During a 1999 trip to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, Nate Chappell became serious about nature photography, and in 2007 he and his wife Angie decided to start a wildlife photography tour and workshop company, Trogon Photo Tours, http://www.trogontours.net/. The first tour they led was to Angie’s homeland of Ecuador. Since then, Nate has led many more bird and nature photography tours to South America as well as tours to South Africa, Namibia and Thailand and dozens of photo workshops in the United States. He has been on the staff of Nature Photographer‘s online magazine since 2007. During the course of his travels, which have included trips to all continents except Antarctica, Nate has photographed more than 1,700 species of birds. Nate’s images have regularly placed in the NANPA Showcase, Audubon’s top 100, Share the View Denver Audubon Society contest and other nature photography competitions. His images have been published in books and regularly in online publications. His stock agencies include Minden Pictures, Birdimagency and Vireo. Nate has given many photography presentations at photo clubs and Audubon Society chapters and enjoys speaking to groups of photography and nature lovers.
Do you work full time as a professional photographer?
I work about two-thirds of the time as a nature photographer and one-third in my finance and accounting business — two very different occupations. Previously, I taught tennis at racket clubs and finance/accounting at universities, so I came into the workshop arena with a fair amount of knowledge of teaching.
Do you have a specialty in your nature photography?
My subject specialties are birds and mammals. One thing about bird photography is it’s easy to find birds to photograph. Mammals, on the other hand, require either more effort or a trip to a special location. Whenever possible, I try to capture something of the behavior and action of the species in my images. I find these images much more interesting and impressive than portraits. I am somewhat of a specialist in action photography, particularly when photographing birds, but I won’t pass up a nice portrait.
How have you been involved in NANPA?
I have served as a portfolio reviewer at NANPA Summits where I enjoyed meeting several photographers, including students. I provided feedback on their images and how they might market their work. I also contribute to the NANPA blog and I always enter the NANPA Showcase contest.
How have you benefited from your membership in NANPA?
I have benefited from the many photographers who I have met through NANPA, some at NANPA events and others who have attended my workshops. I have certainly learned from some of these photographers as they have also learned from me. I also use the NANPA equipment insurance program.
Do you attend NANPA Summits? What do you gain from them?
I have attended NANPA summits. I always enjoy the keynote speakers and the speeches from famous photographers such as Frans Lanting, Steve Winter and others. I find their speeches and experiences inspirational, and I go home with a renewed interest in improving my own photography. As mentioned, I have also served as a portfolio reviewer and enjoy meeting other photographers. I have used both the trade show and the photographer sponsorship programs at the Summits to increase exposure to my company’s workshops and tours.
What are the highlights of your involvement in NANPA?
The accomplishment that I am most proud of with respect to my involvement with NANPA was having 10 images selected to the 2015 NANPA Showcase and Expressions publication including 7 of the top 100.
What goals do you have as a nature photographer?
My goals as a nature photographer are to help my workshop and photo tour students improve as photographers and take great images on our trips. In terms of my own personal photography, I am always trying to improve and develop my artistic vision. There are many wonderful subjects in the bird and mammal world that I have yet to photograph. I would love to see them through my own lens and then share the images with nature lovers. I hope my images give others added appreciation for the subjects and, in some respects help in their conservation. I would also like to become more involved in conservation of wildlife species and wild habitats.
How can NANPA help you to fulfill those goals?
NANPA helps me fulfill those goals through the photographers that I meet as a result of attending events and those NANPA members who attend my workshops. We learn from each other. In addition NANPA gives me another venue to share my photography through the annual showcase and other programs.