Spring Flowers

Photo of the Estes Valley outside of Rocky Mountain National Park after a spring snowstorm. ©  Dawn Wilson
A view of Estes Valley outside of Rocky Mountain National Park after a spring snowstorm. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Welcome to the month of spring flowers!

Well, for most people it should be. As I type this blog post, it is snowing again here in Colorado. The snow is a welcome weather occurrence as we desperately need the moisture, but it does do a number on those flowers people plant before the recommended planting date of Mother’s Day in Colorado. Much of Colorado, like the West, is still under severe drought conditions, bringing with it the fear of yet another difficult wildfire season. Fingers crossed that is not the case.

These spring snowstorms bring great moisture in them, and also great photo opportunities with fallouts of migrating birds and sticky snow all over the landscape.

Photo of a bird on a branch. Hooded warblers typically spend the winters in Mexico and South America and their summers in the eastern U.S. This little guy was a little off course when he stopped in Estes Park prior to a spring snowstorm. ©  Dawn Wilson
Hooded warblers typically spend the winters in Mexico and South America and their summers in the eastern U.S. This little guy was a little off course when he stopped in Estes Park prior to a spring snowstorm. © Dawn Wilson

Recently I had the lucky opportunity to see a rare bird for Colorado — a hooded warbler! I needed a break from a very busy April and decided to see what birds I could find before the spring storm arrived. I only wanted to stay out for an hour or two because of some other commitments I needed to finish, but I wound up finding a great spot for warblers. I just sat there among the willow bushes watching them flutter around. It was because of taking those few extra moments to just relax and decompress that I gave myself the time to have the hooded warbler join the crowd of birds in the willows. (Of course, I wound up staying up until 2 a.m. finishing the work 😉 ). Remember to take the time for yourself and get outdoors. It truly does wonders for your mind and body.

Screenshot of NANPA Virtual Summit. NANPA’s Virtual Summit was delivered via an intuitive platform that allowed viewing of all presentations as well as connecting with other attendees via a chat on each presentation and community area.
NANPA’s Virtual Summit was delivered via an intuitive platform that allowed viewing of all presentations as well as connecting with other attendees via a chat on each presentation and community area.

Virtual Summit

Speaking of doing something for yourself, I was so thrilled to hear from several people about how Virtual Summit really got them inspired to get out and photograph again after a difficult year. The NANPA board and Summit planning team really looked at so many options for holding the biannual conference, including canceling it. We didn’t want to cancel another event because of COVID-19 so we went ahead with the virtual platform.

It went great. And although I know the NANPA Summit team (see below) worked long hours to pull together a completely new program in just six months, their hard work showed. The program delivered lots of in-depth information about many facets of nature photography and the keynote presentations were extremely inspiring.

So, thank you to the Summit team for their dedication, perseverance, and willingness to try something new. The Summit team included:

  • Kathy Adams Clark (Program Chair)
  • Susan Day
  • Teresa Ransdell
  • Julie Patterson
  • Richard Day
  • Gina Head
  • Bethany Brucker

I also want to thank the sponsors of Summit. With this year’s virtual platform, we really didn’t know what to expect from a financial standpoint, or a demonstration standpoint, when we first switched to a virtual platform. The Summit was made possible by the generous support of our presenting sponsors:

  • Rand Insurance
  • Nature Photographers Network
  • Tamron

And the sponsors of the keynote speaker series:

  • Strabo Tours
  • Hunt’s Photo and Video
  • Lee Filters

Finally, congratulations to all of the award recipients for their well-deserved recognition for their impressive work in nature photography. These include:

Remember that if you registered for Summit, you have until May 31 to watch, or re-watch, any of the program. If you didn’t register for Virtual Summit but are still interested in seeing the content, you can purchase access to all of the recordings by visiting naturephotographysummit.com.

Photo: A fox stretches out on the beach along the shore of New Jersey. ©  Dawn Wilson
A fox stretches out on the beach along the shore of New Jersey. © Dawn Wilson

Advocacy Update

Beyond Summit, our committees continue to be extremely busy. In particular, the Advocacy Committee, led by Co-chairs Jane Halperin and Sean Fitzgerald, has continued to work tirelessly behind the scenes to protect the rights of photographers.

In particular, Sean Fitzgerald has been working to raise awareness about stopping rights-grab photo contests. These are the contests whereby submitting a photo, you as the photographer give up all rights to that photo with no compensation. Sean recently convinced the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to pull their photo contest and revise the rules to avoid this sort of rights-grab scenario.

Remember to read the rules any time you enter a photo contest to make sure you do not give up your rights on your photos. It takes a lot of time, money, and personal investment to create these images. You should retain the rights to the photo or be properly paid for releasing all rights.

The committee also continues to work on the requirements around commercial filming permits on public lands and the Sovereign Immunity issue, whereby state governments are immune from suit for copyright infringement.

Photo of a bighorn ewe in a snowy landscape. Nature is resilient, like this bighorn sheep ewe feeding in the recent burn area of the Cameron Peak Fire in northern Colorado. NANPA is also resilient. ©  Dawn Wilson
Nature is resilient, like this bighorn sheep ewe feeding in the recent burn area of the Cameron Peak Fire in northern Colorado. NANPA is also resilient. © Dawn Wilson

Moving Forward

NANPA is here for you. We will strive to be more forward thinking and push the envelope for our members. That may be behind the scenes to advocate for the rights of photographers or that may be to become a more diverse organization or to provide you with the connection to the leaders in nature photography. Within our available resources, we will do everything we can to keep moving NANPA in a direction to be the organization for nature photographers of all ages, skill levels, backgrounds, and interests.

Our founders had the visionary foresight to establish this organization for an underrepresented community. Let’s keep that vision going to build an organization for the changing future of nature photography while honoring our history.

So, in talking about the future, please remember to vote for the new members of the NANPA Board to fill the open positions for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The deadline to vote is May 15, and the voting information is located in the Members’ Area of nanpa.org.

Want to get involved? Consider volunteering for a committee. There are numerous options available for a variety of interests. For more info about volunteering, visit NANPA’s volunteer page.

Keep letting our membership and marketing teams know about your projects. There may be ways to share the news, like writing a blog or being interviewed on the podcast.

Do you have ideas for events or topics you want to learn more about? Reach out to us through our contact form

“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” ~ Robert H. Schuller

Let’s stay positive. We are in this together.