Photographs by Jennifer Adler
Interview by David C. Lester
Andrew Synder is finishing up his Ph.D. in biology at the University of Mississippi. His dissertation is entitled “Biodiversity and Evolution in the Guyana Shield.” He is a scientist and a professional photographer, but more about his work later.
Andrew got involved with NANPA in 2013 as one of the college scholarship winners. “I consider that weekend of the NANPA conference, and spending the week with other members of my team working on a project as one of the defining moments of my photography career,” Andrew says. Their project was to document Amelia Island off the coast of Jacksonville. A number of pro photographers were with the students to give guidance and to make sure things went well. “The presentation of our group was done at the 2013 summit, and this experience set the tone for how I wanted to guide my photography work,” he adds.
“It’s the music that does it for me,” laughs Kika Tuff, a professional photographer and filmmaker who first connected with NANPA during the 2015 college scholars program. “Photos can be an incredibly powerful storytelling tool, but there is something about combining imagery and music that really makes films life-changing.
Before the NANPA college scholars program, Kika had considered photography a hobby, her favorite hobby, and science was going to be her career. After the program, however, everything about her career goals shifted. The college scholars program allowed Kika to meet young people with similar interests, to learn about film and photography as conservation tools, and to engage with photographers dedicating their lives and careers to storytelling. She says the experience totally changed her life.
Most nature photographers go out of their way to avoid the harsh, unforgiving contrast of direct sunlight. The resulting blown highlights and blocked up shadows have ruined many potentially great photos. This type of lighting may work for certain landscape images, but for floral portraits, the soft, even light of an overcast day is generally preferred.
When it comes to dating in the world of Grebes it is not as easy as just going out for a fish dinner or a morning swim. These birds have much higher standards. If a mate cannot “walk” on water, they are out of luck.
Manú Road is a leading birding route that begins in the city of Cusco, in what was the capital of the Inca Empire, and journeys through deep valleys, lakes and mountains all the way into the rainforest, deep in the Manú National Park of Peru. One could even think of traveling this road as a pilgrimage: while there is one starting point and one direction, there are many paths along the way and plenty of stops to admire the breadth of avifauna and flora amidst dramatic settings as one travels up and over the Andes Mountain Range down to the Amazonian plain, all of which make Manú Road a spiritual experience for sure. As one of the top ten mega-diverse countries in the world, Peru holds the second spot in number of bird species at over 1,800, and is within the top five spots in amphibians, mammals and plants. Manú Road is representative of this biodiversity.
Alaska is often called “the last frontier” for good reason. The overwhelming majority of our 49th state is still pristine and wild. When traipsing around this wonderful wilderness, I am constantly reminded of the American pioneers of yesteryear such as John Colter and Jedediah Smith, so open is this vast state. It is truly in a class all by itself. Perhaps the prime feature shared by all eight national parks of Alaska (only California has more) is this singularly pristine wildness. These wonderful parks are vast tracts of pure, untamed and untrammeled Nature. Towering volcanoes, sparkling glaciers, crystalline lakes and mega fauna in the wild seem to be everywhere.
A century and a half after being acquired by Secretary of State William Seward from Russia’s Czar Alexander II, “Alyeska” remains remote, sparsely populated and largely roadless. Throughout this immense state, if you want to get around beyond the point where the few roads end, you will likely be using a raft or canoe to navigate the many river drainages or the ever-popular and ubiquitous bush planes for just about everything else.
On Christmas Eve 1968, astronaut William Anders captured a photograph that depicted the earth as a wispy blue orb suspended in space. The image – described by Galen Rowell as the most influential image ever taken – crystallized in our collective conscience the beauty and the fragility of our shared home. The impact of the photograph was so profound that many have credited it to the birth of the environmental movement – a testament to the power of the single image in mobilizing people at a global scale.
jon holloway is a professional photographer who concentrates on nature and wildlife subjects, along with other types of work. jon has been a photographer for over twenty years, and has been a member of the Art Department faculty at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina for the last seven years. jon serves on the NANPA Board of Directors, and has been involved with the organization since its earliest days. He believes in the power of the image to inspire thought and promote awareness of global issues pertaining to us all. His work has been nationally and internationally exhibited, and collected by private and corporate clients, museums, and galleries.
After earning an undergraduate degree in Biology, jon worked on a ranch in Montana, and got to know California photographer William Neill during one of Neill’s workshops. During the summer of 1993, jon biked across America, and that’s when he really fell in love with nature photography. Afterward, he decided to pursue a photography degree at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) at the main Savannah, Georgia campus. jon points out that this was a great experience, and was “a great time for me to really explore photography.”
Let’s face it, the current U.S. copyright system does not work for the majority of photographers who operate as individuals or small business owners for a variety of reasons, including the complexity of registration. But perhaps the most significant reason is due to the inability of photographers whose work product is not low volume/ high value to enforce their ownership rights against infringers.