FIELD TECHNIQUE: Working the Subject, Story and photographs by F.M. Kearney

If there was ever a Superbowl for floral photography, it would most likely be held in April. Flowers are blooming almost everywhere you look. Framing these little wonders of nature is usually a straightforward decision of using a vertical or horizontal composition. Occasionally, however, you may come across a subject that refuses to play nice and be placed in a neat little box.

Before you actually begin shooting, it’s a good idea to walk around first and survey the scene for the most promising subjects. This tight cluster of white Easter lilies in a botanical garden eventually caught my attention.

KearneyDL-311 Read the rest of this entry »

The Bio Blitz Concept For Photography by Kevin Fitzpatrick

Bio Blitz © Kevin FitzPatrick

Bio Blitz © Kevin FitzPatrick

Text and Images by Kevin FitzPatrick

A Bio Blitz is a short (usually one-day), intense team effort to discover as many different life forms as possible in one location. This often involves researchers and the general public working together to identify as many species as possible in a 24-hour period. To date, I have photographed over 45 Bio Blitzes from California to Maine and have done four with National Geographic.

For me, the Bio Blitz compasses all that I want to communicate to my audience about conservation and biodiversity and is a wonderful way to communicate with students and their parents about science! Depending on where they live, young people might get a chance to try their hand at species identification, photography, wildlife sketching, writing about nature, or the discovery of the natural history of their area. No two Bio Blitzes will be the same, as each one will be a reflection of the local environment. It is an opportunity for youth to not only enhance their appreciation of the environment through photography, art and exploration, but also to engage in true citizen science. This can be done through the iNaturalist Mobile Application, which makes use of the Encyclopedia of Life’s Species Collections, allowing participants to document species and upload their observations to a collective map that is available freely online. Read the rest of this entry »

NANPA VOLUNTEER: Danita Delimont

VOLUNTEER-Danita Delimont-2-2011Danita Delimont is a photo agent representing worldwide travel, nature and culture from 300 globally based photographers. She is CEO and founder of Danita Delimont Stock Photography. Danita brings more than 25 years of experience in licensing stock images to a broad base of editorial, travel and advertising clients. Owning and evolving a specialist library on her own terms—and being able to make sound decisions based on her experience in the industry—has been a win-win for anyone working with Danita. She received the prestigious Jane Kinne Picture Professional of the Year Award in 2009 by the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP), and NANPA honored her with a Fellows Award in 2007. Danita has served as a judge in various photo competitions and as a guest instructor at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and Seattle Central Community College. The agency website is Read the rest of this entry »

ALIVE Photo by Paul Hassell


Check out this awesome new project from Paul Hassell, a NANPA member and former NANPA College Scholarship Recipient. Have a project you want to share on the blog with NANPA Members? Email 


You can join Pro Photographers in the Field, From Home!

I have a dream. I want to build a bridge connecting the top pros in our industry with everyday hobbyists with cameras. The real goal is to get people outdoors to connect with nature. After more than a year of building our team and working hard behind the scenes, the stars have aligned, the timing is perfect, and the world has said, “WE WANT THIS!” That’s exactly where we are right now with ALIVE Photo on Kickstarter with just 2 days left in the campaign!



Pledge to reserve your seat in the online classroom before Sunday March 22nd at You can even steal a LIFETIME membership that we’ll NEVER offer again. For less than the price of a weekend photo workshop. 2 days left to act on it!

After seeing the video above you are certainly excited, but you likely want to know more. Please read on.



A decade ago I was brought into the NANPA community as a wide-eyed college student through the life-altering college scholarship program. I was introduced to leading names and top editors in our industry by the program’s selfless leaders like Mark Lukes, Linda Helm, Ronnie Mabou, and Alice Robertson to name a few. I have been mentored by many greats in our industry including my hero and one of this year’s Keynote speakers Dewitt Jones.

With a burning passion for teaching and getting people connected to nature with their cameras, ALIVE Photo has formed. It’s a big effort and there are a couple dozen people working on it. It’s way beyond me at this point.

You might recall seeing our post last year about the interviews discussing WHY these 35 pros do what they do. Well, this business launch on Kickstarter will begin the next phase of teaching HOW they do what they do. Lessons are filmed on location around the world, and brought to your home over the internet in our online classroom where you can interact with other students about each lesson.



I believe you will really enjoy the video below where I explain how it works.



I urge you to consider backing the project. This will “reserve your seat” for the first year beginning June 2015. Cost is just $110 until Sunday. Double that if you wait until June 2015.



You can see all of the pledging levels and what your corresponding rewards are on the Kickstarter page. But I will mention that we have a few LIFETIME memberships left at the $450 level. We will never offer that option again. See you over on Kickstarter!

Thanks for making ALIVE Photo a reality and participating in waking the world up the the experience of being ALIVE through nature photography.


Paul Hassell

PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECT: World View of Global Warming, Story and photographs by Gary Braasch

National Science Foundation icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer cruises at dusk in the Antarctic Peninsula on a mission to understand ice shelf changes over the last 15,000 years by looking at sediment core samples. This photograph made from outside the bridge deck with a one- or two-second exposure. A motor drive was used to ensure that at least one frame would be sharp, given the various vibrations of the ship.

National Science Foundation icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer cruises at dusk in the Antarctic Peninsula on a mission to understand ice shelf changes over the last 15,000 years by looking at sediment core samples. This photograph made from outside the bridge deck with a one- or two-second exposure. A motor drive was used to ensure that at least one frame would be sharp, given the various vibrations of the ship.

Eighteen years ago I sat in a tent on the foggy Alaska tundra with fellow photographer Gerry Ellis when the idea to photograph climate change science came to me. It might have been just an idle idea born of boredom. But I used my connections from previous assignments that documented nature science and reviewed what scientists were learning about global warming (which was not being well-photographed), so I broached the idea with some editors. Read the rest of this entry »

Conservation Photography: Art Born to Protect our Planet by Cristina Mittermeier

Image © Cristina Mittermeir

Image © Cristina Mittermeier

By Cristina Mittermeier

The concept of conservation photography was first proposed out of the need to make a distinction between the creation of images for the sake of photography, and the creation of images to serve the purpose of conserving nature.

Conservation photography showcases both the beauty of our planet and its vanishing spirit, and represents the “pictorial voice” used by many organizations and corporations to further their messages about sustainability. Nature photography, documentary photography, and photojournalism are all part of conservation photography.

The creation of images that inspire and move people to change behaviors and take action requires an understanding of the issues. Anyone can purchase the equipment, travel to interesting regions and learn the secrets of wildlife behavior. What may not be purchased is the empathy and sense of urgency necessary to create awe-inspiring images that move people to take the necessary actions that ensure that the wild world persists. Photographic talent, when combined with environmental concern and scientific understanding and the ability to tell a story, make a fine recipe for conservation photography.

With the exception of the most technical, peer-reviewed scientific journals, photographs are the most necessary and constant element of conservation communications. Be it to document, demonstrate, compare, or inspire, images are an indispensable element of the conservation toolbox. Beyond inspiration, the critical importance of photography lies in its ability to bear witness, to build constituencies of support or opposition to environmental challenges, and to create political pressure that encourages change. The job of the photographer is to shine a light on issues and matters that would otherwise remain invisible. Photography is essential in the crafting and delivery of messages, and high quality, ethically-produced imagery cannot be underestimated.

Por el Planeta is a new Wildlife, Nature & Conservation Photo Competition that wishes to recognize the dedication, skill, and talent of those photographers who strive to create images that infuse society with understanding and care for our shared natural heritage. #PlanetaPhoto is currently open for entries. More than just a contest, it’s a global effort to make a change for the planet. I invite you to visit the website for more information and to enter. Registration ends on the 27th of March! 

firmas ARCA compatible


Image © Peter Dombrovskis

Image © Peter Dombrovskis

Image © Peter Dombrovskis

Image © Peter Dombrovskis

NATIONAL PARKS: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Story and photographs by Jerry Ginsberg

Soldiers' Trail, SNP

Soldiers’ Trail, SNP

Horses and mule pack trail, King's Canyon

Horses and mule pack trail, King’s Canyon

While most of our 59 national parks stand very well on their own, a few can be viewed better when combined with another. One good example of this is the pairing of Sequoia National Park (SNP) and Kings Canyon National Park (KCNP) in central California’s Sierra Nevada Range. They have been jointly administered since 1943.

SNP was established in 1890 to protect several stands of giant sequoia (Sequoia gigantium) trees. The park originally included a portion of present-day KCNP. KCNP exists because of the singular beauty of the glacially carved canyon of the Kings River, a special favorite of legendary conservationist John Muir.

The shape of the road system through these two parks is similar to that of a horseshoe. The road enters from Three Rivers in the south as Route 198 and from the north as Route 180. Once within the parks, these roads are collectively called the Generals Highway commemorating some of the very biggest of the giant sequoias. What may not necessarily be apparent is that most of the KCNP portion of the road—including a good part of the section along the South Fork of the Kings River—actually passes through the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument rather than the national park itself. Read the rest of this entry »

The Magic of Flowers by Donna Eaton

I wanted to capture all the interesting & beautiful details of this Dahlia so I chose an aperture of f/32 and filled the frame with the flower. Nikon 105mm lens, tripod, 1/30sec. f/32 ISO800. ©Donna Eaton

I wanted to capture all the interesting & beautiful details of this Dahlia so I chose an aperture of f/32 and filled
the frame with the flower. Nikon 105mm lens, tripod, 1/30sec. f/32 ISO800. ©Donna Eaton

Text and Images by Donna Eaton

When first entering a flower garden I begin to enjoy the colors, the smells and the beauty that surrounds me. As I explore the garden I start to really concentrate on the individual flowers and start the to see all the wonderful details. Flowers are a lot like people. They have faces, quirks, flaws and unique characteristics that give them personality. I look for the ones that have that something “special”. Maybe it’s just a petal that’s curved a certain way, or a color that is irresistible. As a former ballet dancer, I am drawn to the flowers that have a sense of movement and that give me the feeling that they are “dancing”. Read the rest of this entry »

NATURE’S VIEW: Photographing the Virginia Rail of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Story and photographs by Jim Clark

The notes of the rail came loudly to my ear, and on moving toward the spot whence they proceeded, I observed the bird exhibiting the full ardor of his passion. Each time it passed before her, it would pause for a moment…and bow to her with all the grace of a well-bred suitor of our own species.—John James Audubon, 1840

What Audubon witnessed is something most folks will never see as this secretive marsh bird is heard more than it is seen. In 1926, ornithologist Arthur Cleveland Bent wrote this about how to see a Virginia rail: “Take up one’s station near a pond or marsh frequented by them and watch patiently, silently, and immobile….” Wow, patience. What a concept.

Virginia rail at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland.

Virginia rail at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland.

Read the rest of this entry »

7 Tips for Air Travel with Gear by Jeff Parker

© Jeff Parker

© Jeff Parker

Image and text by Jeff Parker

1) Disguise your gear. 

You don’t want your bag to scream “Expensive photography equipment inside!” so make sure it looks like any other bag—or, make it look worse (perhaps you can even have a bit of fun making it look “extra” undesirable).  Cover up or remove any easily recognizable logos like “Canon” or “Nikon.”  A bit of black electrical tape works well. 

2) Invest in the right bag.

When it comes to photography, it seems you can spend money endlessly, but I discovered through lots of experience that having the right bag for your gear constitutes money well-spent. And it’s even better money well-spent when the bag has wheels and when your “personal item” bag (e.g. your camera backpack or laptop case) has heavily padded straps. With that said, always double-check that your flight won’t be on a commuter-sized plane requiring you to check in that carry-on bag!

3) Bring only what you need.

Find out the carry-on weight allowance and work backwards from there. If you’re really organized you can keep a list of how much each piece of equipment weighs and tally it up as you pack (beginning with the weight of your bag, of course). Think in terms of what you’ll primarily photograph rather than what your secondary subject will be and pack accordingly. If you’re not sure, ask your photo-tour operator what equipment he/she recommends. 

4) Carry on all but the tough stuff.

Lugging your gear around as carry-on can get tiring so, after a while, checking it in might get tempting. When temptation arises, watch workers load and unload luggage from a plane; that should convince you to check-in only your toughest stuff (such as your tripod and head).

5) Prepare for security.

As you prepare for security open camera cases and any other equipment bags to make everything visible.  That minimizes handling of your sensitive gear by curious security-line personnel.  And don’t worry about memory cards; simply traveling through the conveyor belt won’t hurt them. 

6) Get on first.

When making reservations, request a seat near the back of the plane as these rows normally board first.  (Note: There is now one airline that boards aisle seats last no matter what the seat number is, so it’s best to check with the airline when booking.)  Now that airlines charge for checked-in bags, passengers tend to push the “carry-on” limit to the limit – this makes overhead-bin space not only tough to find, but tough to procure close by. With thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment inside, you definitely want your bag not only safely secured but secured in sight.  

7) Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes.

Remember to carry-on a change of clothing (and a toothbrush!) in case your checked-in luggage doesn’t arrive when you do.  In doing so, think in terms of what you can “pack” into the clothing you’re wearing.  You don’t want to be uncomfortable, but you might be able to store a few items in a photo vest that you are wearing to save on other carry-on space. A clean T-shirt fits into a large pocket (and doubles nicely as an appreciated small pillow or arm-rest padding on a long, international flight).


For more from Jeff Parker and Explore in Focus, check out his website and Facebook page. Jeff leads photo tours around the world and has upcoming workshops in Texas, Costa Rica and many other great locations. 

© 2013 - North American Nature Photography Association
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