NATIONAL PARKS: Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns

Story and photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Setting sun from a hidden rock niche in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns national parks are separated by the Texas/New Mexico state line. Still, they are close enough to be combined into a single trip. Taking these two parks together offers a big advantage for photographers, because the light in the two locations is complementary. While the Guadalupe Mountains will benefit from the same use of early and late light, as do most landscapes, subterranean cave photography can be enjoyed during the middle of the day when the light on the surface can be prohibitively harsh. Continue reading

The Commoners

Story and Photography by Kathy Lichtendahl

Cottontail © Kathy Lichtendahl

Cottontail © Kathy Lichtendahl

Anyone who has ever so much as considered going on an African photo safari is well aware of the concept of “The Big Five”. What many may not realize is that the expression originated as a hunting term used to describe those game animals most difficult to hunt on foot. Regardless, photographers and sight-seers alike have adopted the idea of seeing lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo as the sign of a successful trip. Continue reading

FIELD TECHNIQUE: One man’s trash

Story and photography by F.M. Kearney

Snow-covered saucer magnolia blooms.

Snow-covered saucer magnolia blooms.

The groundskeepers were a bit perturbed, but I was ecstatic.

Four inches of snow had fallen the day before. This wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy except it was April 8, 2003. These four inches brought the total amount of snow received in the New York area to just under 50 inches, placing the 2002-03 winter among the top 20 snowiest winters in the city’s recorded history.

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NANPA Weekly Wow: Dec 19-25

Intergalactic lens zoom of the Milky Way, Acadia State Park, Maine © David Francis

Intergalactic lens zoom of the Milky Way, Acadia National Park, Maine © David Francis

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2016 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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Pre-Order NANPA Expressions 2017

2017showcasecollectionpromoComing soon…NANPA Expressions 2017

 NANPA Expressions 2017 highlights the top 250 photographs from the 2017 NANPA Showcase competition. This high-quality, printed, perfect-bound journal displays the very best photographs selected from thousands of submissions by a jury panel of industry professionals.

Images are arranged by submission categories: Mammals, Birds, Scapes, Macro/Micro, Altered Reality

Pre-order price: $25

After 1/6/17: $32

Pre-order your printed copy today.

Congratulation to these outstanding nature photographers who will appear in Expressions 2017. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: Taking a dive

Story and photography by Jim Clark

Within the North American avian universe, no other bird is like the belted kingfisher. Its look is distinctive. Identifiable by its large bill, chunky body and slate-blue plumage, the belted kingfisher is a common sight along any clear open body of water, whether that be freshwater or tidal.

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Female belted kingfisher at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia. © Jim Clark

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NANPA Weekly Wow: Dec 12-18

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Crystal Cathedral – ice caves, Grand Island Ice Caves on Lake Superior © Todd Reed

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2016 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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Winter in Yellowstone

Story and Photography by D. Robert Franz

Steam and trees on Minerva Terraces in Yellowstone National Park at below zero

Steam and trees on Minerva Terraces in Yellowstone National Park at below zero © D. Robert Franz

Winter in Yellowstone National Park is a magical destination for nature and wildlife photographers. Yellowstone is a surreal world of snow, ice, steam, frost and fog. Winter is a time of solitude and tranquility. Summer crowds are long gone leaving the amazing scenic wonders and dramatic wildlife of the park accessible for serious and studied nature photography. I would assert Yellowstone during winter an absolute bucket list location for all nature photographers. Continue reading

FROM THE PRESIDENT OF NANPA

cbolt_portrait_jan2014Comedian David Sedaris is the author of several funny books. A personal favorite of mine is Me Talk Pretty One Day. To be honest, I can’t really remember much about the contents of the book (probably because I never finished reading it), but I can relate to the title. I find it hilarious and, hey, I’d also like to talk pretty one day.

Like most of you, I’ve probably spent way too much time thinking about how to make a good photograph. Me take pretty photo one day is a reasonable, if not somewhat Neanderthalish, mantra that has driven many of us stomping through the woods in search of that El Dorado of imagery: the pretty picture. I’m talking about a photo that you can hold up to your significant other as irrefutable proof that you had no other choice but to spend lots of money on camera gear throughout the year.

Oftentimes when I am loping after that mythical unicorn of photos for too long, my mind wanders. Usually, I start by daydreaming about documenting some rarely seen biological wonder. For you, it might be chasing a blood-red sunset punctured by a perfect “V” of waterfowl heading to their evening roost. Whatever your go-to vision is, you get the picture. I would say pun intended, but that’s just cruel, because we both know that we didn’t “get the picture.” It only exists in our head.

Do you ever wonder what might happen if we could just quiet our minds for a bit longer; push those distracting ideals of what we should be capturing to the side and just be open to the possibilities? Buddhists employ a practice called mindfulness to stay focused on the moment, avoiding unnecessary worry. Sometimes I experience a form of this when I collapse, winded and greedily sucking in air, after chasing after some six-legged critter for too long.

Almost without fail, it is in these moments of surrender when my mind is finally clear that wondrous things are revealed. I begin to take notice of subtle details that soon pull me from a point of frenetic energy to a rapturous examination of the small goings-on within the world around me. The photos that I make during this time surprise and delight me, because they come from a point of give and take.

To stretch a metaphor to its breaking point, it’s in these moments when I’m no longer talking pretty at nature, but rather engaging in a conversation with it. My mind becomes open to feedback and possibilities that I hadn’t entertained before. Perhaps next time I go out with my camera, I should just keep my mouth shut. It has become abundantly clear that the less I talk and think about my work, the better it seems to get.

Best Wishes,

Clay Bolt

NANPA Weekly Wow: Dec 5-11

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Early morning light at Borax Hot Springs., Borax Hot Springs, Alvord Desert, Oregon © Scott Smorra

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2016 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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