Showcase 2021 Winner: Dawn Wilson

The processed legs of a bison (Bison bison) sit in a cart after being slaughtered outside of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming for wandering outside of the park boundaries. 2021 Showcase, First Runner-Up, Conservation © Dawn Wilson
The processed legs of a bison (Bison bison) sit in a cart after being slaughtered outside of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming for wandering outside of the park boundaries. 2021 Showcase, First Runner-Up, Conservation © Dawn Wilson

Artist’s statement

Back in the early days of the pandemic, I had just received notification that my home state of Colorado was considering putting stay-at-home orders in place. I was visiting Yellowstone National Park when I heard the news, so I scrambled to pack up and head home. As I left the hotel, I found a trailer of bison parts—heads on the bottom, legs missing hooves in the center, and these plastic-wrapped legs tied to the sides. It was so disturbing, yet I couldn’t help but ponder what I was seeing. In the winter, when bison leave the safety of the park and venture into the surrounding ranches, they can be slaughtered because they may transmit brucellosis to domesticated cows. It seems such a horrid thing to do to animals just looking for food away from the deep snows of Yellowstone. Seeing the fresh carcasses made my gut wrench in pain and sadness.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo of a male cardinal perched on a branch. A northern cardinal, referred to by my Louisiana family as a red bird, poses for a Valentine’s Day portrait. I used my time in Louisiana over the holidays to practice my backyard bird photography from a blind. I don’t have land in Colorado, so it was a nice change to sit in a blind, and a great way to improve my bird photo skills.
A northern cardinal, referred to by my Louisiana family as a red bird, poses for a Valentine’s Day portrait. I used my time in Louisiana over the holidays to practice my backyard bird photography from a blind. I don’t have land in Colorado, so it was a nice change to sit in a blind, and a great way to improve my bird photo skills.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I hope everyone is surviving and thriving into the New Year. There are certainly signs of hope on the horizon for many aspects of our world. The vaccines are being distributed and the pace of that is picking up. Our new administration has set forth goals to advance environmental justice and listen to science. And the team at NANPA has many, many great things coming in the next few months.

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Happy Holidays!

Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.
Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and opted to be outside for Black Friday.

As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect back on the ups and downs of the year.

Because of the coronavirus, our lives came to a standstill early in the year and plans significantly changed and evolved. They still keep changing, and planning for 2021 remains difficult.

All of my workshops were canceled or postponed to 2021, as were many for our members. All of my in-person classes were canceled, but Zoom provided an alternative that opened up the ability to teach to a larger audience (and reconnect via happy hours with my sorority sisters back in New Jersey and other states).

We were ordered to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID, yet it became a business opportunity to sell masks with my photos.

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Weekly Wow! Week of November 16, 2020

Waterfall photo. Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Mysterious Spring Dreams, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania” © Vandana Bajikar
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Mysterious Spring Dreams, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania” © Vandana Bajikar

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, November 16, 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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How Do We Do It Better? featuring Gabby Salazar

The Nature Photographer episode #3 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Common noddy feeding its chick, image by Gabby Salazar
Common noddy, Anous stolidus, feeding a chick on Ile aux Coco, a small nature reserve on an islet off the coast of Rodrigues Island. The noddys breed on this tiny islet.

Special guest Gabby Salazar joins NANPA President Dawn Wilson and Wild & Exposed co-hosts Mark Raycroft and Jason Loftus to talk about her current research studying what types of images influence people to support conservation. Is it the beautiful image of a dolphin in the wild, a dolphin caught in a net, or a dolphin affected by marine plastic? Gabby may not have answers yet, but she has lots of other great questions to share.

This amazing “33-years-young” photographer tells us about her travels in Mauritius, Indonesia, Guatemala, Madagascar, and India—including her work as a Fulbright Scholar—but confesses that her favorite nature photography experience is something much closer to home. 

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Being Thankful

Estes Park experienced its first scare when the Cameron Peak Fire, seen creating an eerie red glow in the sky above the historic Stanley Hotel, marched just a couple of miles from the town's northern border.
Estes Park experienced its first scare when the Cameron Peak Fire, seen creating an eerie red glow in the sky above the historic Stanley Hotel, marched just a couple of miles from the town’s northern border.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

As I write this, I am evacuated in the desert of Utah from my home in Estes Park, Colorado. Several wildfires are burning near this gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park—the Cameron Peak Fire to the north, which became Colorado’s largest wildfire in history at more than 200,000 acres, and the East Troublesome Fire to the west near Grand Lake, Colorado. Both fires are burning within Rocky Mountain National Park, including much of the Kawuneechee Valley on the west side, a portion in the northern wilderness, and more than 4,300 acres on the east side in the popular Bear Lake corridor and Moraine Park regions.

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Membership Has Benefits

The Nature Photographer episode #2 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Three young NANPA members head into the field with equipment, photo by Alena Ebeling-Schuld
© Alena Ebeling-Schuld

What one factor contributes more to a nature photographer’s success than anything else? Wild & Exposed co-hosts Ron Hayes and Jason Loftus will tell you when they sit down to talk with NANPA President Dawn Wilson. Plus, hear more about opportunities available to nature photographers through NANPA—from insurance to grants, big inspirational conferences to small regional field events—and what Wild & Exposed has to offer NANPA members, too.

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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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Finding Opportunities in the Silver Linings

Photo of resting elk, bugling. Throughout September and October, the elk will be in their mating season. This larger bull is one that can be found in the "city" herd in downtown Estes Park. His return in late August was a welcome sign of fall.
Throughout September and October, the elk will be in their mating season. This larger bull is one that can be found in the “city” herd in downtown Estes Park. His return in late August was a welcome sign of fall.

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Fall is my favorite season.

Although many people across North America aren’t even thinking about this colorful season, and won’t for several months, here in Colorado it has already started. The tundra started turning red and gold a couple of weeks ago. The bull elk have started bugling outside of my door here in Estes Park. The weather forecast is showing some really cool temperatures for the first week of September, providing some nice opportunities for frost and fog in the meadows. And I have already started to see some pops of gold on the aspen trees.

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From NANPA’s President: August 2020

Dawn Wilson photographing wildlife on the tundra of Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Dawn Wilson photographing wildlife on the tundra of Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

By Dawn Wilson

Hi everyone. Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my first post as your president. It is an honor to serve in this role for NANPA for the next year and I am excited about the opportunities that lay before us.

Thank you to all of the outgoing Board members—Andrew Snyder, Don Carter and Gordon Illg—for their dedication to serving on the Board. Thank you to Tom Haxby for doing a tremendous job leading NANPA during the past year. And thank you to all of the past presidents and board members who have kept the NANPA goals alive and flourishing.

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