Story and photos by Tom Haxby, NANPA Board President
It is an understatement to say that these are unprecedented times, but we nature photographers are a hardy bunch. We’re accustomed to physical and intellectual challenges in our pursuits of excellent visual stories. And this isn’t the first time we’ve weathered the need to re-imagine how we do business.
In short, you’ve got this, and NANPA is still here to help.
What we know best
As nature photographers, we have a keen eye for the beauty that others can easily take for granted or completely overlook. There’s a secret lake near my home in northern Michigan where loons return each year to breed, blooming water lilies attract pollinators, eagles soar, wood warblers either pass through or stay the summer, northern leopard frogs abound, dragonflies dart about, and…need I add more?
You know places like this, too—in your own backyard, or a short walk away. Sometimes the best places to photograph are those closest to home, because you know when to go and where to look. But it’s still fun to experiment there, to try to see it differently, or discover something new when you look more closely.
Maybe NANPA is a bit like that secret lake, a place that’s familiar and comfortable but also offers surprises you’ve never noticed, never needed, or never had time to explore until now.
Maybe you participated in recent webinars by Steve Gettle—learning more about high speed nature photography or stop-action techniques for nature photographers. Or the fascinating presentation Getting the Most from Your Long Lens by Bob Coates. If you missed the live presentations but are a NANPA member, you can still watch the recordings of these and many other webinars in the member’s area of the NANPA website.
You’ll also want to save the date for Keeping Nature and Wildlife Photography Simple and Fun presented by Douglass Owen on April 16, at 6:00 EDT. A former park ranger, Douglass will have lots of tips to help you hone your naturalist skills.
If you’re a NANPA member, you can also propose a webinar that you’d like to lead. This might be a great way to expand your skill set or attract new followers for your own e-learning offerings.
E-Handbooks and Blog Articles
If you’re thinking about conservation photography, check out our Conservation Handbook for getting-started tips. Additional e-handbooks on ethical field practices, underwater photography, and the business of nature photography are in the pipeline.
Our blog is also full of outstanding articles written by NANPA members on everything from camera settings to business advice. If working remotely with colleagues, clients, and fans is new territory for you, or if you’re thinking about moving elements of your workshops, photo tours, classes, or presentations online, take a look at the post by our Membership Director, Teresa Ransdell, on connecting virtually. She presents some great ideas for keeping your business going in these times when face-to-face or group meetings are curtailed.
Nature Photography Day
This summer we celebrate 15 years of Nature Photography Day on June 15, a day designated for public awareness and enjoyment of nature and nature imagery. Take your camera to your backyard, a local park, or somewhere you have wanted to explore nearby but have never quite found the time to photograph. We’ll again host a contest to encourage everyone to get outside during the month of June to take nature photos. So there’s another incentive to use the present time to learn a new skill, experiment with new techniques or subjects, or master post-processing.
Speaking of contests, it will not be long before NANPA’s annual Showcase competition is upon us. Perhaps now is a good time to start sorting through your best images. Submissions open August 1 of each year.
When it’s safe to travel and join other nature photographers in the field, we will resume those activities as well. We currently have regional events scheduled in Grand Teton National Park in September, North Carolina’s spectacular Outer Banks in October, and Badlands National Park in May/June of 2021.
We’re also busy planning the next Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show in Tucson, Arizona, April 28-May 2, 2021. Our Summits are widely known as inspirational events that bring together the world’s top nature photographers, and the 2021 Summit is shaping up to be one of the best.
Perhaps celebrating nature means that you want to learn more about how to tell a conservation story with your photography.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ways in which you can connect with other nature photographers and share your images on our social media platforms. Consider joining our Facebook Group or posting on your own Instagram account with the hashtag #nanpapix. Our Instagram curators look for that tag when selecting work to feature on the NANPA account.
Whatever you do during the coming weeks, please stay safe, and do everything you can to be a part of the solution to the coronavirus pandemic. We will get through this, and there will be better days ahead.
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