West Virginia is Almost Heaven, and some of the most beautiful sights are located within our State Parks! We’ll be exploring Pipestem Resort State Park, as well as Bluestone Lake State Park, and some other special locations along the way!
Pipestem Resort in southern West Virginia will be our base for the weekend, with discounted rooms at the Lodge, which also has a fine restaurant and meeting space for us. The Lodge overlooks the Bluestone Gorge, and the Bolar Lookout Tower at 3,000 feet provides an inspiring view, as well. It’s not uncommon to see eagles at Pipestem, and we’ll also trek to Bluestone State Park, where Park Naturalist, Julie McQuade, has recently spotted eagles! We will also visit the historic community of Bramwell, where coal barons built lavish mansions during the coal boom; and we’ll feature a visit to the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, as well as some additional attractions.
Amanda Haddox and Ron Gaskins, our Instructors, will provide techniques and share their experience throughout our weekend! It will be an exciting and full one, with many locations to see and opportunities to learn.
Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In November, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.
How many of your images will win? The 2018 NANPA Showcase competition is accepting entries until October 1, 2017 at 11:00 p.m. EDT. The annual competition is a wonderful opportunity for you to submit your best photography and have it evaluated by three notable professional nature photographers- George Lepp, Roy Toft and Darrel Gulin . You may even have your image published in our annual Expressions publication which features the top 250 images from those entered. For more details about the 2018 NANPA Showcase competition, check out the website.
Over 3,300 images were submitted last year. One of the key NANPA Showcase 2017 winners is Mark Kelley, a photographer based in Juneau, Alaska. Mark had nine images featured in the 2017 Expressions, including Best in Show for “Eagle Hell,” Judge’s Choice for “Hiker Inside Glacier Ice Cave,” and First Runner-Up for “Drizzly Bear.” All of these images were made in Alaska and reflect the photographer’s passion for this beautiful state.