Events and Meetups

Take It All In And Give It All Back by Dewitt Jones

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by Dewitt Jones

I took the podium and looked out over the room: seven hundred men and women, some of the finest nature photographers in the world. This was the North American Nature Photographer’s Association’s (NANPA) Second Annual Forum and it was my job to bring it to a close.

That morning, I had holed up in my hotel room trying to come up with what I would say. My mind wandered back over my own career as a photographer — not so much the photographs but rather the experiences and the lessons I had learned.

I thought about the natural cycles I had so often witnessed while photographing – the seasons, the tides, the rising and setting of the sun. How many thousands of times I had I watched them? Like watching the smooth muscle of the planet — the things our little orb can’t help but do. Like watching the earth breathe.  

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Documenting Diversity: the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment

by Charles Hedgcock

 

During the revolution Martín Luis Guzmán rode the train through Navojoa and looked over at the sierra and felt what we all do when we see its green folds rising up off the desert. We all wonder what is up there and in some part of us, that rich part where our mind plays beyond our commands, we all dread and lust for what is up there.

-Charles Bowden, The Secret Forest

 

In 2009 the Tucson based environmental group “Sky Island Alliance” launched a visionary initiative to explore, document and protect one of the world’s premier biodiversity hotspots, the Madrean Archipelago of the North American continent. This 70,000 square-mile region of sky-island mountain ranges, surrounded by “seas” of desertscrub and grasslands, straddles the borderlands of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

Commonly referred to as the Sky Islands, the Madrean Archipelago is a globally unique region where several major biogeographic provinces overlap, creating a region of biological richness found nowhere else on Earth.  This richness caused Conservation International to name the region one of the world’s Biodiversity Hotspots in 2004.  Despite its proximity to the U.S. border, the Mexican portion of this remote and rugged area has received little biological study; thus the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment (MABA) was born, an international effort to study a globally important region.

Arizona Walking Stick

Arizona Walking Stick. © Charles Hedgcock

With support from U.S. and Mexican experts in the fields of botany, entomology, ornithology, herpetology, mammalogy, and other disciplines, MABA expeditions are truly international and provide an opportunity to collect critical biodiversity data, foster graduate and undergraduate research, raise awareness about conservation in the region and develop important relationships with landowners, and land managers, on both sides of the border.

I have had the good fortune of being invited to participate in the MABA expeditions as the lead photographer since its inception. I often accompany a herpetologist into the field and provide photographic vouchers of the reptiles and amphibians we encounter. In addition, I document habitat types and capture images of the biologist at work.

After a day in the field, I continue to photograph herpetological, botanical, and entomological specimens brought back to camp by other teams of biologists. These animals must all be photographed that evening so that they may be returned, unharmed, to their point of capture the next morning. My images not only help document the diversity of life found in these remote mountain ranges, but also help to tell the story of this amazing project, its expeditions, and the many people involved.

Major findings from MABA expeditions include the discovery ofseveral new plant species as well as documenting many plant species previously unknown to the state of Sonora. MABA entomologists continue to make new discoveries, documenting more than 10 species of invertebrates that are new to science. Range extensions for a variety of species are frequently recorded.

Green Ratsnake

Green Ratsnake; Sonora, Mexico. © Charles Hedgcock

One of the greatest achievements of the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment has been the development of a growing, online database of biodiversity. It is a remarkable natural history tool that provides access to the region’s foremost collection of specimen records and species observations for anyone seeking to learn more about the Sky Islands. This database currently contains nearly 78,000 animal records and almost 35,000 plant records for the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua.  These data represent the products of MABA research expeditions as well as data from herbaria, museum collections, agencies and scientific literature. The database (www.madrean.org) is freely accessible to all.

 

Charles Hedgcock will share his experiences working with the MABA project and discuss some of the techiques he uses to document the amazing diversity of life found during the numerous MABA expeditions at the 2015 NANPA Summit taking place in San Diego, California from February 19th – 22nd. To learn more about the Summit and to register for this program and others like it, please visit www.naturephotographysummit.com

2015 NANPA Summit

The 2015 NANPA Summit is shaping up to be a great event.

A star-studded group of keynote speakers include

  • Flip Nicklin
  • Frans Lanting
  • Nevada Wier
  • and Dewitt Jones

The breakout speakers vary from familiar names as well as new and emerging talent and plenty of viewpoints.

Topics include:

  • serious, hard-core Lightroom techniques
  • preparing work for fine art exhibits (including a look at the “before and after”)
  • how-to topics galore, such as landscape, birds and multimedia
  • plus conservation topics and personal projects.

The pre-Summit Boot Camp will be back and filled with how-to and inspiration.  For the working professionals, a Pro Day on Sunday will be packed with meaty business topics and discussion.  The tradeshow gives a chance to visit vendors offering products, tours and services.  More details are being worked out. But for now, put February 19-22, 2015 on your calendar. The 2015 NANPA Summit is an event not to be missed. 

Telluride Photo Festival Discounts for NANPA Members

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Telluride Photo Festival Discounts for NANPA members

Nestled in the heart of the of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado is a charming Victorian mining town surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. The main festival held October 2-5, 2014 is composed of seminars, speakers in the evening, panel discussions, networking events and portfolio reviews. This year’s festival features several workshops of interest of NANPA members: Mark Muench – Composed By Light, Ian Shive – National Parks Magazine Workshop, Jason Huston – Conservation Photography: Make Your Photos Matter. Bill Ellzey – Telluride’s Autumn Aspen Landscape. Visit the NANPA website at http://www.nanpa.org/member-discounts.php and login to the member area for a link to special NANPA discount passes and lodging. Morgan Heim (NANPA Board Member) and Gabby Salazar (NANPA President) will be attending the festival and will have a booth to represent NANPA.

Be ALIVE on Nature Photography Day!

How does nature photography awaken 23 top pros to the experience of being ALIVE?

By Paul Hassell, Founder of ALIVE Photo and Owner of Light Finds

ALIVE Photo – preview from Light Finds on Vimeo.

 

Nine years ago my life was irreversibly altered when I attended the NANPA Summit in Charlotte as a college scholarship recipient. My quiet dream was given breath and fanned into flame. It is the friendships I’ve formed with other NANPA photographers that have most influenced me on my path to becoming a pro nature photographer. In this community I have found continual inspiration, and I created ALIVE Photo to offer the public a taste of these rich friendships.

In a world of 24/7 social chatter via glowing screens we cradle with care, it is easier than ever to be distracted from total immersion in the solitude and power of wilderness. It’s easier than ever to lose focus on why we are even living this wild dream as nature photographers in the first place. In light of that, my interviews with these 23+ pro outdoor photographers explore the “why.” “Why do you do it?” “In what ways does photography personally affect your life?” “How does photography awaken you to the experience of being alive?”

For me, it was important to start with why. I could have asked these talented pros how they do the work they do. I could have asked what gear they use or what their secrets are for success. But I would not have touched the heart. ALIVE Photo is a celebration-song exploding from the hearts of those whose lives are captivated by the unquenchable pursuit of great light.

Some of the amazing photographers featured on ALIVE Photo!

Some of the amazing photographers featured on ALIVE Photo!

We need not incessantly contemplate our navels. It’s okay simply to play. But we would be wise to pause occasionally and reflect on what a life-changing gift it is to be one who photographs nature.

I hope that these simple interviews serve as a reminder to each of us about why we do this. It’s a radical gift to live in this present age, to have a camera, to have wilderness and to have a space where we can be transformed. Let’s celebrate Nature Photography Day on June 15th and give thanks for the experience of being alive. ALIVE.photography

Listen in as Rob Sheppard speaks on connection, Clay Bolt on seeing with fresh eyes, Carl Battreall on yearning to be remote and wild, and Amy Gulick on her life-long passion for storytelling. Next week you’ll hear from the ever-hilarious Joe and Mary Ann McDonald, and the week after that the beloved and contemplative Dewitt Jones. Sign up with your email address on the right column of the blog and be the first to know about our next pro.

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Celebrate Nature Photography Day on June 15th

June 15, Nature Photography Day:
A Weekend for You!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Eric Bowles.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Eric Bowles.

Here’s a weekend that’s hard to beat!

Sunday, June 15th, is Father’s Day. And it’s Nature Photography Day, celebrating nine years of discovery.

How to enjoy? Time and your imagination can be the best gifts for your Dad. Take your family to a gallery or museum exhibit of nature photographs. Or start a gallery at home—by displaying your images of plants, animals, and natural scenes.

Invite your Dad to experiment with photographs. Pick something in nature that you’ve never photographed before. Then capture that scene on Nature Photography Day.

Chances are you’ll find lots of ways to be creative—especially close to your home. The beach, a trail, or a garden might be just the right spot to photograph. Make it so memorable that you will want to bring your camera to the same place same time, every June 15th.

Remember to look for the Nature Photography Day Member Event on NANPA’s website—and our page on Facebook! Take images on June 15 and upload one for the event section.

For details, click here.

There’s more! Spread the news at your local library. Ask librarians to display the sign from our web page.

You can make a difference on Nature Photography Day—and bring value to your world!

Mark Your Calendars: NANPA Nature Photography Summit in California, February 19-22, 2015. Speakers and registration details will be coming soon, so watch your emails for more information.

 

WILD 10: Conference Report

 

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Story and Photographs by Avery Locklear

From Alaska to North Carolina, Mexico to South Africa, and everywhere in between, government leaders, indigenous peoples, scientists, oceanographers, writers, artists, and youth convened together in Salamanca, Spain for the 10th World Wilderness Congress (WILD10). The conference was held from the 4th – 10th of October and I was lucky enough to attend.

Launched by The Wild Foundation in 1977, the World Wilderness Congress is the world’s longest-running, international public conservation program and forum. Conservationists and environmentalists from around the world come together every four years to educate, train, network and share ideas on how to create a wilder world.

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NANPA Nature Photography Group of East Central Florida: A NANPA Meetup Group

Photographing Nature in the Park

Story and Photographs by Chuck Klos

During the last week of May of this year, an interesting question from NANPA appeared on my Facebook timeline asking, “Is anyone interested in a local NANPA Nature Photography Group?” to which I replied as quickly as I could, “Yes, in East Central Florida!” A few hours later, I was asked if I would like to be a NANPA Meetup Organizer for my area. It took me all of three seconds to say yes. Thus, on June 10, 2013, the second NANPA Nature Photography Group was launched here in East Central Florida (aka, The Space Coast).

Over the past year and a half, I experienced two long drives home from NANPA gatherings, first from the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Event and then again from the 2013 NANPA Summit. During both of those drives, the same thought played out in my mind: “Now what?”. It seemed that I would have to wait until NANPA offered another opportunity somewhere across the vast USA to gather and shoot with other NANPA members again. I didn’t know any NANPA Members near my home, or how to easily get in touch with members in my area. The NANPA Meetup Group Program solved this problem. And, the program also presents the valuable opportunity to introduce non-members to NANPA.

Organizing and hosting our nature photography group has been both easy and richly rewarding. Since June, we’ve held seven outings in differing settings and environments, focusing on close-up, landscape, flower, wildlife, and conservation photography. Attending members are enthusiastic and eagerly RSVP yes for upcoming Meetups. And, since our start in June, two of our regular attendees have become new NANPA members. That is really exciting!

Two outings that I particularly enjoyed include a trip to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, America’s first wildlife refuge established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and a trip into a section of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Of all of our outings, I most enjoyed leading folks into this special, historic corridor. There, we explored the ranchlands, sod farms, lakes and wildlife management areas that immediately adjoin the eastern boundaries of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Members were introduced to conservation photography, while recognizing and celebrating Florida’s ranchers and sod farmers who are helping to preserve vestiges of wild Florida environments.

A few closing thoughts:

- If you plan to visit central Florida and you’d enjoy participating in one of our outings, please contact me at meetup@nanpa.org. I’d be pleased to include you as my guest. You can check out the group website here.

- If you would like to join a NANPA Meetup Group, check out http://www.nanpa.org/meetup_groups.php to see if there is already a group in your area.

- If you have a passion for nature photography, a passion for NANPA, and an interest in connecting with other members (and non-members) in your area, I urge you to become a local NANPA Nature Photography Meetup Group Organizer. You can email me at meetup@nanpa.org to learn more!

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Meetup members at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Meetup members at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

 

© 2013 - North American Nature Photography Association
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