2021 Showcase Winner: Tom Ingram

Great Kiskadee Eating Wild Pyracantha Berries, image by Tom Ingram
Great Kiskadee Attracted to Wild Pyracantha Berries, Alamo, Texas, 2021 Showcase Best in Category, Birds © Tom Ingram

Artist’s statement

My main objective with photography is to share the wonders of nature that might not be easy for others to witness firsthand. With bird photography, I love being able to freeze nature in motion and capture details that the naked eye cannot see. I also try to pre-establish a vision of what I want to achieve on a specific trip. During the workshop where I got the great kiskadee shot, my focus was on action shots that would help the viewer appreciate the speed, dexterity and beauty of the species. With wildlife photography, I spend a significant amount of time learning the behavior of my subjects, and being able to predict this great kiskadee’s consistent flight pattern was key to achieving this shot. I loved how the action of this beautiful bird was captured.

How I got the shot

This shot of a great kiskadee attracted to pyracantha berries was captured in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.  The shot was a challenge due to overcast skies, thus requiring a high ISO due to the depth of field and high shutter speed required for the desired outcome.  The overcast skies were also a blessing, as they reduced shadows and gave me better flexibility with sun angle.  I pre-focused in manual mode to where the birds were consistently eating berries.  Then using my handheld shutter release fired away.  It was very gratifying when preparation and vision all came together for this photo.    

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Everglades Re-Visited

Early morning ground  fog in the swamps of Everglades National Park, Florida.
Early morning ground fog in the swamps of Everglades National Park, Florida.

By Jerry Ginsberg

In these days of COVID-19, very little seems normal. Our daily routines have been drastically altered. That certainly includes travel and photography. Had this been a normal year, I would have traveled to both Switzerland and Argentine Patagonia. Under the circumstances neither country was about to allow entry to foreign tourists. After tolerating cabin fever for just so long, I had to at least get in the car and go someplace where I could photograph some natural beauty.

The national park and, by far, greatest nature preserve closest to my home is Everglades at the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. Since I hadn’t been there in several years (as a species, we frequently seem to avoid the easiest options), it seemed like the obvious choice. So, in early December I packed up and headed south. Once finding a convenient and presumably sanitized motel in nearby Florida City, I began cruising through this very familiar more than one million-acre wilderness of avian and reptile life, swampy prairie, and slow moving river of grass.

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Artistic Pelican Photo Drives Social Media Engagement

Photo of a pelican floating on water that reflects tjhe colors of nearby boats. © Susan Manley
Pelican © Susan Manley

Interview with Susan Manley

NANPA member Susan Manley lives in Maywood, close to Los Angeles, California. When she posted this photo (of a pelican in water that was reflecting colors from a nearby boat) in NANPA’s Facebook group, she wasn’t thinking it would be one of the top performers. But it generated a lot of engagement, garnering more than 700 likes, 37 shares and 128 comments. With almost 21,000 members and dozens of posts each day, it isn’t easy to generate a lot of buzz there but, with the right kind if image, it’s possible. In a continuing exploration of what drives social media engagement, we checked in with Susan.

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Alaska’s Chilkat River Bald Eagle Preserve

Our National Symbol © Debbie McCulliss

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. – John Muir

By Debbie McCulliss

The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is a world-famous, 48,000-acre area in which one of the world’s largest gatherings of bald eagles feast every fall on spawned-out chum salmon. As winter moves in, the eagles migrate into this open water reservoir in which the water temperature remains somewhat warmer than the surrounding waters. It is a place full of photographic opportunities and offers countless chances to make lifelong memories.

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Cute Raccoons Lead to Facebook Engagement

Photo of two baby raccoon faces in a tree.  © Keith Freeburn
Looks like the local raccoons had a recent litter of two little rascals. I love looking up at this nest and seeing curious little faces looking back at me. © Keith Freeburn

Interview with Keith Freeburn

Certain photos get tons of engagement on social media—likes, shares, comments. Others don’t. Why? What is it about these photographs that grabs viewers’ attention enough to comment or share? What can we learn from them? NANPA’s Facebook group has more than 20,000 members and dozens of posts each day. It’s an active community of nature photographers and people who enjoy great nature photography. This article is the first in a series in which we take a closer look at the most engaging photos from the group and see if we can tease out why they had such an impact.

Keith Freeburn posted his photo of two raccoons on September 13th and it was an immediate hit. To date, it’s garnered more than 1,300 likes, 109 comments and 191 shares. We asked Keith to tell us a little about himself and reflect on why this photo just took off.

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Twelve Lessons Learned from Self-Publishing

Pair of bald eagles on the shore. © Tim Boyer
Pair of bald eagles on the shore. © Tim Boyer

An interview with Tim Boyer

Tim Boyer is an award-winning nature photographer based in the state of Washington who specializes in birds. He leads workshops, does presentations, has a YouTube channel, and his photos have been published in many magazines including several editions of NANPA’s Expressions. He also self-published two books, Learn the Art of Bird Photography : The Complete Field Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Photographers and Birders in 2018 and The Bird Photographer’s Guide to Bosque del Apache in 2020. He’s a busy guy, but he took time out of his schedule to speak with us about the lessons he’s learned from self-publishing books.

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Staying Relevant

Photo of a male moose running. Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson
Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson

Story and Photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

As most of you—hopefully—did as well, I read the latest NANPA handbooks, Bird Photography and Contest Secrets, this past month.

In Contest Secrets, Karen Schuenemann makes a valid point in her article “Getting from No to Yes.” Ms. Schuenemann said, “If you sit back and don’t put in the effort, you already have a NO. If you don’t try something that you dream about doing, you already have a NO. If you don’t attempt to do anything at all, you already have a NO.”

This is a twist on something I frequently say to people: “If you don’t ask for a yes, you already have a no.”

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Weekly Wow! Week of September 14, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Tiny but Mighty Cheetah Cub, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya” © Anita Ross
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Tiny but Mighty Cheetah Cub, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya” © Anita Ross

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, September 14, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Weekly Wow! Week of September 7, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Sparring Red and Green Macaws, Pantanal , Brazil” © Judy Lynn Malloch
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Sparring Red and Green Macaws, Pantanal , Brazil” © Judy Lynn Malloch

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 24, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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From the Archives: Why Do Photographers Enter NANPA’s Showcase Competition?

Male Lion Attack on Giraffe, 2017 Showcase Judge’s Choice, Mammals © Michael Cohen

There are as many reasons to enter NANPA’s Showcase photo competition as there are photographers.  For some, winning Best in Show or Judge’s Choice serves as an endorsement of their skill, and can be added to their bio and marketing materials.  To others, recognition by the judges is a validation of their devotion to nature photography, a payoff for the years of effort they put into improving their skills.  And, for still others, selection of their photo is both a personal triumph as well as a challenge; applause for how far they’ve come and a challenge to continue getting better.

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