NANPA News

Observing an Osprey’s Pursuit by Robert Strickland

© Robert Strickland

© Robert Strickland

Images and Text by Robert Strickland

I recently observed one of the greatest nature shows I had ever witnessed. I was over at a subdivision near my home, which has good-sized pond. I was there to photograph water birds and other water fowl that frequent the pond. While I was setting up and watching for subjects, I kept hearing an Osprey cry out. I soon discovered him on the top of a tree just across the pond from me.

As I was focusing my eye on him, he swiftly took off and climbed high above the pond. The osprey suddenly went into a hover, staring into the water below. Finding nothing, he started flying around in circles, and then went back into a hover, moving side to side, hovering, and then going around in circles. After a few moments, he did a free fall toward the water. I immediately swung my camera to capture the aggressive splash and watched him fly off with a fish. However, the fish he picked was much too big and he could not immediately get it out of the water. He was stranded with his wings spread, trying to stay afloat with a huge fish in his razor sharp talons. After a few moments of struggling, he was airborne and flew off with his catch. However, he only got to the edge of the pond because the fish was so big.

Read the rest of this entry »

NATIONAL PARKS – Yosemite in Winter, Story and photographs by Jerry Ginsberg

Cathedral Spires

Cathedral Spires

Most of us are familiar with Ansel Adams’s iconic black-and-white images of Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada Range. Adams considered the park to be “one of the great shrines of the world.” His images almost singlehandedly elevated landscape photography to recognition as a true art form.

Knowing that May and June are the months when Yosemite’s waterfalls are running at their heaviest is hardly news. But how many of us have considered Yosemite to be a prime winter photo destination? At only 4,000 feet of elevation, Yosemite Valley often gets better winter weather than many other spots in the Sierras. February can be magical here. Read the rest of this entry »

Making a Molehill out of a Mountain by Mitch Baltuch

An arctic ground squirrel posing in Denali National Park.  It is sitting surrounded by tundra vegetation at the height of fall color in late August. Photo by Mitch Baltuch.

An arctic ground squirrel posing in Denali National Park. It is sitting surrounded by tundra vegetation at the height of fall color in late August. Photo by Mitch Baltuch.

Text and Images by Mitch Baltuch

With the advent of digital photography, the proverbial shoebox moved from cardboard to silicon. The computer, or more correctly, the hard drive, became the shoebox. Along with this change came a significantly larger amount of images. The cost of film and processing no longer applied and everyone felt very comfortable in both shooting more images and using the high-frame rate capture setting on their camera. The result: a huge mountain of images. For many, this meant a mountain of chaos if they did not have a workable digital image management strategy.

Interestingly, with the advent of workflow-centric software tools, it is easier than ever to manage the images we capture and provide rapid, efficient search capabilities that allow us to find any image, for any purpose, in a very small amount of time. In addition, while not exactly fun, the job is no longer the mind-numbing, tedious task that it used to be.

To make a molehill out of the mountain that is digital image management, there are two requirements:

  • An image management workflow
  • A complimentary tool that allows one to efficiently perform that workflow

Read the rest of this entry »

PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECT: Where Water is Gold – Story and photographs by Carl Johnson

0912-BRBY-AK-2333The Bristol Bay region of Alaska has five major river systems. It is home to the largest wild sockeye salmon runs in the world and 50 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon supply. A massive proposed copper and gold mine development, the Pebble Mine, lies at the headwaters of two of the five rivers. Three years ago, I set out to document the subsistence way of life that has thrived in Bristol Bay for thousands of years and photograph the economic engines of the region—from commercial sockeye salmon and herring fishing to backcountry recreation, such as camping, fishing and bear viewing.

I embarked on this project for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to create a strong visual tool to aid in the fight to prevent this mine from being developed. As a former attorney, I had been involved in legal fights against the mine. When I left my law practice, I wanted to use my photography to continue being involved in the fight. With the help of Amy Gulick, author/photographer of Salmon in the Trees, I decided a book was the way to go. Braided River will release my book, Where Water Is Gold: Life and Livelihood in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, in 2016. Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Community in NANPA by Mark Kreider

Photo by Mark Kreider

Photo by Mark Kreider

Text and Images by Mark Kreider

I have been a NANPA member for a year and a half. Even in that short time, NANPA and its supportive community have influenced me in many meaningful ways. Life seems to be full of wonderful flukes, and my introduction to NANPA was one such instance. One morning in November of 2012, when I was a high school senior, I received word from a fellow photographer of a great photographic opportunity that existed for high school students. Though just three days away from the deadline of NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program application, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I quite honestly remember thinking it looked too good to be true – a chance to spend a week in the field and at the NANPA Annual Summit, all the while learning and being inspired. I wondered to myself a little incredulously, How could I not have heard of NANPA before? It looks awesome! Read the rest of this entry »

VOLUNTEERS OF NANPA: Conrad Obregon

Photographer ObregonConrad Obregon was born in Chicago and raised in New York City. He started taking photographs in 1951 and bought his first Nikon SLR in 1961. “My principal genre is birds,” he says, “and while I have had a few shows and sold some images, I consider myself an amateur.” Conrad photographs in New York City’s Central Park every week of the year, but he’s also traveled as far as Japan and Central America for photography. Read the rest of this entry »

Montana’s HWY 1, The Pintler Scenic Byway by Pam W. Barbour

Flint Creek by Pam Barbour

Flint Creek by Pam Barbour

Text and Images by Pam W. Barbour

While looking at a map of Montana, if you draw a diagonal line between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the center of that line nears a special place called the Pintler Scenic Byway (recently renamed the Pintler Veterans Memorial Scenic Byway). This byway is about 60 miles long and unlike many byways in Montana, it’s completely paved for its entire length. This scenic spur gives you a break from interstate driving but at the same time doesn’t deviate too far so you can get back on track if you’re headed somewhere specific. Also known as MT HWY 1, it was the first state highway to be paved. Going east on I-90 from Missoula, you can start at the north end of the byway in the town of Drummond. Going west on I-90 from Butte, you can start at the south end near the town of Anaconda. We’ll start in Drummond. Read the rest of this entry »

NANPA Black Friday – Cyber Monday Specials! 50% off NEW Membership

NANPA Black Friday Facebook-3

Image by Christina Evans, taken at the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve. To learn more about the preserve, go to: http://www.kissimmeeprairiefriends.org

 

Our organization is committed to growing its membership and is offering for the first time ever some Black Friday-Cyber Monday specials that you may be interested in (see http://www.nanpa.org/black-friday.php for more details!).

Purchase a Gift NANPA Membership
Give the gift of NANPA by buying a membership gift certificate (just $50) allowing a new member to redeem it for a full year of NANPA membership.

Save $50 on a 3-Day Summit Registration
The 19th Nature Photography Summit is Feb. 19-22 in San Diego and anyone can save $50 on a 3-day Summit registration if you register before the end of the day on December 1. Join us for learning, networking and inspiration.

New Members Join for $50
Do you know fellow nature photographers who would benefit from NANPA membership? If so, tell them about this weekend’s special promotion for new members to join for 1 year for only $50. An increase in NANPA members means more opportunities for learning, networking and inspiration that benefits all of us in nature photography.

More information on each of these promotions can be found at nanpa.org/blackfriday.

Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY to take advantage of any and all of these special discounts. Offers good Friday, November 28 through Monday, December 1 (EST).

San Diego, the Summit, and the Chaparral by Rob Sheppard

Mariposa lily (Calochortus), Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California. Image © Rob Sheppard.

Mariposa lily (Calochortus), Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California. Image © Rob Sheppard.

Images and Text by Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard will be leading a Photo Walk in the California Shrublands on Thursday, February 19th from 9:00am – 12:00pm as part of the 2015 NANPA Summit in San Diego. Click here to learn more!

The NANPA Summit in 2015 is in lovely, mild San Diego. The Summit is a time to see old friends, connect with new friends, be enlightened and educated in all sorts of things related to nature photography, and even see new places through the photography of the presenters.

I am going to suggest that you take the opportunity to see and photograph something unique and special about nature while you are in San Diego or at least Southern California, something that you will not find in other parts of the country – the chaparral. This is an ecosystem, a landscape, a place of nature that is as ecologically unique as the redwoods, a place filled with biodiversity, and yet a landscape that is probably one of the least photographed of any important landscape in the country.

When people think of Southern California, so often, they only think of the big cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. Southern California, they believe, is just a place for surfers, celebrities, and a lot of cars! When I moved to the Los Angeles area over 20 years ago, many of my friends and family from Minnesota thought that I was moving to a barren, urban wasteland. Read the rest of this entry »

Low Light Visions by Nevada Wier

© Nevada Wier 2014. Kerala, India: Fire dancer, Theyyam Festival. Canon 5DMarkIII,    Canon 16-35mm f/2.8,   1/125sec at f/3.5,   ISO 1600 Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash not fired.

© Nevada Wier 2014.
Kerala, India: Fire dancer, Theyyam Festival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 1/125sec at f/3.5, ISO 1600
Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash not fired.

 

Nevada is one of the featured keynote speakers 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 exciting and inspirational event, please visit  www.naturephotographysummit.com

 

Images and Story by Nevada Wier

Photographing in low light is particularly challenging, but immensely satisfying — if you can overcome the difficulties. However, it is these kinds of situations that stimulate me as a photographer. I know that it is these times when it is more possible to create what I call a “snowflake photo”: one that no one else has in his or her portfolio. So I seek out the difficult light and perspectives. Of course, that also means that the chance of failure is high; I have to work extra hard in these situations. I am on alert, paying attention, anticipating the action and seeking out whatever light is available.

One is definitely constrained by the quality of their equipment. Sorry, an iPhone is not going to be the camera of choice for photographing at night or inside a hut lit by a candle – unless you are going for an abstract with high noise. Many digital camera sensors are not able to produce a relatively noise-free image at an extremely high ISO. Unless you have a top-of-the-line camera that can handle 1600 ISO or more, the highest exploitable ISO for most cameras ranges between 400–1600 ISO. Another limiting factor is the lens. If you are using a zoom lens that has a minimum aperture of f/4.5, it is going to be problematic. Not only will you not have a fast enough shutter speed, the lens will not be able to quickly and accurately focus in dim light. And, it is critical to pay attention to the focusing. During the day in strong light focusing quickly is easy and accurate; it only takes a quick press of the focus button to be accurate (I use the back * button on my Canon for focusing and to set a specific focal point). In low light it is important to squeeze the focus button until you see the focus alert signal in the viewfinder. Sometimes I have to use manual assist. Occasionally I need to shine a flashlight on my subject so I can focus.

Sometimes I use flash but not for a primary source of light, rather to pop color or stop the action with a slow shutter speed. A flash is always a secondary source of light. I usually go to the highest ISO that I am comfortable using and on my Canon 5D MarkIII I rarely go above 1600 ISO; if I can I much prefer to stay at 800 ISO or lower. I photograph primarily on Shutter Priority, but in low light I sometimes switch to Aperture Priority when I want to stay at a wide-open aperture. However, I do like slow shutter speeds (and I’m not afraid to hand-hold at ½ sec. or slower) in combination with flash, either for panning or having a flash stop the action within a blur, so there is sharpness within a sense of motion. I carry a number of different gels for my flash so the flash outputs blends seamlessly with the ambient light. I usually keep my white balance on Daylight unless there is an abundance of red, and then I use Auto (red is a difficult color to desaturate, it tends towards purple).

I make sure my exposure is absolutely perfect; better too light than too dark. I constantly check my histogram. At a high ISO you do not want to have to lighten your image in post processing and expose ugly noise. Honestly, I rarely use a tripod. I don’t like to walk around with them. The photographs I’m showing you on this blog are all hand-held. In fast moving situations it is difficult to use a tripod, and in crowds – forget about it! Knowing how to use flash appropriately is a big key to success.

Barranquilla, Colombia. Carnival.

© Nevada Wier 2014. Barranquilla, Colombia: Carnival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/50sec at f/3.2, ISO 1600.
Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

I mentioned earlier that it is important to anticipate so that one can be in the front of a crowd. I am used to “wiggling” myself into a good location. There is a fine line between being assertive and aggressive, but I don’t want to end up in the back of a huge crowd.

I expect a lot of failures; in fact I mostly have failures in these kinds of situations, as they are technically and often socially difficult. However, all I need is one great image! I try as many shutter speeds as possible; depth of field is not a critical concern to me at these times. I try slow shutter speeds with or without panning, usually with the flash on. I turn the flash off and work with natural light. I try everything! I always say, “If you don’t try, you don’t get”. And, often what one gets is that magical snowflake image.

Bagan, Myanmar: Ananada Festival.

© Nevada Wier 2013. Bagan, Myanmar: Ananada Festival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/100sec at f/4, ISO 1600.
Aperture Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

 

Nevada Wier is a multiple award-winning photographer specializing in the remote corners of the globe and the cultures that inhabit them. Her journeys have her crisscrossing the world in search of compelling travel experiences and images. To read more about Nevada, view her extraordinary photography and get information about her photo workshops and tours, visit her website at www.nevadawier.com.

 

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