From Photography to Filmmaking: A New Column by Drew Fulton

My name is Drew Fulton and I am excited to introduce myself and announce a new column here on the blog that focuses on how we as nature photographers can start to make use of the video capabilities that is part of pretty much all modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras. I have spent the last few years focusing more and more on creating moving images in addition to my still photographs and I am excited to share some of my experiences and those of others here on the blog. Each month, this column will bring you articles about how to incorporate filmmaking into your own photography and specifically how that can be used to promote conservation. I will be writing a couple of article and curating guest posts by other individuals.

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Flip Nicklin: A Life Among Whales

Flip Nicklin is one of the featured keynote speakers at the 2015 NANPA Summit taking place in San Diego, California from February 19th – 22nd. Flip will also lead of one of the Pre-Summit Boot Camp sessions. To learn more about the Summit and to register for this exciting and inspirational event, please visit  www.naturephotographysummit.com. Early bird registration ends on October 31st! 

Humpback whale mother and young; Hawaii.

Humpback whale mother and young; Hawaii. © Flip Nicklin

 

Forty feet below me she hovers quietly. She’s 45 feet long and 80,000 pounds, and her bulk hides her 15-foot-long calf. The calf makes his way out from under her chin to take a few breaths at the surface. On his way back to his mother, the young humpback spots me near the research boat and gives me a good look. After 35 years of photographing cetaceans professionally, situations like this still bring a smile to my face.

The lives of whales aren’t always serene, though. Only a few days after I spot the mother with her calf, our research team finds a dozen male humpbacks fighting over a female. The battle is brutal; many of the whales have open bloody scrapes on the tops of their bodies. Despite whales’ occasional reputation as “gentle giants,” I would never use the word “gentle” to describe these violent, occasionally fatal encounters in the winter breeding grounds off the coast of Hawaii. Read the rest of this entry »

NATURE’S VIEW: Capturing a Sense of Place, Story and photographs by Jim Clark

Part II: What is a sense of place?

Road_to_Bear_Walla_07172014_HDR_SI_Painterly_2_Berwind_Lake_WMA_WV_(c)_Jim_Clark_01In Part I, we acknowledged that nature photographers of every skill level can achieve a sense of place in their photography. While a sense of place does not happen in every image, it is something nature photographers can strive to achieve in every image.

What do we mean by capturing a sense of place?

A sense of place expresses the essential character and spirit of a location—what makes it special or unique, such as its cultural or natural identity. It is a moment in time captured in an image where the viewer can sense being there. A sense of place may ignite a memory or spark an interest from the viewer who perceives the sights, sounds and/or aromas of the moment. A sense of place tugs at the heartstrings, enticing the viewer to want to be there. Read the rest of this entry »

NATIONAL PARKS: Everglades National Park, Story and photographs by Jerry Ginsberg

As cold weather approaches in northern climes, a nature photographer’s thoughts often turn to warm destinations for a winter photo trip.

Everglades National Park stays warm year-round. It includes 1.5 million acres on the southernmost tip of the Florida peninsula. Established just after World War II, Everglades protects the last remnant of a precious primal wetland from the land-hungry development and agriculture that has gobbled up the rest of South Florida.

Everglades

Everglades

The major characteristics here are dictated by the primordial flooding and resulting overflow of Lake Okeechobee every summer. All of this water makes its way southwest as the venerable and slow-moving “River of Grass.” More a shallow sheet of water than a conventional river, the life-giving liquid has created vast areas of sedges, tropical grasses and countless raised hammocks. Tiny islands of loose land pop up from the swampy river and support small trees that take advantage of the increased drainage provided by their slightly increased elevation.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

This fertile land is home to a variety of wild creatures. First among them are many species of birds: herons, egrets, ibises, hawks, anhingas, cormorants, coots, moorhens, gallinules, pelicans and the occasional osprey and roseate spoonbill. Many of these birds can be found and photographed nearly anywhere in the park.

In the relatively dry months of winter, water levels are low, and many birds congregate in and around the ponds along the roads. Check Mrazek and Eco ponds, Florida Bay and Snake Bight for spoonbills and the western islands and sandbars off Chokoluskee for white pelicans.

Royal Palm Alligator

Royal Palm Alligator

After the birds come the famous reptiles. While most folks are familiar with the alligators that populate this area, less well-known are the crocodiles. Both are near the limits of their ranges here, and the two comingle in the brackish waters—a unique combination of salt and fresh waters. A word of warning: While appearing slow and somewhat sluggish, these carnivores are capable of moving very quickly, so keep your distance!

Gators often hang out in the sloughs along the Anhinga Trail in the Royal Palm area, Nine Mile Lake, and along the tram roadway in Shark Valley. Crocodiles are seen infrequently. Your best bet is the waterways in the Flamingo area.

The fabled Florida panther with its severely dwindling numbers may or may not be present in the park. The likelihood of seeing one in the wild is virtually non-existent.

West Lake

West Lake

At any time of year, the best photography is available during the low-light hours of early morning and early evening. Winter is the dry season, so true storm light will likely be hard to come by. Still, these subtropical skies can be dramatic at any time. Some of the best spots for sunrise and early morning light are West Lake, Nine Mile Lake, Florida Bay and right along the road to Flamingo, the southernmost headquarters of the park. For late afternoon light, I favor Paurotis Pond and Eco Pond.

During your time in the Everglades, try taking the tram ride through Shark Valley and a boat tour from the visitor center in Everglades City. Explore Big Cypress National Preserve and less well-known (but worthwhile) Biscayne National Park, only a few minutes east of Homestead.

The close-by section of US highway 1 through Florida City and Homestead offers a good choice of lodgings and restaurants. Rent any regular passenger car in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami Airport if arriving by air. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and insect repellent.

Note: There has been a recent infestation of deadly Burmese pythons in the Everglades, so exercise extreme care.

Jerry Ginsberg is a widely published freelance photographer and co-founder of Master Image Workshops. He has photographed all 59 U.S. national parks as well as most of the parks of South America using medium-format cameras. More of Jerry’s work can be seen at www.JerryGinsberg.com. Email – jerrygi@comcast.net.

Nature and Travel Photography App by Two NANPA Members

New App by Images for Conservation Fund and Bill Gozansky

New App by Images for Conservation Fund and Bill Gozansky

News from NANPA Members John Martin and Bill Gozansky: 

John Martin, chairman of Images for Conservation Fund (ICF), announces the release of the new ICF Photo Guide to Nature & Travel Photography app for the iPad and Android tablets. The Photo Guide app illustrates professional photographic techniques for nature and travel photography. It is an intuitive, user-friendly field guide with rich photographic content, technical image data, and descriptive field notes designed to help users discover new photographic techniques and composition ideas. The app also has a “My Gallery” feature that allows the user to upload their images and personalized field notes to create their own interactive photography journal within the app.  Read the rest of this entry »

Want to Present at the 2015 NANPA Summit?

Call for Submissions for Lightning Talks – Deadline Extended to November 17th!

To All NANPA Members -

We are excited to announce a call for submissions for NANPA Lightning Talks, a new live program to take place at the 2015 NANPA Summit in San Diego, California.

NANPA Lightning Talks is a series of short (6 minute) presentations by members on Friday evening (February 20th).

This is an opportunity to share your work, projects and big ideas in front of the entire summit, including publishers, editors, stock agency representatives and your fellow photographers.

A team of judges will help select eight presenters from the applicant pool with the goal of representing diversity in subject matter, experience level, and age.

We hope this will be an exciting opportunity for our members to share stories and for the audience to enjoy an hour packed with stunning imagery and inspiring ideas.

This is an open call for applications to all current NANPA members. We invite you to submit your idea (instructions below) by November 17th. We will notify selected presenters by December 5th.

Judging Criteria:
- Quality of Images Submitted
- Uniqueness of Subject Matter, Idea, or Topic (could be a new approach to an older topic)
- Applicant’s speaking experience

Topics should fall under themes such as:
- Expeditions
- Life changing idea or meaning found through photography
- Stories of wildlife or place
- Environmental Issues
- Innovative approaches to photography and the worlds they reveal
- Innovations or innovative ways to seeing with photography

What to submit?
Please send the following information to publications@nanpa.org:
- 10 sample images illustrating your idea – should be images you would plan to use in the presentation (low resolution jpegs less than 1 MB each)
- Proposed title of presentation
- 200 word pitch that focuses on what you plan to talk about in your presentation
- 200 word bio that includes relevant speaking experience
- Supporting links which may include past presentations, publications or other relevant material you think we should consider (5 max.)

And, please remember to register for the NANPA Summit soon (www.naturephogoraphysummit.com) – Early Bird Registration ends October 31st!

Sincerely,
Lightning Talks Team
Morgan Heim and Gabby Salazar
publications@nanpa.org

FIELD TECHNIQUES: The Snowless days of winter, Story and photographs by FM Kearney

S-217Winter is a time when many nature photographers look forward to photographing snow-covered landscapes, hanging icicles, frozen waterfalls and other wintry sights. But, what if the winter is mild and these types of scenes are difficult to find?

Such was the case a few years ago in New York. The winter saw only a dusting of snow, and temperatures rarely dropped below freezing. There were no pastures of puffy powder, nor fields of frozen fantasies. Read the rest of this entry »

South Texas for the Wildlife Photographer by Jeff Parker

Painted bunting by Jeff Parker

Painted bunting by Jeff Parker

Images and text by Jeff Parker

The desolate landscape of the South Texas Brush Country doesn’t look like much, but the biodiversity makes it one of North America’s best places for wildlife photography. It definitely ranks high on my list!

Scientists classify South Texas as a “semi-arid, sub-tropical” region. The result? Lots of wildlife! That includes a large number of bird species living at the far northern edges of their ranges.

Many—e.g. Kiskadee, Green Jay, Audubon’s Oriole, Couch’s Kingbird—are known as “South Texas Specialties.” And spring migration dramatically boosts the number of photogenic subjects that fly your way. By the end of April the summer breeders, such as Painted Buntings, Varied Buntings, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have arrived.

The best photography occurs when the animals grow hot and thirsty and flock to water to drink and cool off. Painted Buntings, in particular, really like their baths! This makes late-May and June prime photography time in the South Texas Brush Country.  Read the rest of this entry »

PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECT: Mountaintop Removal – Story and photographs by Carl Galie

Eight billion gallons

Eight billion gallons

I thought I knew all there was to know about strip mining, since I grew up in coal country in a mining family and even spent some time selling truck parts to the mining industry early in my career. Then in 2009, I was invited by members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and St. Vincent’s Mission to go on a tour of a mountaintop removal (MTR) site in Floyd County, Kentucky, with a group of students from Berea College. I was not prepared for what I saw that morning.

Yes, it was a strip mine. But it was a strip mine on steroids. It went on for miles. At the end of the tour, I was asked by Sister Kathleen Weigand from St Vincent’s Mission if I would consider doing a book on MTR, and I immediately said yes.

New River 1

New River 1

Approximately 500 mountains and more than 2,000 miles of streams already had been destroyed by MTR throughout the southern Appalachians. My research revealed that MTR was not an isolated problem in Kentucky. It had affected all of coal country. Furthermore, legislation passed to accommodate the coal industry had the potential to affect water quality across the United States, making MTR a national problem.

A number of scientific papers were published in 2009 on the impact MTR was having on the waters of Appalachia and public health. President Obama had just taken office, and I expected that the EPA would finally be allowed to do its job and put an end to this mining practice. I was wrong, and six years later, MTR is still going strong.

Since the purpose of my project was to raise awareness and educate the public about MTR, I decided that a book—added to several books and powerful documentaries I knew were already in production—might not be the best way for me to get the story out. I decided to take my project in a slightly different direction: a fine art exhibit that would focus on the beauty of the region and what could be lost.

I reasoned that a traveling art exhibit could reach a different and broader audience and have a better chance to be viewed—not only by those against MTR, but also by those supportive of the mining industry. I partnered with Appalachian Voices and The New River Conservancy, two organizations working to protect the region, and with SouthWings—an NGO (nongovernmental organization) located in Asheville, North Carolina, which provided my flights. Funding for the exhibit came from grants provided by Art for Conservation and The Blessings Project Foundation.

Lost on the road to oblivion

Lost on the road to oblivion

In 2013, the exhibit, “Lost on the Road to Oblivion, the Vanishing Beauty of Coal Country,”opened at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University. I collaborated with then-poet laureate of North Carolina, Joseph Bathanti, and the exhibit included 13 of Joseph’s poems in addition to 59 of my prints.

Joseph’s and my collaboration continues, and he has agreed to write poems about more of the prints in the exhibit. We are currently working on exhibit scheduling for 2015-2016. Oh, and remember the book that got the project going? We’re revisiting that idea as well.

Carl Galie is a North Carolina photographer who has worked on conservation issues for the past 19 years. Carl was awarded the first Art for Conservation Grant in August 2010 for his project “Lost on the Road to Oblivion, The Vanishing Beauty of Coal Country.” In March 2014, Carl received Wild South’s Roosevelt-Ashe conservation award for journalism for his work documenting mountaintop removal of coal in the Appalachians.

NATIONAL PARKS: Redwood National Park – Story and photographs by Jerry Ginsberg

Two Redwoods on Damnation Creek Trail

Two Redwoods on Damnation Creek Trail

 

Many of our national parks are found at northern latitudes, high elevation or both, and it is not always easy finding a weather-friendly location for winter shooting. If you are looking to schedule a winter shoot, Redwood National Park, flush against northern California’s Pacific Coast, should be considered. With ocean currents warming the land, the resulting mild climate can make the park a great winter photo destination. Each year is different, of course, but December in this part of the state can be delightful.

Redwood National Park is a patchwork of state parks and federal lands cobbled together to form a fragmented and spread-out whole. The various components are stitched together by U.S. Route 101, which runs right along the edge of the land where it meets the blue Pacific. Read the rest of this entry »

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