New Conservation Category in NANPA’s Showcase Competition!

Monarch caterpillar. Monarch butterfly numbers have been declining at an alarming rate.  A meadow planted with milkweed, a favorite of Monarchs, helps provide suitable habitat for the annual migration of these majestic butterflies.  Several citizen science projects encourage people to help track the migration, reduce pesticide use and plant butterfly-friendly flowers and other vegetation. Photo by Frank Gallagher.

NANPA’s Showcase competition includes a new category this year:  conservation!  In addition to birds, mammals, ‘scapes, macro/micro/other and altered reality, you can enter photos that speak to conserving species, ecosystems and places. So get your conservation images ready to enter!

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The Scale of Impact

This photo was taken in Ilulissat, Greenland’s third-largest city and home to Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A hiker foregrounds a colossal iceberg, a scene that left me in wonder that micro humans have accelerated the rate at which macro icebergs are produced.
This photo was taken in Ilulissat, Greenland’s third-largest city and home to Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A hiker foregrounds a colossal iceberg, a scene that left me in wonder that micro humans have accelerated the rate at which macro icebergs are produced.

Story & photos by Bridget Ye

As admirers, students, educators and conservators of our natural world, nature photographers strive to capture the essence of both the intimate micro and extraordinary macro. We might photograph creatures on the brink of extinction or landscapes in decay, yet rarely do we include ourselves in the portrayal and definition of “nature”. The presence and influence of humanity on the environment has often been detrimental and, sometimes, it seems that the environment reciprocates with natural disasters. A comparison of resilience, though, reveals that nature has a tendency to prevail over time and will probably continue to do so. Try as we might to build and rebuild in notorious flood zones or to erect dams that reconfigure river systems for our benefit, nature does not just meekly surrender to human desires. It often seems as though adaptation, a fundamental skill for survival for all things living in the natural world, is lost on us.

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Top Six Tips for Choosing Winning Images for Photo Contests

Time to get your entries ready for NANPA's 2020 Showcase Competition.
Time to get your entries ready for NANPA’s 2020 Showcase Competition.

In a photo contest, everybody wants their entry to win. So, what can you do to maximize your chances of having one (or more) of your photos chosen for recognition in NANPA’s 2020 Showcase Photo Competition or, for that matter, any other photo competition?

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Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – Joshua Asel

Showcase 2019, Judges' Choice , Mammals: A Long-tailed Weasel Killed by a Vehicle, Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California © Joshua Asel.

Showcase 2019, Judges’ Choice , Mammals: A Long-tailed Weasel Killed by a Vehicle, Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California © Joshua Asel.

Bio:

Josh Asel started wildlife and conservation photography in 2012 and has transitioned into an award-winning photographer, Ethics Committee Member at NANPA, large carnivore tracker, author, and instructor. He founded Wild Expectations, is represented by Wildscreen, and has appeared on multiple judging panels. Josh’s publications include Defenders of Wildlife, Improve Photography, National Geographic Education, Alaska Airlines Magazine, and The Press Democrat, among others.

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Bugs, Photographers and NANPA’s Conservation Handbook

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail feeds on milkweed flowers. This meadow, planted with milkweed, is an important stop on the Monarch butterfly migration, but also provides food and shelter for many other insects, birds, rodents and reptiles all year long. Photo © Frank Gallagher.

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail feeds on milkweed flowers. This meadow, planted with milkweed, is an important stop on the Monarch butterfly migration, but also provides food and shelter for many other insects, birds, rodents and reptiles all year long. Photo © Frank Gallagher.

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?

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Geena Hill and the NANPA College Scholarship Program

Many northerners like to migrate to Florida in the winter to escape the cold, but few realize that they should stick around until late spring. May/June in central Florida is one of the most beautiful times to visit Florida, mostly because of the wildflowers that bloom en masse along the roadsides. There is an incredibly high diversity of wildflowers that can be seen, but some areas are completely dominated by a native wildflower, Coreopsis, which is also Florida’s state wildflower. © Geena Hill.

Many northerners like to migrate to Florida in the winter to escape the cold, but few realize that they should stick around until late spring. May/June in central Florida is one of the most beautiful times to visit Florida, mostly because of the wildflowers that bloom en masse along the roadsides. There is an incredibly high diversity of wildflowers that can be seen, but some areas are completely dominated by a native wildflower, Coreopsis, which is also Florida’s state wildflower. © Geena Hill.

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.

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From the Executive Director – Susan Day

Susan Day on a foggy morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Richard Day

Susan Day on a foggy morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Richard Day

June 30 is the last day for Gordon Illg’s term as NANPA’s 25th president and when the board terms for Sean Fitzgerald and Ted Moreno end.

If there was a prize for the most meetings presided over, Gordon definitely qualifies!  In the last twelve months, Gordon led twelve teleconference board meetings, three teleconference executive committee meetings, two in-person multi-day board meetings, and the NANPA Business meeting held at the 2019 Summit in Las Vegas.   Not to mention, he participated in almost weekly meetings with me plus dozens of committee and planning meetings in the past year.  Gordon has been great to work with, and even though he travels a lot for his workshop business, he was always available to answer questions and kept in regular contact with me.  Gordon will continue his board service to NANPA as Past President for another year—where he’ll still get to attend plenty of meetings (but won’t have to lead them!)

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From the President: Tom Haxby

Tom Haxby at Olson Falls near Munising, MI.

Tom Haxby at Olson Falls near Munising, MI.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tom Haxby, and for the next year I will be the President of the Board of Directors of NANPA. I’ve been a member of NANPA for over 10 years and have been on the Board of Directors for the last two. I have always enjoyed photography, but several years ago, after a career of almost 30 years as a natural resource manager, it was time to leave behind the 10 x 10 cubicle, endless meetings, toxic office politics and administrative tedium. So, I dove into nature photography full time and have not regretted for one minute the photographic adventures and time spent behind my camera.  Along the way, there have been a few photos that have made the Showcase top 250 and a few other award winners as well as six weeks as an Artist-in-Residence in 2016 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There have been so many trips to the Smokies, that some thought that I am local to there. Not yet! I currently reside in the Traverse City area of Northern Michigan.

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The Many Flavors of Conservation Photography

The Rock Creek Conservancy is partnering with the National Park Service and working with the local community to strategically restore five sites ("mini-oases") within Rock Creek Park.

The Rock Creek Conservancy is partnering with the National Park Service and working with the local community to strategically restore five sites (“mini-oases”) within Rock Creek Park.

Story & photo by Frank Gallagher

When we think of conservation photography, we often have in mind images of the grand and majestic:  elephants, whales and tigers; the Grand Canyon, glaciers and coral reefs.  You don’t have to be a well-known photographer like Joel Sartore or Florian Schulz, or work with National Geographic or the Sierra Club to have an impact.  Those are all important, to be sure, but not everything has to be charismatic megafauna, epic landscapes, famous names or mass media.  There are also many opportunities for conservation photography in the small, in the local and in the mundane.  Sometimes, opportunity is knocking in places you’ve come to take for granted.

I was thinking about that recently, during a project for Nature Photography Day.

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From the President: Gordon Illg

In the wildflower bloom at Peridot Mesa in Arizona © Cathy Illg.

In the wildflower bloom at Peridot Mesa in Arizona © Cathy Illg.

This is my last blog as NANPA president, the end of a year of maundering over the past, present and future of nature photography. It turns out my fear that the organization would suffer under my leadership, or lack thereof, was unfounded, just as many of my fears are. Not only is NANPA doing well, but its membership has reached a new high point. It’s tempting for me to take credit for our success, but the truth is I’m riding on the coattails of an incredible herd/school/pride/pod of talented and hard-working staff and volunteers. Without them I would have been president of nothing, and I’m extremely grateful for my addiction to nature photography if for no other reason than it introduced me to these wonderful people who have guided and supported me.

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