NATURE’S VIEW: Within striking distance

Story and photography by Jim Clark

For nature photographers, how exhilarating it is to capture that defining moment as a great blue heron strikes the water? Even better is photographing a full sequence of a great egret stalking its prey and then plunging its bill and neck into the water to seize the prize.

Wading birds come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, and each species use specific hunting strategies to gather a bite to eat; ornithologists have even described 35 types of feeding behaviors wading birds use (see a list in a sidebar to this article).

Understanding how each species of wading bird feeds helps the nature photographer to photograph those amazing moments. Combine this knowledge with time in the field, and the photographer will become more and more successful at recording that special “striking” moment.

A great blue heron is about to swallow its prey after tossing and catching it midair. This image was photographed on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia. ©  Jim Clark

Here are some feeding strategies of a few wading birds I photograph at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia: Continue reading

MEMBER PROFILE: Gary Hart

© Don Smith

Gary Hart is a professional nature photographer, writer and educator who has been exploring, photographing and sharing nature’s beauty for nearly 40 years. Gary is a Sony Artisan of Imagery and a frequent contributor to Outdoor Photographer magazine. His book of images, The Undiscovered Country, was featured exclusively at Barnes & Noble stores across the United States. Gary’s blog is followed by thousands of readers, and his always sold-out photo workshops often fill a year in advance. Visit Gary’s website at www.EloquentImages.com; his blog at www.EloquentNature.com; his prints at www.GaryHartPrints.com. Gary’s Yosemite workshops can be found at www.PhotographYosemite.com Continue reading

NATIONAL PARKS: Grand Teton National Park

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Grand Tetons © Jerry Ginsberg

Jackson Hole, with its sharply serrated Teton Range, is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and striking scenes in all of North America. It is a great choice for a photo trip in at least three seasons.

Just south of iconic Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park is too often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor. Rather than making an outing in the Tetons merely an extension of a trip to Yellowstone, we photographers should think of both as being equally worthy of our time. Continue reading

From the President

Clay Bolt

Clay Bolt

Transitions are beautiful:

Darkness turns to dawn. Birdsong breaks the silence of early morning. Wind-folded leaves shimmy before the arrival of a summer thunderstorm. Earthy smells rise up after the deluge has passed. The first spring wildflower breaks through a warming forest floor. Leaves blush into fall. A child is born. A baby’s stumbling first steps. The euphoria of a first crush and the pains of a first heartbreak. All of these moments contain seeds of beauty worth cultivating into art.

Even the passing of a loved one from this life can summon beauty to walk alongside the pain. Photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson famously understood the beauty that exists in moments of transition: the decisive moments that briefly materialize in the space between two passing planes of existence.

If you take a moment to mentally flip through the photos that really move you, I suspect that many of them are of transitional moments. In this regard, photography has an advantage over other forms of media. Film, for example, may be able to document processes in ways that are impossible for the naked eye, but photography can take that single “throw away” moment and make a monument of it.

A photographer who has the patience and discipline to observe, anticipate and capture these moments stands a high probability of creating images that will spellbind audiences and teach us something special about the world around us. The glue that binds two concurrent events together is as important as the events themselves.

Perhaps this is our art form’s greatest gift to the world.

Best Wishes,

Clay Bolt

NATIONAL PARKS: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Towering Wrangell Mountains in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

The Wrangell and St. Elias mountain ranges contain some of the largest volcanoes in North America. © Jerry Ginsberg

Ever wonder which of our 59 national parks is really the biggest? No, it’s not mighty Yellowstone or even sprawling Death Valley. Measuring a vast 13,200,000 acres, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, tucked into the southeast corner of Alaska, is far and away the biggest national park around, equal to six Yellowstones! It is larger than Massachusetts and New Hampshire combined, and includes two entire mountain ranges – the Wrangells and the St. Elias. Together with contiguous Kluane National Park across the border in Canada, the combined cross-border tract totals more than a whopping 25,000,000 acres and is the biggest wilderness area in the world.

While size does indeed matter, there is more to this sprawling wilderness than volume. Stunning peaks such as Sanford, Drum, Blackburn, Wrangell, St. Elias and others fill this rugged park. Continue reading

FIELD TECHNIQUE: Season of the rose

Story and photography by F.M. Kearney

Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden New York Botanical Garden Bronx, NY (HDR 5-image compilation)

Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. © F.M. Kearney

I wondered if I had made a mistake.

The weather forecast called for a light shower in the morning, followed by mostly cloudy skies — perfect conditions for flower photography. The showers were light at first, but they gradually increased in intensity to the point where I was forced to seek shelter. It was beginning to look like my plans for the day were going to be a total washout, literally. After about an hour, however, the showers began to subside, and I was back in business.

I was at the New York Botanical Garden to shoot roses. At this time of year, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is at its peak with 4,000 rose plants in bloom in more than 600 varieties. I like to get there early to avoid the crowds and to survey the overall scene. On this particular day, I had plenty of time to do that because of the rain delay. It was still early when conditions improved, so I took advantage of the fact that I had the whole place to myself. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: My favorite megafauna of all time

Story and photography by Jim Clark

Okay, here’s one for you:  What did the mama buffalo say to her little boy in the morning when he left to go to school? “Bison!”

I know, corny as all heck, but it’s the only joke I can remember. Besides, bison are my most favorite charismatic megafauna of all time. I can spend hours in Yellowstone’s Hayden or Lamar Valley just watching a herd of bison grazing, rutting, playing, swimming, running, wallowing or whatever; it doesn’t matter.

Bison graze near Slough Creek, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. © Jim Clark

Bison graze near Slough Creek, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. © Jim Clark

Continue reading

MEMBER PROFILE: Nate Chappell

© Angie Chappell

© Angie Chappell

During a 1999 trip to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, Nate Chappell became serious about nature photography, and in 2007 he and his wife Angie decided to start a wildlife photography tour and workshop company, Trogon Photo Tours, http://www.trogontours.net/. The first tour they led was to Angie’s homeland of Ecuador. Since then, Nate has led many more bird and nature photography tours to South America as well as tours to South Africa, Namibia and Thailand and dozens of photo workshops in the United States. He has been on the staff of Nature Photographers online magazine since 2007. During the course of his travels, which have included trips to all continents except Antarctica, Nate has photographed more than 1,700 species of birds. Nate’s images have regularly placed in the NANPA Showcase, Audubon’s top 100, Share the View Denver Audubon Society contest and other nature photography competitions. His images have been published in books and regularly in online publications. His stock agencies include Minden Pictures, Birdimagency and Vireo. Nate has given many photography presentations at photo clubs and Audubon Society chapters and enjoys speaking to groups of photography and nature lovers. Continue reading

FROM THE PRESIDENT

One of the greatest values that NANPA provides to its membership is advocacy work that supports and protects photographers’ rights. Many members are unaware that NANPA has a dedicated and hard-working team of volunteers speaking up for our rights.

Photographs are our lifeblood, but they are too often freely downloaded and used by people who either don’t know or don’t care that this is wrong. NANPA is part of a coalition of visual arts associations that has been lobbying the Copyright Office to modernize the copyright process for photographers. We are looking for easier ways to register copyright for our images. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to register your copyright with one click from Lightroom and other photo programs? That is what the NANPA advocacy committee is fighting for.

NANPA is also helping to lobby Congress to outlaw the stripping of image metadata by social media and internet services. We are working to establish a small claims copyright tribunal to provide our members with simple, less expensive ways to pursue small copyright claims that are often financially impractical to pursue under the current system. These are potentially huge changes. After a great deal of effort, legislation is finally moving forward. The advocacy committee is also beginning to work on initiatives to help ensure our access to public lands.

A NANPA membership is so much more than admission to a club. We are an organization that has our best interests as photographers at heart. Your support allows NANPA to support you.

Kind Regards,

Clay Bolt

NATIONAL PARKS: Yellowstone

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Aerial view of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring in Yellowstone National Park, WY.

Grand Prismatic Spring © Jerry Ginsberg

Yellowstone is not only America’s first national park, but the very first such preserve in all the world. Brought into existence with the 1872 signature of President Ulysses S. Grant, Yellowstone set the example for the worldwide park and preservation movement. It is the quintessential essence of our park system. Even after almost a century and a half, Yellowstone remains one of the crown jewels of the world.

We discussed a winter trip to Yellowstone in the October 2015 issue of eNews. In this issue, we’ll explore this vast park in warmer weather. Continue reading