You might have seen headlines about an “insect apocalypse,” a dramatic and alarming decline in the numbers of insects, collapsing bee colonies, once-common species becoming increasingly rare. Should we be worried? And what has this got to do with photography?
One of the highlights of NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit & Trade Show was seeing the work of NANPA’s College Scholarship Program participants. Now that the event is over, it’s a good time to learn a little more about them and their experiences at Summit. Today, we meet Geena Hill, who recently graduated with her master’s degree from the University of Florida, with a focus in wildlife ecology and conservation.
“My interest in nature, biology, and photography predates my time as a biology student and photographer” says Geena. “As a child exploring in the woods with my sisters in northwest Pennsylvania, I always found myself taking pictures of various animals we found with a disposable camera. I wasn’t sure of the reason why I needed to take a photo of everything, but I felt the persistent urge to document our discoveries. Eventually, I was able to take a photography class in high school and finally fulfilled my aspiration of taking photos by learning the technicalities of film photography. While I did not study photography for my undergraduate degree, the constant impulse to always have my camera in my bag persists to this day.
One of the highlights of NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit & Trade Show was seeing the work of NANPA’s College Scholarship Program participants. Now that the event is over, it’s a good time to learn a little more about them and their experiences at Summit. Today, we meet Riley Swartzendruber.
Riley was an undergraduate student majoring in digital media and photography at Eastern Mennonite University when he applied for the 2019 NANPA College Scholarship Program. “I had an interest in creating videos all through elementary, middle, and high school and knew quickly that I wanted to pursue a career that involved using a camera,” he says. But the first time he picked up a DSLR camera wasn’t until college, during which he went to Guatemala and Colombia. “This challenged me in what I could do with my photography. I found an immense amount of enjoyment experimenting and finding creative ways of telling the story I wanted to tell.”
One of the highlights of NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit & Trade Show was seeing the work of NANPA’s College Scholarship Program participants. Now that the event is over, it’s a good time to learn a little more about them and their experience at Summit. Today, we meet Nicole Landry.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a fourth-year undergraduate at Ryerson University in Toronto, majoring in media production. Since getting my first camera at about age nine, I’ve seldom been without one. I spent much of my early years chasing everything from butterflies to squirrels; determined to capture the perfect shot. In high school my life changed forever when I watched the documentary, Sharkwater. It opened my eyes to the plethora of environmental issues facing our planet and I was terrified – but also inspired. In that moment, I realized that media could be used as a catalyst for positive change and I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to dedicate my life to doing
This past year I directed, shot, and am now in the process of editing my first documentary, Saving Barrie’s Lake, about the loss of wetland ecosystems in southern Ontario. These experiences shaped me into who I am today – an artist, environmentalist, and self-proclaimed adventurer – and I can genuinely not wait to see what opportunities the future has in store.
Story & photos by Ken Hubbard
Encompassing about 310,000 acres in northwest Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park includes most of the area of Jackson Hole and the Teton Mountain Range. The mountain range got its name from French trappers in the early 19th century, calling them Les Trois tetons. Preservation of the area started in the late 19th century, culminating in the designation of National Park in 1929. The park was named for the tallest peak in the range, Grand Teton, which rises to an elevation of 13,775 feet. With Yellowstone National Park to the north and the John D. Rockefeller Parkway connecting the two, this area is one of the largest mid-latitude temperate ecosystems in the world. Today, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole and the surrounding areas are a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, from skiing to photography.
Putting on a great conference, like NANPA’s recent Nature Photography Summit, isn’t easy and the full costs aren’t covered by your registration fees, alone. Keeping the conference affordable to attendees, while providing excellent speakers, technology, facilities and food, requires more. Some of that extra support comes from our exhibitors and sponsors.
Based on their reputations alone I knew the keynote speakers at last month’s Summit in Las Vegas were going to be good, but their presentations surpassed my wildest expectations—brought tears to my eyes a couple of times. Of course, that might not be much of an endorsement. My wife, Cathy, says I’m a big crybaby at the best of times, while I maintain I’m just sensitive.
If you attended NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show in Las Vegas, you had the pleasure of seeing Joel Sartore receive NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and deliver an informative, amusing, inspiring presentation about his life, family and his long-term project, the National Geographic Photo Ark. The Photo Ark seeks to document more than 12,000 species of mammals, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. With more than half of all species on the path towards extinction during this century, the project could not be timelier. After the Summit, we had a chance to ask Sartore a few questions.
NANPA’s 21st Summit and Trade Show ended today, and as I sit in my hotel room, I’m tired, but still feel the high of another great event. Long days of pre-summit board meetings, short nights with little sleep, early morning coffee to prop my eyes open, seeing old friends, making new ones, and dealing with inevitable glitches that pop up, no matter how much we plan for the unexpected. After two long years of preparation, it’s hard to believe that the whirlwind is gone. Kaput. Just like that. A few short days ago, we were checking people in at the registration desk, hugging friends we hadn’t seen in a few years, and picking up where we left off on conversations from our last meetings. We were watching presentations by some of the world’s greatest photographers—Joel Sartore, James Balog, Sue Flood, Florian Schulz, John Shaw, and George Lepp. OMG! Where else but NANPA can you see all those people in the same room? I hadn’t seen John Shaw since the mid-90s and he saw me first in a hall and reached out to me. I have to admit to being a little starstruck that he would even know who I am, much less be so gracious and friendly to me, like an old friend!
At one point or another, most photographers will embark on a personal project. These projects are ways to more deeply explore a personal passion using photography, whether that be documenting how a single location changes throughout a year, looking for variations on a theme, or recording the health and vitality of a species or habitat. Personal projects can be global or local, big or small, and most assuredly will provide a satisfying and challenging addition to your photography arsenal.
At NANPA’s Nature Photography Summit, February 21 – 23, in Las Vegas, you can take a deep dive into all aspects of personal projects. That’s one more reason to register and get yourself (and your gear) to Vegas this month. Sign up before preregistration closes at midnight, Eastern Time, on Monday, February 4th and take advantage of NANPA’s 25th birthday discount! Use promo code “Happy25” for $75 off a member, non-member, or student full Summit registration.