The Making of a Children’s Story

Story and photography by Grace Scalzo

Nanpa plovers with pics.pagesLong Island, New York, beaches are important breeding grounds for piping plovers, a species listed as federally threatened. The Atlantic Coast population consists of only about 800 breeding pairs and 200 of them nest in New York.

I have been photographing the plovers on a Long Island Sound Beach near my home for seven years. I have captured their entire breeding cycle from arrival in mid-March to mating, scrape building, brooding, hatching, early flight practice, feeding and departure in the late summer and early fall.

One evening on the beach, a mother and her child approached me to get a better look at what I was photographing. I pointed out the plovers and their scrape (nest). They were taken aback and responded that they thought that birds nested in trees. It had never occurred to me that some people don’t realize why there are signs to stay outside the roped-off areas or keep their dogs off the beach. They just do not know they could be putting a species in harm’s way. Continue reading

VOLUNTEER: John Lock

nanpa_bio_photoAfter a successful 28-year career in various technology positions with the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, John Lock launched Relevant Arts Enterprises (RAE) in 1997. He played a critical role in Coca-Cola’s technology planning and direction. Upon starting up RAE, John used his broad experience to bring cost-effective solutions to small businesses and non-profit organizations. John is NANPA’s webmaster. Now entering its twentieth year of operation, RAE (http://relevantarts.com) provides a broad range of services to a diverse client base. John is also a co-founder of the HTML Writers Guild, at one time the largest professional organization of web developers in the world with more than 117,000 members in 150 countries.

Besides technology John enjoys canoeing, hiking, sailing, nature photography, well-made craft beer, visiting Cedar Key, Florida, and he has been known to plunder unsuspecting neighborhoods dressed as a pirate. Continue reading

NATIONAL PARKS: White Sands National Monument

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Glowing gypsum dunes in White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.

White Sands © Jerry Ginsberg

Although the big state of New Mexico has just one lone national park within its borders (Carlsbad Caverns — see NANPA eNews December, 2016), there is a national monument that offers another opportunity for some terrific landscape images.

At just a few miles from the comfortable town of Alamogordo, New Mexico, the White Sands National Monument is an easy drive of only about three hours from Carlsbad Caverns National Park. If flying in, you might check for flights to both Albuquerque and El Paso, Texas.

White Sands is located in the Tularosa Basin, in the middle of the famous White Sands Missile Range. Because of its location, the dune field is closed to the public on days when a test launch is scheduled. Check in advance to avoid disappointment. Even then, launch schedules can change, and they take priority over tourism (and even us photographers).

Few National Park Service units have names that are so very descriptive as White Sands National Monument. The sand making up these terrific dunes is actually a granulated form of the mineral gypsum, and it glistens sparkling white, especially in the bright New Mexico sunlight.

Even though you’ll be driving the unpaved gypsum tracks within the dunes, they are hard-packed and suitable for any standard passenger car.

Hiking through these semi-firm dunes is only slightly less strenuous than doing so on the more typical loose sand found elsewhere. As you traverse a small part of this enormous 275-square-mile dune field, the rolling shapes seem to come at you in endless waves. Continue reading

FIELD TECHNIQUE: It’s All in Your Perspective

Story and photography by F.M. Kearney

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Hessian Lake – Bear Mountain State Park, New York. © F.M. Kearney

It’s something that usually isn’t given much conscious thought, yet it’s like that one obscure ingredient that can make or break a recipe. Its effects aren’t as obvious as your choice of aperture or shutter speed, but nevertheless, it is just as important. What I’m referring to is perspective.

Contrary to popular belief, your perspective is controlled by your viewpoint — not the focal length of your lens. The only reason the perspective of wide-angle and zoom lenses is so different from normal is because they “view” drastically more or less of the scene. Focal lengths ranging from the mid-teens to the early twenties can provide dramatic landscape views. This is great if you want to include a very close foreground and a background that might be miles away. Sometimes, however, a scene might call for just the opposite kind of perspective. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: Still waters and golden light

Story and photography by Jim Clark

For a few years now I have taken my workshop attendees to explore Taylor Landing, an isolated historical boat landing located along Maryland’s lower eastern shore. With the scenic vista of Johnson Bay and the tranquility of a morning shoot, the landing has become a favorite.

A small bay that opens into the much larger Chincoteague Bay, Johnson Bay borders along the western shore of the coastal barrier island of Assateague. The water is protected on three sides, and, weather permitting, it can become very still and flat, with nary a ripple to be seen.

Autumn Morning @ Johnson Bay 11192016 Taylor Landing MD (c) Jim Clark_13

Pre-sunrise moment on Johnson Bay, Taylor Landing, Maryland. © Jim Clark

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From the NANPA President

cbolt_portrait_jan2014We live in a time where the wisdom of the ages is spoon-fed to us through the oracle of internet memes. If you use Facebook or another social media platform, you’ve undoubtedly seen and shared wise, funny or utterly bizarre statements pasted over a photo — often of a confused looking cat, oddly enough — that tug at the heartstrings or strike the funny bone.

A lot of these wisdom bites are throwaways, but occasionally one comes across the crawl that sticks with me. I recently noticed this one: “If one lights a fire for others, it will brighten one’s own way.”

According to some half-hearted internet research, the original quote seems to have come from a letter written in the late 1200s by a Japanese priest and spiritual leader named Nichiren. I’m not sure that the honorable Nichiren would have cared that his quote was passed around on Facebook, but I’m grateful for the insight, regardless of the messenger. Continue reading

VOLUNTEER: Margaret Gaines

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© Margaret Gaines

Margaret Gaines is a mom and a jewelry designer in addition to being a nature photographer. She is based in Alaska, and her focus is on Alaska’s nature. Margaret also covers remnants of the state’s history being reclaimed by nature. 

Do you have a “day” job? What do you do?

For the past five years my primary day job has been “Mom.” I do the traditional activities of cooking, cleaning, running errands and being there to support my kids when they need me. I maintain my sanity by escaping with my camera whenever I can. I’ve also been working on a master’s degree in biology for just as long with the hope that it will enhance my photography and possibly lead to regular employment when and if the time is right.  Continue reading

NATIONAL PARKS: Bryce Canyon National Park

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Early morning light illuminates the fantastic hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Sunrise Point © Jerry Ginsberg

Among our 59 national parks, perhaps the one that offers the greatest degree of pure fun is Bryce Canyon in southwestern Utah. Just a 56-square-mile morsel of the vast southwestern red rock country, Bryce Canyon offers deeply eroded red, orange, yellow and ochre amphitheaters, curving natural bridges, ancient bristlecone pines and an iconic Douglas fir so tall that looking at the top might well tax your neck muscles. Continue reading

FIELD TECHNIQUE: Just Another Gray Winter Day

Story and photography by F.M. Kearney

New York City’s Central Park in winter. © F.M. Kearney

New York City’s Central Park in winter. © F.M. Kearney

The middle of winter can be a little depressing. The five-day forecast might show such a long stream of dull, dreary days that it makes one wonder if the weatherperson forgot to update the map. In the Northeast, it can seem as though the entire world is in hibernation. Everything is lifeless. Nothing is in bloom. On overcast days, you might feel like you’re living in a black-and-white movie. Then, of course, there’s the unforgiving cold. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW : About Those “Sea” Gulls

Story and photography by Jim Clark

Birds have always been an important part of my life. At just ten years of age, I could identify birds not only by sight, but also by their songs, calls and even by habitat. There were not many days when I did not have my second edition of the Peterson Field Guide to the Birds within arm’s reach.

So imagine my confusion as a kid, at the beach with my family, hearing adults talking about a flock of sea gulls doing this or a sea gull doing that. Sea gull? I checked my trusty Peterson Field Guide, because I couldn’t remember anything about a species named sea gull.

I quickly learned that there is, in fact, no bird officially named sea gull. Yet, that term persists to this day. If there are sea gulls, then shouldn’t there also be river gulls, lake gulls, parking lot gulls and landfill gulls? There are not.

Sea gulls? No these are adult laughing gulls in breeding plumage, photographed at Assateague Island National Seashore, Virginia.                                                                                     © Jim Clark

Sea gulls? No these are adult laughing gulls in breeding plumage, photographed at Assateague Island National Seashore, Virginia. © Jim Clark

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