Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Melissa Rowell

2020 Showcase, First Runner-up: Birds. "Dance of the Great Blue Herons, Delray Beach, Florida" © Melissa Rowell.
2020 Showcase, First Runner-up: Birds. “Dance of the Great Blue Herons, Delray Beach, Florida” © Melissa Rowell.

How I Got the Shot

I arrived at Wakodahatchee Wetlands later than I had planned and knew I wouldn’t have long because of an impending storm. I grabbed my short, light Nikon 200-500mm lens, and walked slowly around the boardwalk hoping to find a quiet area where I could spend some time. Suddenly I spotted two Great Blue Herons interacting atop a tree. The male was attempting to entice a female with his elaborate stretch display, and she was playing hard to get. Fascinated I stopped to watch them just as serious bill duels erupted between the pair. Thunder began rumbling in the distance, and their long, flowing plumes were accentuated as the wind picked up. I was thrilled to witness this dramatic behavior which continued for a few brief moments signaling what I hoped would be the beginning of a strong bond leading to a successful breeding season.

What I Used

I had my Nikon D500, and was fortunate to have opted for the Nikon 200-500 mm lens because the pair were relatively close to me. 1/1250 sec at f/5.6. ISO 640. Handheld.

About Me

I live in upstate New York and have been photographing wildlife for many years, but much more seriously since I became an empty nester. I travel extensively, but I am continually amazed at the variety of wildlife I’ve encountered near my home, and right in my own backyard. We live on 15 heavily-wooded acres with a pond, and I regularly see an abundance of wildlife that enriches my life in so many ways.

My Photographic Journey

My love of photography stems from my father who was a newspaperman and photographer, and instilled in me a passion for photography. I accompanied him on assignments, and learned to develop film and make prints. Having two sons, and a love of nature and the outdoors fueled my interest in wildlife photography, so I have taken various college courses, attended photo expos, and have been fortunate to travel all over the world learning how to photograph the miracles of nature from incredibly gifted professionals.

NANPA and Me

I’ve been a NANPA member several years, and a Raccoon image of mine was recognized in the Showcase TOP 250 in 2019.

Learn More About Me

My NANPA Portfolio is http://www.nanpa.org/events/showcase/about-nanpa-showcase/2020-top-24-showcase-melissa-rowell/
Follow Melissa on Facebook @Melissa C. Rowell  and 
Instagram @Melissacrowell01