NANPA Weekly Wow: July 31 – Aug 6

“Mired/Red-masked Parakeet, San Francisco, CA” © Ben Knoot

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: The final frames

Story and photography by F.M. Kearney

Azalea garden, © F.M. Kearney

As you are probably aware, this is the final issue of eNEWS. It’s been an honor to write for this publication, and I truly hope that my words and images have inspired you with new techniques and ideas. For a slight change of pace, I’d like to focus more on human interest than technical details in this installment. The following is a small collection of some of my favorite unpublished photos and the stories behind them.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve visited the New York Botanical Garden. But, no matter how often I’ve been there, I never seem to run out of new locations to shoot within its 250 acres. The garden is constantly under renovation, providing endless photo ops.

The azalea garden underwent such a renovation a couple of years ago. I went there on an overcast day to shoot closeups of the azaleas, which were in full bloom at the time. By mid-morning, the weather made an about-face, and the day became completely sunny. The harsh lighting dashed my plans for intimate details. I reluctantly switched gears and decided to concentrate more on the overall area.

I passed by a large, red rhododendron bush several times, because I didn’t think it was worth shooting. It was in the shade, and a few of the leaves were spotted with yellow and black marks. When I finally decided to photograph it, I used an off-camera flash to balance shaded light in the foreground with the brightly-lit background. I removed the dead leaves later in post. I shot many compositions, but I like the one above the most due to the curvature of the footpath on the right and the garden itself. Continue reading

Getting Pictures in a Book

by Wendy Shattil

Do you look at photo books and think “I have pictures as good as these”? You might be right, but how do you get your images from the computer into that book? I’ve been on both sides of this question — as photographer and as photo editor — and I have the answer.

You won’t know if your images are good enough until you try submitting them, and you have to be willing to put in a little time selecting and preparing your images for submission.

Pigeon guillemots, © Ken Archer

I’m currently in a unique position to offer you the opportunity to be included in an upcoming book about the Pacific Flyway. As project manager and photo editor, I am charged with locating and selecting more than 200 images for this photo-driven book, and I’d love to see well-chosen submissions from talented NANPA photographers.

Not only pros get published, but they do have an advantage in knowing how to prepare effective submissions. Pros also recognize their truly competitive images and are willing to put in the effort to get those photos in front of an editor.

Here’s your advantage: I know what I’m looking for and I’m going to tell you how to get my attention with five easy tips. Continue reading

NATIONAL PARKS: Yosemite National Park

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Without a doubt, one of the crowning jewels of both the national park system and the entire world is Yosemite. Over the eons, millions (billions?) of tons of metamorphic granite have been shaped and sculpted, largely by glaciers, into countless harmonious and visually riveting forms.

After decades of being photographed by the renowned Ansel Adams and the many who came after him, creating original images here is a real challenge — but it is not impossible. There is an absolutely endless variety of compositions in Yosemite even though so many natural features are pretty much a monochromatic gray. John Muir called the Sierra Nevada — home to Yosemite — “the range of light.”

Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.” John Muir from The Yosemite (1912)

To enjoy a productive photo trip to Yosemite, we should first get organized by breaking the park into four distinct regions. These include Yosemite Valley, the High Country, the Glacier Point Road and the Mariposa Grove of giant Sequoia trees. There are many other subjects in-between, but these are the primary areas of this thousand square mile wonder. Continue reading

A tale of two brothers

Text and photography by Teri Franzen

Life in the African bush is hard for prey animals and apex predators (those at the top of the food chain) alike.  Ungulates (hooved animals) such as zebras, gazelles and wildebeest are constantly wary and keeping watch to ensure they don’t fall victim as food for one of the countless predators that share their territory.  Predators fight among themselves over that same territory.  Lions will fight to take control of existing prides.  They will also fight to drive off other predators, like cheetahs, sharing the same space.  Very often these battles have grim results for the victims.

During my recent trip to Ndutu in northern Tanzania (eastern Africa) we saw many cheetah families living in the Makao plains.  Among them were two bachelor brothers that we had hoped to encounter during our journeys.  With a top speed approaching 70 miles per hour, cheetahs are the fastest land animals in the world.  They can maintain this speed for approximately 500 yards.  As a singular animal a cheetah is capable of chasing down and capturing smaller prey, a favorite being a Thomson’s gazelle.  Adult male cheetahs often form coalitions with siblings.  When teamed up they are capable of bringing down much larger prey, like wildebeest.  We wanted to see this two-male coalition in action.

On January 31, during our morning game drive we happened upon a lone cheetah that had climbed onto a fallen tree.  It started calling and before we identified the gender we suspected a female calling for her young.  As we looked more closely we realized it was a male and that it was injured.  His mouth was wounded and his elbows rubbed raw.   This was one of the brothers, only his sibling was nowhere in sight.  Our best guess was that the two cheetahs had been victims of a lion attack during the night.  Either the second male had been killed or severely injured, or he escaped and ran in another direction.

Injured cheetah searching for his brother.

A closer look at his mouth injury.

The wounded cheetah wandered from tree to tree, sniffing for signs of his brother and then sending a stream of his own urine toward the tree.  Like all cats, cheetahs have a keen sense of smell and can identify an individual by its unique scent.  During this time he called continuously with a forlorn cry, presumably with the hope of vocally contacting his sibling.  Occasionally he would leap onto a fallen tree to search and call from a higher vantage point.  Allowing enough distance to avoid interference we followed the lone male for over an hour.  During that time his pace was constant, his conviction never faltered. Continue reading

NANPA Weekly Wow: July 17-23

“Polar ice fog sunrise, Hudson Bay, Canada” ©Rick Beldegreen

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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A wastewater wonderland

Story and photography by Budd Titlow

Do you want to knock your birding and photography socks off without busting your bank account? And—in the process—get to witness a prime example of sustainable water management for wildlife habitat enhancement and climate-change control?

If so, just grab your binoculars and camera gear and head to the Brevard County Wastewater Treatment Plant located in the east-central Florida town of Viera, Florida—just 2.5 miles west of I-95. There you’ll find 200 acres of constructed wetlands that are supported and nourished by advanced treatment outflow from the treatment plant. You’ll also find some of the best and easiest wild birdwatching and photography you’ve ever experienced. It’s called the Viera Wetlands.

Typical view of habitat provided by Viera’s sewage-treatment wetlands.

Establishment of the Viera Wetlands has been a phenomenal success. These created aquatic habitats now provide living spaces for more than 160 species of birds, but—perhaps best of all—the birding and photography access is as easy as pie. A network of 2.4 miles of one-way, 10 mph gravel roads—perched atop the earthen berms—allows superb opportunities for virtually every square foot of the sanctuary. Continue reading

Your Gift in Action

2017 High School Program Participant Hannah Mirando photographs a damselfly during this week’s program. Photo by Andrew Snyder.

You made it happen! The 2017 NANPA High School Scholarship Program concludes today in the Smoky Mountains thanks to your gift to the NANPA Foundation supporting the program. Ten high school students had an intensive week learning about nature, nature photography and the natural history of the Smoky Mountains at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Tremont, Tennessee. The students’ best work from the week will be shown at a reception today. Instructors Kika Tuff, Morgan Heim, Andrew Snyder and Don Carter led discussions and presentations on topics for the student participants on topics including:

  • Wildlife and ethics
  • Lightroom and editing courses
  • Shutterspeed and camera settings
  • Rules of composition
  • Ethics of manipulation
  • Camera trapping
  • Insect trapping
  • Editing a portfolio

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From the new NANPA President – Don Carter

As I start my term as NANPA president, I would like to thank Clay Bolt for his leadership and guidance over this past year. NANPA has become a better organization with Clay at the helm, and I hope to continue the work that he and all past presidents have accomplished.

I had the pleasure of being one of the leaders during the Yellowstone Regional Event this past May. A wonderful group of members attended, and Yellowstone provided many opportunities for us to make great photographs, especially those of both grizzlies and black bears.

Since that event, one thought keeps circulating in my mind about bear “jams” that occur whenever bears are seen (or, for that matter, when any wildlife is spotted). Our NANPA group got caught up in one of those jams. Continue reading

Nature Photography Day Photo Contest Winners

On June 15, the world celebrated Nature Photography Day numerous ways. NANPA encouraged people everywhere to enjoy the day by using a camera to explore the natural world. Thousands of people tagged their nature images #naturephotoday or #naturephotographyday or #naturephotocontest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Almost 2,000 images were submitted for the Nature Photography Day Photo Contest. We are proud to announce the winners along with a special thanks to the prize donors: Olympus, Cognisys, McKenna, Mindshift Gear, Tamron, Wimberley & Samy’s Camera.

1st Place- Douglas Croft

© Douglas Croft – The last of a coalition of four cheetahs crossing the plain in Kruger National Park with Wild4 Photo Safaris. He fell behind and was racing to catch up.

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