From the Viewpoint of a Tamron Image Master

Story and photography by David Akoubian

© David Akoubian

© David Akoubian

SPONSORED- I have been an avid birder long before I was a photographer. When I finally started photographing birds autofocus was non-existent. Photographing birds in flight was just a dream, mostly I did stationary birds. As I made the transition to digital just after the turn of the century, I started getting my hopes up that I could photograph stationary and moving birds. It wasn’t until the past few years though that everything came together for me, photographing all kinds of birds moving and stationary without breaking the bank. Continue reading

NANPA Weekly Wow: Feb 20-26

Great Kiskadees Beak to Beak, Hidalgo Co., TX- © Cissy Beasley

Great Kiskadees Beak to Beak, Hidalgo Co., TX- © Cissy Beasley

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2017 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

Continue reading

Wood Thrushes- Nature’s Flutes

Story and photo by Budd Titlow

A wood thrush takes a bath in a cool mountain stream. © Budd Titlow

A wood thrush takes a bath in a cool mountain stream. © Budd Titlow

Many years ago, I was walking through a lovely old-growth stand of northern hardwoods on a glacial moraine hillside in northeastern Connecticut, conducting a bird survey for a proposed residential subdivision. With each step, my mind slipped deeper into despair over sacrificing this beautiful woodland habitat for human housing. Continue reading

Unleashing Juxtaposition in Nature Photography

Story and photos by Michael Rossacci

© Michael Rossacci

© Michael Rossacci

Experience has taught me to exploit compositional techniques that help my nature images take on a more compelling story-telling quality. One such technique that I employ frequently is juxtaposition. This fancy word is formed by joining the Latin root “juxta”, which translates to “next to”, to the word “position”. Compositionally speaking, this means placing the subject next to some object in order to set the stage for a compare-and-contrast scenario. In some cases it is the similarity of the subject to the secondary object, whereas in other cases it may be the difference between the two that is stressed. More often than not, what results is a more inviting look and feel to the final image. In this article, I will delve into more detail about juxtaposition and highlight some examples from my own images. Continue reading

Showcase Images

Showcase6

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

Martin Pomphrey – “Dall Porpoise, Off the coast of Southeastern Alaska”

Mike Walker – “Morning at Reflection Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, WA”

Geoffrey Schmid – “From Eternal Seas, Olympic National Park Washington State”

Michael Stern – “Porpoise feeding on mullet, Flamingo South Florida”

Paul Marcellini – “Pine Rocklands at sunset, Everglades National Park, Florida”

Peter Hartlove – “Columbine Grandeur, Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado”

Ernesto Sanchez-Proal – “Thousands of bats gather inside cave in Mexico, Topolobampo, Mexico”

Continue reading

THIS BIRDING LIFE: Black Skimmers- My Enigma Bird

Story and Photos by Budd Titlow

A colony of black skimmers holds tight against a gusty wind on a beach in Florida’s Fort De Soto Municipal Park. © Budd Titlow

A colony of black skimmers holds tight against a gusty wind on a beach in Florida’s Fort De Soto Municipal Park. © Budd Titlow

Black skimmers are my enigma bird. Just when I think they couldn’t possibly be around, they show up in droves. Then when I think it’s a perfect day to see some, they’re nowhere to be found. Continue reading

THIS BIRDING LIFE: Sandhill Cranes Blanketing the Sky & Land

Story and photo by Budd Titlow

A pair of Sandhill cranes feeding in a marshy wetland. © Budd Titlow

A pair of sandhill cranes feeding in a marshy wetland. © Budd Titlow

The brisk spring air was punctuated by a gusty wind as I stood in breathless anticipation beside the main gates. Once inside, we stealthily crept up the steps of the permanent wooden blind where we could see silhouettes of thousands of birds blanketing the riverbed’s shallow channels and naked sandbars.

The world’s oldest surviving bird species, the sandhill crane still appears curiously archaic. With legs dangling and bent in an awkward landing posture, and neck and wings extended, it is reminiscent of the ancient pterodactyl, the extinct flying reptile. Fossilized remains of the sandhill have been found in Nebraska sediments dating from the Lower Pliocene, some nine million years ago. This has led scientists to theorize that today’s sandhill crane has remained unchanged since that long-ago epoch. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: The Chattering Songbird of the Salt Marsh

Story and photographs by Jim Clark

In an earlier column I gave praise to the seaside sparrow, a species common to the salt marshes of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, but rarely sought after by nature photographers. This column is on one of my all-time favorite songsters: Cistothorus plaustris, the marsh wren, a denizen of freshwater and tidal brackish marshes with robust stands of bulrush, cattail and cordgrass.

The marsh wren is every bit as inconspicuous as the seaside sparrow, but two qualities make it stand out. It is curious as all get-out, and it loves to sing.

Marsh wrens have to figure you out, and they will approach as near as arm’s length to do so. Even when you can’t see them, they are likely watching you; sometimes closer than you think.

Jim Songbird

The domain of the marsh wren, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland. © Jim Clark

The other giveaway is its song. Once you hear the marsh wren’s bubbling repertoire of chattering melodies, you will have little trouble recognizing it on future ventures into its wetland domain. A marsh is not a marsh without the wren’s enthusiastic and rapid chatter resonating throughout the tidal landscape. And this little feathered ball of dynamism not only sings during the day, but also at all hours of the night. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: Photographing the Virginia Rail of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Story and photographs by Jim Clark

The notes of the rail came loudly to my ear, and on moving toward the spot whence they proceeded, I observed the bird exhibiting the full ardor of his passion. Each time it passed before her, it would pause for a moment…and bow to her with all the grace of a well-bred suitor of our own species.—John James Audubon, 1840

What Audubon witnessed is something most folks will never see as this secretive marsh bird is heard more than it is seen. In 1926, ornithologist Arthur Cleveland Bent wrote this about how to see a Virginia rail: “Take up one’s station near a pond or marsh frequented by them and watch patiently, silently, and immobile….” Wow, patience. What a concept.

Virginia rail at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland.

Virginia rail at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland.

Continue reading

Cranes of the World by Mike Endres

Greater Sandhill landing to roost at Bosque del Apache NWR, NM. This image took over 160 tries to get using manual focus & exposure and a Nikon D3 shooting 11 fps once the birds became visible in moon. Image © Mike Endres

Greater Sandhill landing to roost at Bosque del Apache NWR, NM. This image took over 160 tries to get using manual focus & exposure and a Nikon D3 shooting 11 fps once the birds became visible in moon. Image © Mike Endres

Images and Story by Mike Endres

Aldo Leopold once said, “When we hear his call we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution.”

Cranes are among the most graceful and symbolic birds known to man. That they’ve been around for some 10 million years is a testament to their hardiness in the face of numerous geological events that have challenged or even lead to the demise of other, perhaps lesser, genera. Found on every continent in the world, with the exception of Antarctica and South America, the 15 species are frequently incorporated into local culture and mythology as they help humans better understand their connectedness to the natural world around them. Continue reading