Happy Holidays!

Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.
Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and opted to be outside for Black Friday.

As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect back on the ups and downs of the year.

Because of the coronavirus, our lives came to a standstill early in the year and plans significantly changed and evolved. They still keep changing, and planning for 2021 remains difficult.

All of my workshops were canceled or postponed to 2021, as were many for our members. All of my in-person classes were canceled, but Zoom provided an alternative that opened up the ability to teach to a larger audience (and reconnect via happy hours with my sorority sisters back in New Jersey and other states).

We were ordered to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID, yet it became a business opportunity to sell masks with my photos.

Although my workshops were all removed from the 2020 calendar, I used the time to put towards being president of NANPA and start a website redesign. I pitched new story ideas about how our life changed, making 2021 look pretty good for published pieces.

Along with brown bears, I had to reschedule my Polar Bears of Churchill workshop to 2021.
Along with brown bears, I had to reschedule my Polar Bears of Churchill workshop to 2021.

I missed my bears in Alaska this year but took the time to add new national parks to my list. I lost my 15-year-old husky, Sage, but rescued a husky puppy, Kealy, who has been a fun and energetic addition to our family.

I also completed my first solo-backpacking trip.

We can dwell on the bad stuff or find the silver linings.

NANPA too faced challenges this year, but new opportunities arose that we took advantage of for our members. We learned that flexibility and persistence could help you succeed.

How did you persist and overcome the challenges this year? I know many of our members had unbelievable success with various projects, like Nate Luebbe’s project to film the Northern Lights from a weather balloon (hear his interview on the December 8, 2020, episode of The Nature Photographer Podcast). Jaymi Heimbuch and Morgan Heim launched Her Wild Vision Initiative, a directory for female nature photographers. William Neill is close to releasing his new book, Light on the Landscape, a collection of his “On Landscape” essays for Outdoor Photographer. Tim Boyer released his new self-published title, The Bird Photographer’s Guide to Bosque del Apache. And these are just a few of the examples of the great work our members have produced in this unique year.

Keep letting our membership and marketing teams know about your projects. There may be ways to share the news, like writing a blog or being interviewed on the podcast.

So keep up the great work. The New Year will certainly provide a lot more hope for a better tomorrow.

Do you have ideas for events or topics you want to learn more about? Reach out to us through our contact form

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” —Henry David Thoreau

Let’s stay positive. We are in this together.

Merry Christmas!