Photo Contest Tips from Past Showcase Winners, Part 2

“Silverback Mountain Gorilla Portrait," Bwindi National Park, Uganda, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Mammals © Hector D. Astorga.
“Silverback Mountain Gorilla Portrait,” Bwindi National Park, Uganda, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Mammals © Hector D. Astorga.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Many NANPA members look forward each year to the Showcase photography competition. NANPA’s 2022 Showcase competition is open now, with entries accepted until 11 p.m. EDT, September 20, 2021. That’s tonight, if you’re thinking of entering, now’s the time to get busy! You can find all the rules, information, entry forms, and more on the website. But, we also asked some photographers who have received multiple Showcase awards to share some of their best tips for photo contests (see part one here).

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North Carolina Photographer Wins NANPA Nature Photography Day Bioblitz Grand Prize

Photo of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in flight © Sam Ray
Ruby-throated Hummingbird © Sam Ray

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Back in June, many photographers joined in the NANPA Nature Photography Day Bioblitz, an eleven-day citizen-science project. A bioblitz is an event created to find and identify as many species as possible in a given area over a limited period of time. All observations are uploaded to an iNaturalist project. During the NANPA event, participants made close to 10,000 observations of over 3,000 species, 97 of which were threatened species. All this data is now available to scientists and researchers. To add a little excitement, several of NANPA’s generous sponsors contributed to prize packages. North Carolina-based nature photographer Sam Ray won the random drawing for a Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens.

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Being Different, Being Powerful, Being you

Photo of a horse galloping across a hill covered with small bushes and brush. This wild palomino stallion running free in Sand Wash Basin, Colorado was one of the last horses I photographed before the roundup. © Dawn Wilson
This wild palomino stallion running free in Sand Wash Basin, Colorado was one of the last horses I photographed before the roundup. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

First, my apologies for this late blog post this month. It seems every year I get to the end of summer and freak out about all the things I didn’t finish on my to-do list or wish list before the leaves start turning gold and orange. This year was no different.

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Be a Better Naturalist featuring Alyce Bender

The Nature Photographer episode #19 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Alyce loves photographing mustangs in fall and leads photo tours to help others discover and photograph these living legends of the American West © Alyce Bender

Full-time nature photographer Alyce Bender reveals her secret to better wildlife images and to traveling safely alone: be a better naturalist. Hear how observing animal behavior helps Alyce stay aware of her surroundings and anticipate a great action photo. Plus, find out how boredom in the field and a desire to make the best of an imperfect opportunity—like a pronghorn in harsh light—inspire Alyce’s most creative imagery. This expert car camper and military veteran has lived all over the world, including 10 months traveling the U.S. in an RV with her two dogs. Hear about some of her favorite locations, including where she went this summer—logging 12,000 miles in just 11 weeks!

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Fresh Approaches to Photographing Familiar Places

Photo of a range of mountains with the top lit by the orange light of sunrise. The foreground and base of the mountains are in shadow, except for some trees with yellow leaves. The first rays of sunrise strike the sandstone face of enormous West Temple in Zion Canyon. Rather than darkening the upper portion of the frame with a gradiated N.D. filter, I chose to invert the filter, darkening the foreground still further and then apply a local adjustment to lighten the trees. To my surprise, it worked. © Jerry Ginsberg
The first rays of sunrise strike the sandstone face of enormous West Temple in Zion Canyon. Rather than darkening the upper portion of the frame with a gradiated N.D. filter, I chose to invert the filter, darkening the foreground still further and then apply a local adjustment to lighten the trees. To my surprise, it worked. © Jerry Ginsberg

By Jerry Ginsberg

Yosemite, Yellowstone, Arches, Monument Valley. The names alone bring glorious and exciting images to mind. They’ve been published and printed for many decades. The classic shots of Half Dome, Old Faithful, Delicate Arch, and the Mittens; we’ve seen them all. Yet we continue to make pilgrimages to these scenic meccas of America in the hope of capturing the quintessential photograph of some already over exposed mountain or canyon that will distinguish our work from the pack; some fresh perspective that will set our images apart from the cliché.

Is this still possible? With all of the iconic photographs of our premier wilderness areas that have been made and circulated since the days of William Henry Jackson and Ansel Adams pioneered the craft, can we, with our hi-tech zillion megapixel cameras and the compressed schedules of our fast-lane lifestyles, persist in the creation of original interpretations of these well-known places? Clearly, the answer is still “Yes!”

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Meet the Judges, Showcase 2022

An exceptional group of judges is getting set to evaluate the photos entered in NANPA’s 2022 Showcase nature photography competition. Being chosen for recognition by this panel will be a real mark of distinction, not to mention the prizes and other benefits of entering this competition. Remember, all entries are due no later than 11 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 20, 2021. So, don’t delay! Get your images ready now! Find the rules and full details on NANPA’s Showcase pages.

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Planning a Fall Foliage Trip?

Fall Foliage Prediction Map, set for the week of  September 20th. The map shows a color-coded display of where peak color will be in the US that week.
Fall Foliage Prediction Map, set for the week of September 20th. The map shows a color-coded display of where peak color will be in the US that week.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Each year, I look forward to colorful fall foliage. Autumn is one of my favorite times of year for landscape and nature photography. Temperatures are pleasant, mosquitos and gnats are mostly gone, and trees are a riot of color. If, that is, I time it right. That’s why, for the past few years, I’ve used the Fall Foliage Prediction Map, an interactive map showing the predicted progress of fall color across the United States. I’ve written about it before but, until now, had never looked behind the scenes to see how the map and the predictions are created. Come with me behind the curtain and meet David Angotti, the map’s creator.

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Night Blooms:A Unique Way to Combine Our Natural and Man-Made Worlds

Close up photo of cherry blossoms with blurred city lights in the background. "Cherry blossoms amid city lights and sunset skies." © F. M. Kearney
Cherry blossoms amid city lights and sunset skies. © F. M. Kearney

By F. M. Kearney

I often write about the challenges of finding nature subjects in an urban environment. Of course, even the largest concrete jungles aren’t all concrete. There’s always a local park or a botanical garden somewhere nearby. Places like these are perfect locations to capture unique compositions of natural and man-made subjects.

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Labor Day Copyright Updates

copyright symbol
Copyright. Image by Pete Linforth, Pixabay license.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Since this article comes out on Labor Day, it’s probably fitting that it addresses copyright issues. How cases like these are resolved determines, at least to some extent, how much of the fruit of your labors you can retain. Here are three copyright examples to keep your eye on.

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Those Beautiful Eyes: How a Photographer Uses Sharp Eyes to Convey Emotions

Photo of a sparrow perched on a tre limb looking at the viewer. The Eyes Have It, 500 mm, 1/800 second, f/6.3, ISO 800 © Sastry Karra
The Eyes Have It, 500 mm, 1/800 second, f/6.3, ISO 800 © Sastry Karra

By Sastry Karra

It is often said that the eyes are a window to the soul. The face of any living creature is usually the first thing that catches our attention, and the eyes are where we instinctively and immediately go. The eye figures prominently when it comes to conceptions of beauty. Sight (looking at others) is also a form of communication, an instinct that we inherit at birth, similar to art and music. Sometimes, poets emphasize that eyes speak what lips can’t. So, the eyes of a subject can mean many things and it makes perfect sense that one of the first rules of wildlife photography is to make sure the eyes are sharp.

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