UAVs and Aerial Photography: Tools and Techniques

Story and photography by Ralph Bendjebar

ralplh-b-boat-under-bridge

Frame grab from Ralph Bendjebar’s video, “Gitche Gumee,” which can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ35-ZTsiSg

UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/drones) capable of recording unique and memorable images and high-quality videos are becoming ever more ubiquitous and affordable. Their capabilities in terms of stability, camera control and image quality have multiplied at a dizzying pace over the last few years. There are a great many choices in terms of equipment, and it is outside the scope of this article to attempt to cover them all. What I will do, however, is provide some helpful tips that will ensure that your photography and videography will produce successful results.

I currently use the DJI Inspire and Phantom 4 UAVs to obtain both video and still images. They are far and away the most widely used UAVs, and while there are many other capable drones on the market, I will limit my discussion to how these two have distinct roles in my UAV toolbag. Continue reading

NATIONAL PARKS: Capitol Reef National Park

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Waterpocket Fold is Capitol Reef's hallmark geological feature.

Waterpocket Fold is Capitol Reef’s hallmark geological feature.

Wonderfully scenic and filled with dramatic and seemingly endless red rock, Utah boasts five national parks within its borders. Least well-known among these is long-and-narrow Capitol Reef National Park found just about smack in the middle of the state.

As is the case with many places in Utah, nineteenth-century Mormon pioneers settled here for a while and then moved on. In their wake, they left behind many remnants. As you drive the short piece of Route 24 that traverses this desert park you will see evidence of the Mormons in the wonderfully preserved one-room schoolhouse and apple and peach orchards that once marked the small Fruita settlement.

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NANPA Weekly Wow

Pink Poppies, Weatherford, TX © Denise Remfert

Pink Poppies, Weatherford, TX © Denise Remfert

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

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FIELD TECHNIQUE: The Best Laid Plans

Story and photography by F.M. Kearney

Kearney-2016-July-C-21

The view from my airplane window on the way to Orlando.

Summer is finally here, and vacation plans are probably on the minds of many of us. For nature photographers, a vacation offers the perfect chance to explore and photograph new environments around the world.

Planning is an essential part of successful photography. When it comes to nature photography, the weather is probably the most important factor. Rarely do I go out on a shoot without checking the weather on a variety of websites. Certain subjects require cloudy days. Others may favor sunny conditions, and some might look best in heavy fog. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: The Cutest Animal in Yellowstone

Story and photography by Jim Clark

Nature photographers heading to Yellowstone National Park would have to be a little crazy not to think about the potential for photographing the park’s herds of bison and elk, the striking mountain vistas and waterfalls, and the extraordinary thermal features of geysers, fumaroles and mudpots.

I’m no different. I especially love to photograph Yellowstone’s charismatic megafauna. In fact, my favorite is bison as they roam Lamar and Hayden Valleys. But I also seek out the little critters as well.

Of the 67 mammal species documented in the park, the majority are the smaller ones, including such personal favorites as golden-mantled and Uinta ground squirrels, least chipmunk and yellow-bellied marmot. But the one mammal I absolutely love to watch and photograph is the pika—undoubtedly the most charming and photogenic mammal in Yellowstone.

Pika Calling 2 - Yellowstone National Park WY (c) Jim Clark

American pika, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. © Jim Clark

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Unleashing Juxtaposition in Nature Photography

Story and photos by Michael Rossacci

© Michael Rossacci

© Michael Rossacci

Experience has taught me to exploit compositional techniques that help my nature images take on a more compelling story-telling quality. One such technique that I employ frequently is juxtaposition. This fancy word is formed by joining the Latin root “juxta”, which translates to “next to”, to the word “position”. Compositionally speaking, this means placing the subject next to some object in order to set the stage for a compare-and-contrast scenario. In some cases it is the similarity of the subject to the secondary object, whereas in other cases it may be the difference between the two that is stressed. More often than not, what results is a more inviting look and feel to the final image. In this article, I will delve into more detail about juxtaposition and highlight some examples from my own images. Continue reading

NANPA Weekly Wow

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

From the President

sfitzgerald_headshot_costaricaMy, how time flies. I am coming to the end of my term as president of NANPA and it feels like I just started. It is thrilling to see how NANPA has evolved to adapt and thrive. Where many similar organizations are shrinking or dying, NANPA stands tall, and we are well-positioned for the future.

Do we still have challenges? Oh yes! We must reach new audiences and attract new members, including younger ones. We need to provide our diverse membership more relevant benefits. And we have to continue to adapt to today’s challenges while staying true to NANPA’s values. Continue reading

Yellowstone Bison Story with Happy Ending

Story and photos by Kathy Lichtendahl

© Kathy Lichtendahl

© Kathy Lichtendahl

A couple days ago my husband and I were headed home from a meeting in Gardiner, Montana by taking the preferred shortcut through Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. As we approached the confluence of the Soda and Lamar Rivers, we noticed two young bison standing on a small island in the middle of the rushing water. One of the youngsters plunged into the water in an attempt to cross the Soda and was quickly swept off his feet. A look of panic came over his face as he struggled to turn and regain his place on the island. Luckily for him, he was successful and he and his partner then crossed the wider and slightly safer Lamar to more solid ground. Continue reading

NANPA Weekly Wow

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

James Heupel – “3 Humminbirds trying to feed on flower, Pichincha Province, Ecuador”

Christopher Gray – “Milky Way at Dead Vlie, Namibia, Africa”

Diane McAllister – “Kodiak bears, Uganik River Kodiak AK”

Mark Hayward – “Arctic Fox, Nanuvat Territory, Canada”

William Tyler – “Pholcid spider holding eggs in her jaws., La Selva Beach, California”

Bill Klipp – “Brown Pelican Diving, Varadero Cuba”

Cindy Goeddel – “Fox Mousing Jump:Peter Pan and His Shadow, Yellowstone National Park”

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