Finding Opportunities in the Silver Linings

Photo of resting elk, bugling. Throughout September and October, the elk will be in their mating season. This larger bull is one that can be found in the "city" herd in downtown Estes Park. His return in late August was a welcome sign of fall.
Throughout September and October, the elk will be in their mating season. This larger bull is one that can be found in the “city” herd in downtown Estes Park. His return in late August was a welcome sign of fall.

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Fall is my favorite season.

Although many people across North America aren’t even thinking about this colorful season, and won’t for several months, here in Colorado it has already started. The tundra started turning red and gold a couple of weeks ago. The bull elk have started bugling outside of my door here in Estes Park. The weather forecast is showing some really cool temperatures for the first week of September, providing some nice opportunities for frost and fog in the meadows. And I have already started to see some pops of gold on the aspen trees.

Photo of a lake before a tall  mountain framed by golden aspen trees. Although the wildfires have created too much smoke in the air lately for good landscape photography, I am hoping that the cooler temps and changing weather patterns will help the firefighters put out the the fires in Colorado. This shot of the fall colors in Rocky Mountain National Park is a reminder of the beauty that is coming in the next few weeks.
Although the wildfires have created too much smoke in the air lately for good landscape photography, I am hoping that the cooler temps and changing weather patterns will help the firefighters put out the the fires in Colorado. This shot of the fall colors in Rocky Mountain National Park is a reminder of the beauty that is coming in the next few weeks.

But as kids head back to school, there is still so much uncertainty about the coronavirus. Here in Colorado, there are four large wildfires burning through thick forest heavily damaged by pine beetles, including one fire going through prime moose habitat.

But it isn’t just Colorado that’s having a tough year. Not just one, but two hurricanes hit landfall in Louisiana. California, Arizona and other western states continue to battle wildfires. Protests continue to disrupt cities across the U.S.

The front page of the Denver Post recently featured a headline that said, “What next? An asteroid?”

It has been one heck of a year.

But watching the approaching autumn season gives me hope that things are still somewhat normal in the world, and that silver linings are out there if you have the courage to find them. As we continue to work through the obstacles set forth by the coronavirus, the board of directors and the staff at NANPA continue to look for new ways to educate, network and socialize with our members.

Bugling elk trotting through grass. This big bull was one of the early contenders in the 2019 rut. I am looking forward to seeing him again this year in Rocky Mountain National Park.
This big bull was one of the early contenders in the 2019 rut. I am looking forward to seeing him again this year in Rocky Mountain National Park.

A lot is being done online, like our alternative options for regional events, until we can safely be together in person. The Town Hall meetings were hugely popular and we are looking into similar options for social opportunities across the miles. We have released several new handbooks, like Photo Contest Secrets Revealed, just in time for the opening of the Showcase competition. (Get your entries in; you have until September 21, 2020.)

The newest program I’d like to announce is The Nature Photographer Podcast. This joint program with the team at Wild and Exposed Podcast will feature recorded conversations with NANPA members and the Wild and Exposed guys. With a focus on the photographer, we anticipate this new program to be informative yet fun and offer lots of great ideas for improving your photography. This is an exciting endeavor for NANPA and one that will get our organization and its members in front of a much larger audience. Look for more announcements about the first episode in the coming weeks.

So keep your chin up and keep thinking outside of the box. It may be cliché to say, but it is cliché because it is true. Let’s stay positive. We are in this together.