Bird Photography at Mono Lake by Marie Read

Wilson's Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) flock at South Tufa, Mono Lake, California, USA

Wilson’s Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) flock at South Tufa, Mono Lake, California, USA

Story and Photographs by Marie Read

Mono Lake is one of California’s most photogenic locations, a well-known destination for landscape photographers worldwide. Bizarre rocky spires called tufa towers punctuate the waters and shoreline of this desert sea, while the snow-capped Sierra Nevada forms a spectacular backdrop to the west. The well-kept secret is that Mono Lake and its surroundings are great for bird photography as well.

Mono Lake’s alkaline, highly saline water supports no fish, but it teems with brine shrimp and alkali flies, providing food for numerous breeding birds, including California Gulls, American Avocets, and Snowy Plovers. Osprey nest atop the tufa, commuting to and from freshwater lakes nearby for fish for their young. Around the lake sagebrush scrub, pinyon-juniper, and conifer-aspen woodlands support many other birds. I’d like to share some of my favorite bird photography spots. Read the rest of this entry »

NATIONAL PARKS: Katmai National Park, story and photo © Jerry Ginsberg

Alaskan brown bear (grizzly) with a salmon at the Brooks River, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Alaskan brown bear (grizzly) with a salmon at the Brooks River, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Katmai National Park is best-known for its three prime attractions: bears, bears and more bears. Within Katmai’s borders lie several spectacular mountains, such as Mt. Douglas volcano and Four-Peak Mountain, as well as scenic creeks, rivers and lakes that are seasonally teeming with salmon. While brown bears draw the majority of visitors, salmon draw the bears. Read the rest of this entry »

VOLUNTEERS OF NANPA: Cindy Miller Hopkins

Cindy Miller Hopkins is a full-time travel and wildlife photographer. Her images can be seen on the pages of hundreds of textbooks, travel brochures, calendars and other consumer products, as well as U.S. and international magazines. Her freelance, workshop and assignment career has taken her to seven continents and more than 140 countries. Cindy is a long-time member of the American Society of Picture Professionals and, currently, co-president of the NANPA Foundation Board. When she’s not traveling (which isn’t often) she lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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© Cindy Miller Hopkins

What is your “day” job?
I’m a full- time stock and assignment photographer specializing in travel, nature and cultural imagery. An average year for me includes over 175 days of travel with about 60 percent assignment work and 40 percent freelance. I also teach photo workshops on small expedition-style cruise ships, and I’ve led a few photo tours for the NANPA Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »

NATURE’S VIEW: Lessons from the Lake – story and photos © Jim Clark

Part I: Going Beyond F/stops &  Shutter Speeds

“There is no place like springtime in the marsh. I like to just sit back and let it tell me all its stories.”—Karen Hollingsworth

Karen is a fellow NANPA member and nature photographer, and I’ve often repeated her words to my workshop students to emphasize the value of savoring the experience. I have learned that an outstanding image takes more than technical skills. The more you are into the moment, the more your images stand out.

Northern Parula Warbler  (c) Jim Clark

Northern Parula Warbler © Jim Clark

A few weeks ago, I drove to my childhood home in the remote coalfield region of southern West Virginia. Much has changed since I grew up there, but one constant remains: a small mountain lake that has served as my secret location to explore and photograph nature. There is nothing fancy about this lake, but it has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment. Read the rest of this entry »

PHOTOGRAPHER PROJECT: Headhunt Revisited by Michele Westmorland

Painting by Caroline Mytinger. A young girl in dance costume, sorceress named Kori Toboro, wearing a net bag. Motuan village of Hanuabada, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Courtesy of Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley.

Painting by Caroline Mytinger. A young girl in dance costume, sorceress named Kori Toboro, wearing a net bag. Motuan village of Hanuabada, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Courtesy of Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley.

In 1926, painter Caroline Mytinger and her friend, Margaret Warner, set out from San Francisco for a four-year adventure in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. With little more than $400, a few art supplies, and a trunk of clothing, they made their way through what was then known as the land of headhunters, with the goal of painting Melanesia’s inhabitants. Their journey was nothing short of amazing and, at times, fraught with danger. Mosquitoes engorged with blood had to be snipped off with scissors; cockroaches the size of hummingbirds chewed on their toes. They ran into male explorers who assumed they were the first to delve into the remote Fly River Territory—and who were shocked to find two very petite young women from America in this seemingly hostile environment. A storm almost washed away all of Caroline’s painting supplies, and a volcanic eruption threatened to destroy the artwork. Upon the women’s return to the United States in 1930, Caroline’s paintings were exhibited in notable museums such as the American Museum of Natural History in New York. After 1935, the paintings were crated away, not to be seen until 2004, when they were discovered at UC Berkeley’s Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology by NANPA photographer Michele Westmorland. Read the rest of this entry »

FIELD TECHNIQUES: The Complexity of Simplicity, story and photo © F.M. Kearney

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I’m often amazed at just how much subconscious thought and planning goes into the creation of a “simple” photograph.

A couple of years ago I was in the Thain Family Forest of the New York Botanical Garden. Located in the center of the 250-acre garden, this forest is the last remaining tract of original forest that once covered most of New York City.

I was initially attracted to a rustic log fence at the entrance to one of the forest trails. Seeing it as the perfect foreground element to lead a viewer’s eye into the photo, I positioned my tripod in the center of the trail and leveled it to the height of the fence. This was the best perspective to show the lines converging as they disappeared around the bend in the distance. Read the rest of this entry »

An Editor’s Perspective: Photography by Benjamin Olson

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Images by Benjamin Olson

Story and Gallery Edit by Miriam Stein

 

This winter proved an exciting time for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts as the cold months in 2013-2014 brought a snowy owl irruption to the United States.  The beautiful birds were seen as far south as Florida and Bermuda.  Benjamin Olson spent a few months following a snowy owl that took up residence near his home in Minnesota.  I greatly appreciate the time and dedication Benjamin showed in tracking this owl and making beautiful photographs without the use of bait, an all-too common practice among owl photographers.  I love the natural blue and white backgrounds of Benjamin’s photographs and the artistic composition he employed in making his images. To see more of Benjamin’s work, visit www.benjamin-olson.com. Read the rest of this entry »

NATIONAL PARKS: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by Jerry Ginsberg

Hale Maumau Crater before dawn, Kiluea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes, National park. © Jerry Ginsberg

Hale Maumau Crater before dawn, Kiluea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes, National park.
© Jerry Ginsberg

Story and photograph by Jerry Ginsberg ©

Hawaii. Just saying the name conjures up visions of a tropical paradise–palm trees, trade winds, sunsets and hula dancers gyrating to the rhythms of the eight major islands that make up the archipelago. Our fiftieth state boasts two national parks. There’s mighty Haleakala on the island of Maui and, the subject of this article, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

Did you know that all of the Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanoes over millions of years? Molten lava bubbling up through vents of a well-known hot spot on the floor of the Pacific Ocean is responsible for their creation. As the entire archipelago moves northwest in conveyor belt fashion, Hawaii is presently the island directly over the hot spot. Read the rest of this entry »

VOLUNTEERS OF NANPA: Barbara Adams

BarbThree years ago, Barbara Adams retired from a 35-year career in the Canadian government where she was executive director of a Science Outreach Secretariat in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  Throughout her career, she worked for departments and cabinet members doing communications related to natural resources, such as minerals, energy, fisheries and oceans.  NANPA has benefited from Barbara’s experience through her involvement in committees and Summits. Read the rest of this entry »

The Grass is Always Greener by Steve Gettle

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Opossum photographed in my backyard.

Story and photographs by Steve Gettle

No doubt about it, most outdoor photographers love to travel to new and exciting locations to capture the subjects they love. But, the truth of the matter is that most of us can’t be jetting all over the globe whenever we want. Most outdoor photographers I know are able to take one, two, or maybe three major trips a year. Sadly, I also know many photographers that only use their cameras when they are on one of these major trips.

I would argue that those same photographers are missing one of the greatest locations available to them… their own backyard. Most of us live within a short drive of a local park or a piece of undeveloped land where we could practice our craft. There are many benefits to working an area near your home. One of the greatest benefits is simply being out there working, it is impossible to make great pictures if you are not in the field. Another important benefit of working close to home is the ability to go out on a moment’s notice – when the lighting is really nice, or during unique weather conditions. You can also get to know a smaller piece of land and its inhabitants more intimately. You can make sure you are there when the cardinals nest in that bush, or when that patch of wildflowers are at their peak.

A Cold Winters Morn

Northern cardinal in my backyard.

Consider developing the area to suit your needs. Try getting permission to put up some feeders and birdhouses to attract birds to the area. You can often obtain permission from a developer to rescue wildflowers from an area that is going to be developed into another subdivision or strip mall. Take these rescued flowers and transplant them onto suitable habitat where you will be able to shoot them. Sure, this is a long term prospect, but you will find these small steps payoff over the long haul with huge photographic dividends.

We all need to look at our own backyards with fresh eyes – with the eyes of a traveler. Remember that your backyard is very often someone else’s hot travel destination. Try to look at things with the eyes of a visitor and you will often be surprised by what you see.

To see more of Steve’s work, check out www.stevegettle.com and www.facebook.com/steve.gettle

Cloudless sulphur in my backyard.

Cloudless sulphur in my backyard.

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