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

Lovely Bridalveil Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio.

Bridalveil Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Now that our long languorous summer is beginning to wane, particularly in the northern states, it is time to start thinking about fall photography. Let’s try something a little different.

Cuyahoga Valley, wedged between the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, is not your typical national park. Carved out of multiple semi-urban areas, several great tracts of land are now protected within the boundary of this relatively compact 33,000 acre park. Just two of the many highlights included here are wonderfully restored stretches of the historic Ohio & Erie Canal and the Cuyahoga River, once so badly polluted by chemical waste that it regularly caught fire.

Having been cobbled together from several disparate elements, when this park was established in 2000 it was part of an effort to bring the national park experience to more people. Located within a day’s drive of perhaps 40% of the American population, Cuyahoga Valley offers a wide variety of fun and great photography. This is particularly true around early-mid October when the woods are ablaze with brilliant autumn color. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Volunteers of NANPA: Mac Stone

MacStone©Eric Zamora-0026

Mac Stone © Eric Zamora

What is your “day” job?

I run a non-profit conservation organization called Naturaland Trust, www.naturalandtrust.org. We protect ecologically important areas in Upstate South Carolina through land conservation.

What NANPA committees have you served on, when and what positions?

I currently serve on the High School Scholarship Committee as the chair.

What was it about this committee that interested you?

My first introduction to NANPA was through the scholarship program. I was an 18-year-old student, and it forever changed my career goals. Now, leading the committee, I’m able to develop a program that leverages the knowledge of its members and gives the students an experience they’ll never forget. I love teaching, and this is a perfect outlet.

What are the responsibilities you assumed?

We develop a week-long program for students at the NANPA summit.

What are your greatest accomplishments or the highlights thus far of what you have done for NANPA?

Leading the last High School Scholarship Program in Jacksonville was probably my most notable accomplishment.

Also, while teaching photography to kids in Honduras, I was able to help one of my students come to the 2008 NANPA Summit in Destin, Florida, where I served as his translator. Still today, he talks of this trip as a major milestone in his life.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

Twelve years.

Do you have a goal as it pertains to the High School Scholarship Committee?

My goal is to train the next generation of photographers and provide them with the same network and skills that have contributed to my professional career.

NATURE’S VIEW: High Dynamic Range, The Natural Way, Story and photographs by Jim Clark

Marsh Landscape 05162014 Fishing Bay WMA MD (c) Jim Clark

Marsh Landscape, Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area, Maryland

Or, why I never get to take an afternoon nap during my photo shoots

In the film days of yore, I always counted on an afternoon nap during my photo shoots on nice sunny days. The high contrast of a sunny afternoon proved too much for film to capture details in both the highlights and shadows. Since I didn’t want to shoot under those conditions, what else was I to do but check the inside of my eyelids?

Thanks to digital technology those napping times are over, but I can’t complain about this new digital stuff. The one advancement I love that has raised the playing field in nature photography is high dynamic range (HDR). Read the rest of this entry »

The Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Out in the Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Out in the Flint Hills by Scott Bean

Text and Images by Scott Bean

Talk about landscapes in Kansas and a lot of people are going to think of the stereotypical image of Kansas – one big flat wheat field. Kansas certainly does have some flat regions, especially in the western half of the state. Kansas also has a lot of wheat fields – which are beautiful in their own right. However, Kansas has a number of unique landscapes that may surprise a lot of people. The Flint Hills are one of the unique physiographic regions of Kansas. They are an especially interesting area as they contain some of the last large contiguous areas of tallgrass prairie. The interesting topography of the Flint Hills and the flora of the tall grass prairie combine to make for wonderful photographic opportunities.

Wide open views and gently sloping hills are characteristic of the Flint Hills. I like to use a wide angle lens to try and capture the sense of space and the unique shapes that can be found out in the prairies, but short to medium telephoto lenses are also useful to bring in details of the hills and focus attention on the lines and textures of the region. Magic hour light can really bring out the contours and shapes of the hills, and sunrises and sunsets are often full of amazing colors.  Read the rest of this entry »

PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECT: Pantanal, Story and photograph by Daniel J. Cox/Natural Exposures.com

D440260We hear all the time that little things make a difference.Sometimes it’s hard to believe; other times, it couldn’t ring truer. Throughout my career I’ve combined photography with conservation, since a concern for our planet and its inhabitants has always been important to me. For the past few years, the Natural Exposures Invitational Photo Tours has taken guests to the Pantanal in the wilds of Brazil. Here, we do our best to incorporate the same philosophy of integrating photography and conservation, much like any of our travel destinations. Read the rest of this entry »

Volunteers of NANPA: Bernie Friel

700_px1999_Photo_BPF_sc0150809a(1)Bernie Friel has been a professional photographer since he retired from his law practice in 2001. Following two years as an Air Force JAG officer, he began his civilian practice as a trial lawyer and eventually became a municipal bond lawyer. He was one of the creators of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and became its first president. Bernie’s interest in the outdoors draws him to worldwide adventure travel. He is a charter member of NANPA and a member of the prestigious Explorers Club, International Society of Aviation Photography and the Grand Canyon River Guides. His website is http://www.wampy.com. Read the rest of this entry »

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. 

A Different Perspective . . . on wide-angle images, Story and photographs by Bernie Friel

35mm Transparency

The Panamint Mountains in Death Valley are reflected in the pond at Badwater. © Bernie Friel / A Different Perspective

The Panamint Mountains in Death Valley are reflected in the pond at Badwater. © Bernie Friel / A Different Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was editing a batch of images from a shoot in Death Valley National Park, I had an uncomfortable feeling that even though the content was spot-on, some images were not as pleasing as I thought they would be when I shot them. The scene was just too vast, and the eye was distracted by the image composition. Read the rest of this entry »

Telluride Photo Festival Discounts for NANPA Members

TPF_NANPA_newsletter

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.

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