity. Continue reading

Web of Water: Four NANPA Members Collaborate for Conservation

Web of Water

Web of Water

 

Check out The Web of Water Project – A Collaboration between NANPA Members jon holloway, Ben Geer Keys, Clay Bolt, and Tom Blagden 

The Web of Water project is a unique partnership with Upstate Forever, Fujifilm, Hub City Press renowned writer John Lane, photographers jon holloway, Ben Geer Keys, Clay Bolt, and Tom Blagden and corporate sponsors. The goal of highlighting through fine art photography the beauty, fragility, and critical importance of the Saluda-Reedy watershed and Lake Greenwood was a five year undertaking.

The Web of Water project tells the story of the watershed and those that depend on it for food, water, business, or recreation. A unique combination of beautiful and alarming images raise awareness about the watershed’s importance to the surrounding landscape and communities, current threats to the watershed’s health, and steps that citizens can take to preserve this precious natural resource in their midst.

This project will provide Upstate Forever with new opportunities to educate the community. Photography is one of the most powerful communication tools in assigning a higher sense of value to our environment. Often in the field of research, the visual connection between science and community is the untold story. This project will help bridge the gap and become a catalyst for community responsibility, awareness of cause and effect, and provide the public with unique opportunity to directly make a difference in the future of South Carolina.

www.webofwaterbook.com

 

Here are a few images from the Web of Water Project:

 

Eastern newt, Jones Gap State park, Image by Tom Blagden

Eastern newt, Jones Gap State park, Image by Tom Blagden

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