Father’s Day Reflections of a Nature Photographer

photo of young girl scanning the tree canopy for birds.
Scanning the tree canopy for birds.

Story and photos by Mark Hendricks

“Teakettle, teakettle, teakettle.”

Ah, the joyous song of a Carolina wren serenades me on my back deck. One of my favorite harbingers of spring, I find its song eloquent and welcoming.

On cue, the rhythmic tapping of footsteps pair to the song. “Tap-a-tap-a-tap.” “Teakettle, teakettle, teakettle.” “Tap-a-tap-a-tap.”

“Papa, pajarito (translation “little bird)!” exclaims my two-year-old daughter Liliana, who just absolutely adores birdsong, and continued to tap along to the avian symphony. Later a brilliant male cardinal arrived singing on a low-hanging branch of tulip poplar. Each time the cardinal sings Liliana hops to the sounds.

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Weekly Wow! Week of June 15, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Spider Wasp with Spider” © Tom Myers
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Spider Wasp with Spider” © Tom Myers

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, June 15, 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!

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Stan Bysshe

Red-winged blackbird perched on a branch with breath visible on a cold morning. Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: " Red-winged Dragon” © Stan Bysshe
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: ” Red-winged Dragon” © Stan Bysshe

How I Got the Shot

Early spring in my local Northern Virginia wetlands park is a great time to shoot these territorial male Red-winged Blackbirds. At first light, the displaying birds are backlit and, if it is cold enough and bright enough, you can see the breath of the singing bird.  The problem is a black moving subject, backlit, in low light, so there is always a tradeoff between shutter speed and ISO. For me, there is a lot of trial and error involved. The good news is that the blackbirds are relentless in defending their territory. For the 15-20 minutes that the light is perfect, there are usually multiple photo ops.

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Nature Photography Day: We need it now more than ever

Backlit baby bird at dawn. Nature Photography Day: Reconnecting with nature near home. 2019 second place image: "First Sunset"  © Teri Franzen.
Nature Photography Day: Reconnecting with nature near home. 2019 second place image: “First Sunset” © Teri Franzen.

NANPA has been celebrating Nature Photography Day on June 15 every year for 15 years, to promote the enjoyment of nature photography and increase awareness of the role images play in promoting conservation and protecting plants, wildlife, and landscapes. Enthusiasm for Nature Photography Day continues to grow worldwide.

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Weekly Wow! Week of June 8, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Green and Black Poison Dart Frog” © Hector Astorga
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Green and Black Poison Dart Frog” © Hector Astorga

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, June 8, 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!

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Weekly Wow! Week of June 1, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Cattle Egret in the Boragaon Landfill” © Carla Rhodes
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Cattle Egret in the Boragaon Landfill” © Carla Rhodes

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, June 1, 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!

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Weekly Wow! Week of May 25, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "The Magnificent Tail of a Violet-tailed Sylph” © Scott Trageser.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “The Magnificent Tail of a Violet-tailed Sylph” © Scott Trageser.

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, May 25, 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!

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Lisa Jansen

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality: "Bursting with Color” © Lisa Jansen.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality: “Bursting with Color” © Lisa Jansen.

How I Got the Shot

Great Blue Herons don’t usually visit our small Wisconsin Lake, so this was a pleasant surprise.  It was early morning as I take my usual kayak ride on the lookout for nature’s wonders.  As I came around the bend, there he was, standing tall and proud amongst the reeds.  He stood still as a statue as I positioned myself according to the light, determined appropriate camera settings, and captured the shot.  My concern was to get a well-focused, close shot without disturbing him and with a zoom lens and crop sensor, I was able to accomplish this.

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Weekly Wow! Week of May 18, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "An Abstract Image of a Red Fox Calling in the Wilderness” © Ron Day.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “An Abstract Image of a Red Fox Calling in the Wilderness” © Ron Day.

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, May 18, 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!

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Weekly Wow! Week of May 11, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: " Development Encroaches on Sandhill Crane Nesting Grounds” © Claudia Daniels.  A photo of a sandhill crane foraging for food with buildings in the background.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: ” Development Encroaches on Sandhill Crane Nesting Grounds” © Claudia Daniels

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, May 11, 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!

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