Winter duck fix – reflections on Barnegat Lighthouse, NJ

Story and photography by Martin Sneary

Harlequin Duck, adults calling

Harlequin Duck, adults calling © Martin Sneary

Barnegat Lighthouse is one of those fabled winter bird photography destinations on the New Jersey shore. A rocky jetty (think wall of large boulders) runs SE into the Atlantic Ocean for just under 1 mile, with a sandy shore to one side, and the Barnegat Inlet/Atlantic Ocean to the other. This location affords close views of various sea duck that overwinter in the area, perhaps most highly sought after being Harlequin, closely followed by the globally threatened Long-tailed Duck, also known as Oldsquaw. Other species frequently seen on the seaward side are Loons, Scoters and Mergansers, while in the tidal pools that form on the inshore side of the jetty you can find the odd shorebird, including Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone and Black-bellied Plover. Continue reading

NANPA Weekly Wow: March 13-19

Great Sand Dunes Storm, Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO © Hector Astorga

Great Sand Dunes Storm, Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO © Hector Astorga

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2017 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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Nature’s Best Photography Awards

© Tin Man Lee / NBP

© Tin Man Lee / NBP

Take your Images and Videos on the Journey from the Wild to the Walls of the Smithsonian

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHERS from 51 countries around the globe competed in the 21st annual Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards. The reward — to be exhibited at one of the most respected and highly visited museums in the world — the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Named in memory of accomplished photographer and conservation advocate, Windland Smith Rice, the awards competition is NOW OPEN FOR ENTRIES until March 31 online: naturesbestphotography.com Continue reading

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

Ever Considered Quitting Your Job?

Story and Photography by Peter Zelinka

© Peter Zelinka

© Peter Zelinka

Have you ever considered quitting your job to go on an epic adventure?

After graduating college and working a full-time IT job for over a year, I needed an escape. I was tired of spending 9+ hours a day in a windowless, grey server room. A plan slowly started to form. This trip would span the entire Western US, and would allow me to finally see the landscapes I had been dreaming of for years. 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

From the Viewpoint of a Tamron Image Master

Story and photography by David Akoubian

© David Akoubian

© David Akoubian

SPONSORED- I have been an avid birder long before I was a photographer. When I finally started photographing birds autofocus was non-existent. Photographing birds in flight was just a dream, mostly I did stationary birds. As I made the transition to digital just after the turn of the century, I started getting my hopes up that I could photograph stationary and moving birds. It wasn’t until the past few years though that everything came together for me, photographing all kinds of birds moving and stationary without breaking the bank. Continue reading

NANPA Weekly Wow: Feb 20-26

Great Kiskadees Beak to Beak, Hidalgo Co., TX- © Cissy Beasley

Great Kiskadees Beak to Beak, Hidalgo Co., TX- © Cissy Beasley

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2017 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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FIELD TECHNIQUE: It’s All in Your Perspective

Story and photography by F.M. Kearney

W-187a

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