I photographed Grizzly 399 crossing the highway with a horde of photographers watching in the background as part of a project involving ecotourism and the pressure that it puts on wildlife. I had envisioned this image for some time now and, while I was in Wyoming for the NANPA Nature Celebration, I got the opportunity I was looking for. Grizzly 399 is famous for spending much of her time close to the road. I knew she would make for the perfect subject for this project. I created the image by making sure I was on the opposite side of the road as the rest of the crowd and then when the moment she crossed I lined myself up in the middle of the road to focus on the crowd.
In late January, on the way from Denver to Yellowstone National Park, some friends and I stopped in Jackson Hole for the night. Driving up the east side of the National Elk Refuge just out of town we came across a herd of 30 – 40 bighorn sheep. In late afternoon diffused light I found these four rams about to do some head-butting. Quickly setting up my new 600mm lens on my tripod I was able to grab a few frames before two of them separated and began jousting. The other two went back to grazing.
An urban prairie dog colony near downtown Fort Collins was scheduled for relocation. Construction of new apartments had begun. I knew an excavator would be coming to dig up part of the colony. I drove to the site every day to check on the excavator because I wanted to make a picture of a prairie dog with the excavator in the background to tell the story of development and urban prairie dogs. Finally, the excavator was in the perfect spot. I identified a burrow, set out my camera with a remote trigger, and waited until a prairie dog stood on that burrow.
Each of us is drawn to nature photography for our own personal reasons. Some for commercial reasons — to make money. Others because they enjoy sitting in the peace and quiet of nature, waiting for beautiful light. Still others who perhaps enjoy the thrill of capturing animal behavior in front of their very eyes. For me, at the beginning, it was all of the above but, as I spent more time in the field and grew older, it became more about being a champion for innocent and beautiful creatures who needed protecting from, ironically, humans like me. In the midst of a pandemic, it’s easy to see the effects of the COVID-19 virus on humans, but it is also significantly affecting the animal kingdom.
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, April 20, 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 area within the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, that our conservation programs are focused and where this shot was taken is a restricted area. I was required to apply for the permit, stay in a designated area for a very limited timeframe, and also to be accompanied by four policemen at all times. We were guided by our indigenous parabiologists to this small, remote Mro village and luckily were able to convince them to pose with these hornbills which were being reared by the family. This photo was taken to demonstrate the challenges for both wildlife and the local people.
I spent weeks preparing and packing for my “Epic South Georgia” voyage, a photographer’s dream bucket-list trip, run by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. One of my main priorities was having proper clothing and photography gear. That and staying healthy before and on the trip, especially because there is no airstrip, rescue or other emergency service on the island, nor is there cell or Wi-Fi service.
By the time I left home the first week of October 2019, I had watched plenty of YouTube videos and seen enough Facebook and Instagram posts from South Georgia Island to make me vividly imagine returning home with memories and images of magical experiences. In reality, I had no idea what to anticipate. Nor could I assume I would get great images, having only two years of experience in nature photography. Little did I know I’d go as a hobbyist wildlife photographer and return as a budding conservation photographer and advocate.
Clay Bolt of Livingston, Montana has been named the 2019 Philip Hyde Conservation Grant recipient by the NANPA Foundation. Bolt’s award of $2,500 will be used to continue his study of bumble bees, specifically the effect of climate change on bumble bees in the Sky Islands in south-central New Mexico.
Among many important projects, the NANPA Foundation offers two grants each year: the Philip Hyde Conservation Grant and the Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant. The deadline for both grants is 11 PM Eastern Time tomorrow, October 31st, 2019. Although that’s not a lot of time, the grant application forms are not onerous and can be completed with a few hours effort. So, if you are a student studying photography in college or are either planning or in the midst of a conservation photography project, this is your chance for some financial assistance that can have a real impact on what you’re doing!
Sometimes a really critical piece of a conservation project isn’t the photography, the charismatic megafauna or stunning plants. Sometimes it’s something much more mundane or prosaic, like transcripts.