NANPA News

NATURE’S VIEW: Whatchyamacallits and thingamajigs (Part One) Story and photographs by Jim Clark

Sunrise at Black Duck Pool, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia.  © Jim Clark

Sunrise at Black Duck Pool, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia. © Jim Clark

It’s that time of the year when nature photographers are either embarking on a summer season filled with photo adventures, or they are making the final preparations to do so. They have their tripods, lenses and cameras all cleaned, inspected and primed, ready to go into action. Watch out nature, here we come!

Often, we forget to bring along the little things—the whatchyamacallits and thingamajigs—that can save us from those minor and major inconveniences we encounter in the field. During my workshops, I have a show-and-tell session to disclose to my students some of the lesser known items I keep in my camera bag or vest—very handy and inexpensive stuff that can make a difference in having a good photo shoot or a bad one.

Here are just a few items you might consider adding to your photographic toolbox: Read the rest of this entry »

NATIONAL PARKS – Mt. Rainier National Park, Story and photographs by Jerry Ginsberg ©

North America, United States, US, USA, Washington, Northwest, Mt. Rainier National Park Massive Mt. Rainier reflecting in the icy waters of Tipsoo lake, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA

Photographs of Mt. Rainier and its reflection can be made at Tipsoo Lake or Reflection Lakes.

The Ring of Fire—a string of volcanoes, earthquakes and sites of seismic activity that encircles the Pacific Ocean—is the result of plate tectonics. Tectonic plates are slabs of the Earth’s crust, which fit together like pieces of a puzzle. The plates constantly move atop a layer of solid and molten rock called the mantle. Some volcanoes are actually vents with direct pipelines to the molten core of our little planet.

One of these presently dormant volcanoes is massive glacier-covered Mt. Rainier. Long called “Tahoma” by Native Americans, Rainier is about 80 miles south and east of Seattle, Washington, and is plainly visible from that city’s airport despite the distance. At 14,410 feet, this imposing peak is the tallest in the Cascade Range and one of the highest mountains in the 48 contiguous states.

Looking at the map of Mt. Rainier National Park, the mountain occupies nearly the entire area. The excellent main road pretty much goes around most of Mt. Rainier. That does not mean that there are a limited number of compositions here; just the opposite. Spending some time in Mt. Rainier National Park will give you the opportunity to photograph not only this magnificent mountain from many viewpoints, but also some great waterfalls, forests and a spectacular wildflower display that usually peaks around early August.

One way to show Mt. Rainier is with a reflection of itself. Some of the best places to capture these kinds of images are at Reflection Lakes along the road just south of Paradise and at Tipsoo Lake in the Chinook Pass. Both are best at sunrise and can offer foregrounds of colorful wildflowers if you are able to time your visit just right.

For other great views of Mt. Rainier, drive to Sunrise in the northern portion of the park. Counter to its name, a visit to Sunrise can be productive at dawn or late afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »

VOLUNTEERS: Joe and Mary Ann McDonald

Mary Ann and Joe AntarcticaMary Ann and Joe McDonald are professional wildlife photographers who, together, lead photography tours around the world and teach photo workshops at their home, Hoot Hollow, in central Pennsylvania. Their images appear in many national and international nature magazines, calendars and books. Mary Ann is the author of 29 natural history children’s books. She has gone to many elementary schools as a visiting author and has written a coffee table book on the Amish. Joe is the author of six how-to photography books. He is co-author of a book on digital nature photography with Mary Ann and fellow photographer Rick Holt, and he and Mary Ann have written a book and produced a video for Photographing on Safari. Joe has written several coffee table books on jaguars and tigers and is currently writing books on Indian wildlife, creatures of the night, world’s deadliest creatures and camouflage in nature. Mary Ann’s photography awards include two first-place awards and several other awards in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, first place in the Nature’s Best Photography competition and first place in the old AGFA competition in South Africa. Joe has won first place in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition as well as several second and third places. This will be Mary Ann and Joe’s 28th year leading photo safaris to East Africa, and next year they will celebrate 100 treks to Rwanda to photograph the mountain gorillas. Joe became a NANPA Fellow in 2002 and Mary Ann in 2010. (Note: The following questions were answered by Mary Ann.) Read the rest of this entry »

INTERVIEW: Gerrit Vyn on Multimedia Storytelling in The Sagebrush Sea

Strutting male Gunnison Sage-Grouse. The display of this speceis differs significantly from that of the Greater Sage-Grosue and led researchers to declare it a unique species in 2000. Gunnison County, Colorado. Photo by Andrew Johnson.

Strutting male Gunnison Sage-Grouse. The display of this speceis differs significantly from that of the Greater Sage-Grosue and led researchers to declare it a unique species in 2000. Gunnison County, Colorado. Photo by Gerrit Vyn.

Story by Andy Johnson; Photos by Gerrit Vyn

 

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Multimedia Production team has spent the past three years producing an hour-long documentary about the iconic sagebrush steppe of the American west. On May 20th, at 8/7c, The Sagebrush Sea aired nationally on PBS, as part of the award-winning series, NATURE. Check your local PBS station for future viewing times. You can also stream the film online for free on the PBS / Nature website.

Gerrit Vyn, photographer and producer at the Cornell Lab and iLCP fellow, has spent much of the past few years documenting the sagebrush steppe for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Sagebrush Project included a magazine article in Living Bird, educational web interactives, and an hour-long documentary for PBS / Nature, The Sagebrush Sea. In today’s shifting media landscape, increasingly rooted in web and multimedia, conservation itself (in turn, rooted in communication and education) is also expanding its media toolbox.

I recently sat down with Gerrit to discuss how the intersection of conservation photography with filmmaking and web production can benefit a core message.

Read the rest of this entry »

FIELD TECHNIQUE – Avoiding the Tourist Trap, Story and photographs by F. M. Kearney

Vacations are a great way to get away and de-stress. However, I often find myself stressing even more. While I try to be mindful of the fact that I’m on vacation and not on assignment, I can’t seem to leave home without my camera gear.

With only a limited amount of time, I worry about getting the shot. Where are the best locations? When and where does the sun set and/or rise? How can I best secure my equipment in the hotel room?

On a recent trip to Antigua, West Indies, I was focusing on a bevy of tropical treats that don’t normally grace my lens. It’s easy to get sloppy and fall into the “tourist trap.” You want to shoot everything, but end up shooting not much of anything worthwhile at all. Slowing down and actually seeing your subjects, as opposed to simply looking at them, can make all the difference in the world.

Pride of Barbados Caesalpinia pulcherrima (Fabaceae) Antigua, West Indies

Read the rest of this entry »

PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECT – Dark Skies of West Texas, Story and photographs by Kathy Adams Clark

Satellite photo of United States at night.

Satellite photo of United States at night.

If you look at a satellite photo taken at night of the United States, you’ll see a recognizable shape. The coastlines are outlined in light. Major cities are clearly defined. Yet, out in far West Texas, there is a dark area void of major manmade lighting.

This huge dark area is being preserved thanks to a major dark sky preservation movement by local entities. Read the rest of this entry »

NATURE’S VIEW – Embracing Out-of-focus Photography, Story and photographs by Jim Clark

I tend to get stuck in my ways for photographing landscapes: sharp and focused. But I’ve started experimenting with another technique that I refer to as ambient light painting.

Ambient light painting may not be what you think. It is not using artificial light sources at night to paint light on a tree, old barn or other subject. Instead, ambient light painting uses both natural light and slow camera movements to create abstract compositions. The results can be something resembling a Monet painting.

When I discovered how much my students embraced this technique, I decided to include it in my workshop resources to help them develop their own vision of nature. Turns out, ambient light painting is fun for them, and that fits right in with my goal to get folks to love nature through their photography.

Autumn Forest, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, West Virginia. © Jim Clark

Autumn Forest, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, West Virginia. © Jim Clark

Read the rest of this entry »

Photography With a Purpose by David DesRochers

Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon.  © David DesRochers

Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon. © David DesRochers

Text and images by David DesRochers

When I started getting serious about photography my goal was simple. Take pictures that my friends and family would ooh and aah over. We all want people to respond positively to our work and there are a number of photo critiquing web sites that cater to this desire. Camera clubs around the world hold photo competitions and there is no shortage of major competitions such as NANPA’s Showcase and Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International. Displaying our photos on our web site or photo site like flickr is another way of putting our work in the public eye. Many of us display our work in local galleries and others try to gain recognition (and maybe a few dollars) through microstock agencies such as Dreamstime. Read the rest of this entry »

Expedition Photography: Building on a Legacy by Gaelin Rosenwaks

© Gaelin Rosenwaks

Image © Gaelin Rosenwaks

Text and Images by Gaelin Rosenwaks

Storytelling and the ability to share one’s expeditions and discoveries are key elements to exploration. During the expeditions of early explorers, like Columbus and James Cook, paintings and drawings captured moments of discovery and hardships. An expedition artist was always brought along to document the journey. Once photography was invented, expedition photographers were brought to photograph these moments of discovery along with the daily life during the journey.

When I think of the seminal work of an expedition photographer, I recall Frank Hurley’s images from Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition in 1914. Through his images, one can get a sense of the desolation of being trapped in the ice and feel the cramped living quarters of the ship during the day-to-day operation. These images bring the story to life and allow for a deeper connection than words alone. Once trapped in the ice, the images become more compelling as he continued to photograph the ship being crushed by the ice and life on the ice once the ship went down. Photographs, like the early paintings, capture the intangible while bringing you into the moment.

© Image by Gaelin Rosenwaks

Image © Gaelin Rosenwaks

Fortunately, I have not photographed the aforementioned hardships, but I have been able to document oceanographic research expeditions around the world, particularly in the Arctic. Photography has come a long way and is now accessible to everyone and, for that reason, plays an even more important role in our expeditions and storytelling. As an explorer and expedition photographer, I am acutely aware that followers of my expeditions expect to see compelling images.

We now have the ability to bring people sitting on their couches along on the journey in real time. Through blogging and social media, viewers can experience expeditions in the most remote corners of the world through both still images and video, getting a sense of place as exploration happens. Because of this technology, we end up with an unedited version that captures moments and raw emotions rather than, as the explorer and photographer, we remember it once we are home. I think this is extremely powerful.

As a photographer, my camera is always with me on an expedition to catch that unexpected moment, but also to capture the everyday. Moments from an icicle hanging from a ship railing, to the first glimpse of sea ice when steaming north in the Arctic Ocean, to the science being conducted on board. All are documented in an effort to record the journey and share these precious moments from remote corners of the world.

The expedition artists and photographers of the past set the bar high for present day expedition photographers. Their compelling images have inspired me to document cutting-edge research expeditions of the present in an effort to share what science is doing to understand questions like climate change, ocean acidification and overfishing.

 

About Gaelin: 

Gaelin Rosenwaks is a marine scientist, photographer and filmmaker. She founded her company, Global Ocean Exploration, to share her passion for ocean exploration, the marine world and its conservation through film, photography and writing. She now participates and conducts expeditions in every ocean to alert the public not only to the challenges facing the oceans, but also to what science is doing to understand these changes.

Gaelin is a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, and a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club where she serves on the Conservation Committee. Gaelin has published articles in scientific journals, newspapers and magazines. She has also appeared as a scientific consultant and angler on the National Geographic Channel Series, Fish Warrior. More of Gaelin’s work can be found at www.globaloceanexploration.com

And to follow the latest, her twitter and instagram @gaelinGOExplore

 

Image © Gaelin Rosenwaks

Image © Gaelin Rosenwaks

 

 

© Image by Gaelin Rosenwaks

Image © Gaelin Rosenwaks

Image © Gaelin Rosenwaks

Image © Gaelin Rosenwaks

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

Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain h1

Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain

A wonderful mix of sharply chiseled mountains, glistening lakes and sparkling waterfalls can be found in Glacier National Park in northern Montana. The spectacular scenery of this sprawling million-acre park is a landscape photographer’s paradise. Add in the black bears, grizzlies, mountain bighorn sheep and snow-white mountain goats that make Glacier their home, and you have all the ingredients for a great photo trip. Read the rest of this entry »

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