How Professional Photographers Are Dealing With the COVID-19 Crisis – Part 2

Jon Holloway owns and operates the sundance Gallery in Greenwood, SC.
Jon Holloway owns and operates the sundance Gallery in Greenwood, SC.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit photographers hard. We reached out to some professional photographers to ask how the crisis has affected their businesses. We also wanted to know how they were adapting—both their own lives and their businesses—to the challenges of these difficult times.

We recently spoke with Jon Holloway, a fine art photographer and teacher in Greenwood, South Carolina, who is also a NANPA Board Member and College Scholarship Program Committee Member. (See part one of this series here.)

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Get Busy Close to Home With A Photography Blind

A  photography blind in the field.
Social distancing at its best – a Tragopan V6 photography blind in the field.

Story & photos by Gerrit Vyn

One of the biggest challenges in nature photography is getting close to wildlife. This is especially true in locations outside of parks and refuges where wildlife is often habituated to people. Photography blinds allow you to get into camera range in places that would be impossible to otherwise and allow you to shoot where no one else is shooting – a local woodlot, marsh, or your own backyard bird feeders. Using a photography blind is often the best or only way to photograph a particular species, location, or behavior. A good photography blind is one of the most important tools in a wildlife photographers’ arsenal for getting close. Working from a blind also benefits wildlife. Rather than pursuing and potentially disturbing subjects, the photographer lets subjects come to them. This increases a photographer’s opportunities to shoot natural, undisturbed behavior, and minimizes their impact on wildlife. One of the great things about working from a blind is that if you’ve done your homework and planned well you can be confident you are going to have some unique opportunities for photography.

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Using Blending Modes in Photoshop

Image of Ginsberg's Photoshop workspace. Perhaps the first task before editing your photos is to arrange the workspace in a way that is most comfortable for you. I elect to lay out my screen like this with the tool palette, layer stack, adjustment panel and properties. Other functions such as actions and info can be selected from the Window menu as needed.
Perhaps the first task before editing your photos is to arrange the workspace in a way that is most comfortable for you. I elect to lay out my screen like this with the tool palette, layer stack, adjustment panel and properties. Other functions such as actions and info can be selected from the Window menu as needed.

Story & images by Jerry Ginsberg

Strange Circumstances

During this crucial time, we nature photographers who feel so at home wandering around the great outdoors seeking great images suddenly find ourselves uncharacteristically spending as much time as possible in our homes. While it is certainly necessary that we do this as a means of avoiding the scourge of the deadly Corona virus, it still feels a bit unnatural to most of us.

So let’s make the most of this unexpected downtime by honing our skills in the ever-evolving digital darkroom.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Sha Lu

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: “White-tailed Kite Food Transfer" © Sha Lu.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: “White-tailed Kite Food Transfer” © Sha Lu.

How I Got the Shot

This photo shows the food exchange between a parent and a juvenile white-tailed kite. Their nest was on a tree at the parking lot of a local park. After photographing and observing their daily behavior for many days, I had a good educated guess of where such exchanges might happen. When this juvenile fledged, it performed one of its very first food exchanges right in front of my position, giving me almost full frame shots, resulting in a great amount of details in the photos.

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Weekly Wow! Week of May 4, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Gull Emerging From Fog at Dawn” © Leonard James.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Gull Emerging From Fog at Dawn” © Leonard James.

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, May 4, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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How Professional Photographers Are Dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis – Part 1

Mary Louise Ravese (photo by Richard Fain)
Mary Louise Ravese (photo by Richard Fain)

The coronavirus pandemic has hit photographers hard.  Times are tough, but we’re a creative and resilient bunch.  We reached out to some professional photographers to ask how restrictions imposed by cities, states and the federal government have affected their businesses.  We also wanted to know how they were adapting—both their own lives and their businesses—to the challenges of these difficult times. 

The first photographer in this series is Mary Louise Ravese, owner of Bella Vista Photography, a North Carolina-based nature and fine art photographer, teacher and workshop leader.

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Connections

A Roseate Spoonbill landing on a tree.
Roseate Spoonbill

Story & photo by Tom Haxby, NANPA President

NANPA recently held two online town hall meetings with our members; one with professional nature photographers and the other with enthusiasts. These meetings and a recent e-mail discussion thread among our board members are part of our ongoing search for the answer to one question: How do we better connect with our nature photography community, both professional and enthusiast? 

The reality is that this pandemic crisis has given members of the board of directors and staff time to slow down and think about where we are as an organization and where we are headed, and maybe that is not a bad thing.  And, much like the photo of the roseate spoonbill landing, it may be awkward, but we will get it done.

Questions

How can we stay connected with nature through our photography when our ability to safely venture outside of our homes has been curtailed? How do we connect with other nature photographers who share our passion and inspire us when our opportunities to meet through regional events, meetups and nature photography celebrations have been suddenly swept away? 

Eventually, we will get beyond this crisis and will again be able re-establish our connection with nature, cameras in hand, as well as network in-person with our fellow nature photographers.  By this time next year (April 28-May 2, 2021), many of us will be finally gathering in Tucson, AZ, at the NANPA Summit to again meet and greet our fellow nature photographers. 

Beyond the short term, there are longer-term questions, such as how can NANPA engage a wider audience in sharing and caring about nature through photography?  And especially, how can NANPA successfully connect with the younger generation faced with living most of their lives in an increasingly stressed natural world?  These long-term questions are the ones that are the most difficult to answer.

A few particular questions in the town hall meetings resonated with me. From the enthusiasts’ town hall meeting:

Does NANPA have a mentoring program? While NANPA does not have an official mentoring program, NANPA members often network to find others with similar areas of interest who may be willing to share their skills and experience. During these weeks that we’re unable to network in person, you may want to explore the member directory to look for nature photographers near you. Find a few and look at their websites. Follow them on social media and/or subscribe to their email lists. Meeting virtually in this way can put yourself in a good position to introduce yourself in person when restrictions are lifted. If you aren’t sure how to use the member directory in this way, this tutorial can help:

Does NANPA have a way for those with limited mobility to participate in photography events? This is something that the board has discussed, and I believe we can and should find a way to accommodate those who may have physical limitations. Our regional event in Badlands National Park, May 31-June 3, 2021, is wheelchair friendly, and that’s moving in the right direction.

And from the town hall meeting for professionals:

How can professionals increase their visibility? Our reach in several programs goes well beyond our members, making these excellent opportunities to get noticed. For example, anyone who belongs to NANPA’s Facebook Group can post images there, but NANPA members can also share promotional posts once a week when their membership number is included (check the group rules for specifics).

Host an Instagram takeover of NANPA’s account, and/or tag your Instagram photos with #NANPApix for an opportunity to be featured in our Instagram feed.

Write blog posts, give a webinar, and submit photos for the Showcase competition. Showcase winners are featured throughout the year on our website and social media accounts and are published in Expressions.

Why NANPA?

Unlike other photography organizations, NANPA is solely dedicated to nature photography.

Perhaps you enjoy using your photography to further conservation. Personally, NANPA has opened my eyes to how photography can tell a story about a conservation issue. That is why we published our Conservation Handbook and why we added a category in our Showcase competition for conservation photography. 

Maybe you believe in our advocacy efforts to protect the rights of photographers or that educating photographers about ethics in nature photography is needed now more than ever.

Perhaps being a member means that you can purchase good insurance for your valuable photography gear. Improving your photography skills is a common desire of NANPA members, and there are many opportunities to improve your photography skills through online webinars, regional events, summits and our blog posts. 

Perhaps as a professional, being a NANPA member increases your visibility. Publications such as our soon-to-be published handbook Make It Work: The Business of Nature Photography, helps established professionals reach new audiences and will give every photographer ideas and tools for improving your nature photography business.

Maybe the biggest benefit you get is just being part of a network of photographers with a passion for being out in nature and sharing the beauty and awesomeness of nature in photographs.  Could it be that you just love nature and photography, and that is reason enough to want to join with NANPA in celebrating and promoting the joy and satisfaction of nature photography?

Whatever your reasons for belonging to NANPA, the board of directors, staff and many volunteers are working hard to make NANPA the place where you can connect with nature while connecting with a community of nature photographers.

Can Websites Embed Your Instagram Posts Without Your Express Permission?

copy of NANPA's Instagram page.
What rights do you give to Instagram and what do you retain?

By Sean Fitzgerald

Can an online publisher simply embed a photographer’s Instagram post in an online story without paying that photographer or obtaining express permission to do so? Unfortunately, a recent New York district court decision in Sinclair v. Ziff Davis suggests the answer is yes, as long as they do so consistent with Instagram’s various service agreements. While some online publishers have been embedding Instagram posts in their stories for a while, Sinclair is the first court decision that gives legal cover to the practice, leading some photographers to reassess how they use Instagram, and indeed all social media, going forward.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – David Bates

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Puma Targeting a Large Guanaco” © David Bates.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Puma Targeting a Large Guanaco” or “Did somebody say it was time for dinner?” © David Bates.

How I Got the Shot

Living in South Florida and spending countless hours in the Everglades hoping to catch even a glimpse of a panther, I could not resist the opportunity to travel to Chile where the odds of actually photographing a puma are excellent. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I would have the opportunity to observe and photograph a puma actually hunting a guanaco. I was amazed by the confidence of this puma in targeting such a large guanaco. Of course, I must also thank SouthWild and our guide, Maurico Montt, and their amazing trackers that provided me with many amazing puma encounters.

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Weekly Wow! Week of April 27, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Parts of a Whole: Two Nautilus Halves, Still Life at Home” © Janet MacCausland.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Parts of a Whole: Two Nautilus Halves, Still Life at Home” © Janet MacCausland.

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, April 27, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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