President’s Letter – Don Carter – 04.03.18

Don Carter, NANPA President

No rain, no flowers. I guess it was too much to hope for to have two years of wonderful flower photography in the desert southwest. Even with the dry conditions, the desert is a photographer’s paradise, the “sky islands” offer such a unique environment. In southwest Arizona, the desert floor sits at 2400 feet, but you can hike (or drive) to over 9000 feet. The valley floor is surrounded by small clusters of mountains, or islands, which provide the adventurous photographers a cornucopia of opportunities. In the valley, you can see quail, roadrunners, javelina, deer, pronghorn, snakes, of course, and also the beautiful saguaro cactus. The peaks provide cover for bear, ringtail, coati, and some of the best birding in the world.

Biologists are working to restore the Grey Mexican Wolf and the Masked Bobwhite Quail and trying to study the rare Jaguar. We can use our cameras to help protect this delicate environment from those who don’t value its beauty and its contribution to our own wellbeing. Places such Saguaro National Park are trying to document resident wildlife using iNaturalist to record the findings. For those of you who have never used iNaturalist, it’s a software app that allows you to enter sightings of plants or animals at a given location that helps the scientists in that area do research. It is a great place to go if you need help identifying something you find at a specific location.   Last summer the high school group entered images of wildlife they photographed at the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont. Tremont has its own iNaturalist page for their citizen science programs. Become part of these great activities, being citizen scientists is a great way to improve your photography, your health and your community.

As the spring temperatures rise, (it’s 90 today) it’s time to move north. In Arizona that means the Grand Canyon, Page, Coyote Buttes, and Monument Valley. The journey continues into Utah’s red rock country, north to Wyoming and finally arriving in Jackson.

You only have a few days left to register for the Nature Photo Celebration at the discounted price, so don’t wait, register before it is too late. I’m looking to buy a new macro lens, so I plan on trying all those lenses that will be available from the vendors who are attending. I’m also really starting to look at mirrorless cameras as an option, I’m not getting any younger and the hikes seem to be getting more difficult. Canon, Fuji, Panasonic and Olympus I’m coming to see you so have that gear ready, I’m going to try them all.

See you in Jackson.

Don Carter