How NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program Impacted Me: A Turning Point

Owl on alert in the forest.

Owl on alert in the forest.

Story and photos by Ashleigh Scully

I was a participant in the 2017 NANPA High School Scholarship Program and spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountains working with some incredible mentors, broadening my interests in photography and learning from some very talented kids my age as well. This program was a turning point for me–it showed me just how much I want to inspire the younger generation to learn more about conservation and photography. Working with and learning from 9 other students from across the country was not what I expected it to be. I had assumed we would all stick to the certain aspects of photography we were comfortable with, but instead we all motivated each other to try a little bit of everything. During that week in the Smokies, I got to experiment with flash and night photography and use some of the cameras, lenses, and flashes that Canon sent to as loaners. I now have knowledge of the settings to use for star and night photography, something that will definitely come in handy for me in the future. We also hiked out to a waterfall and attempted slow motion waterfall photos to capture the blur of the water. Using the loaner flashes, we also found little salamanders and toads and used white backgrounds for the “Meet Your Neighbors” technique that  Andrew Snyder, one of the mentors, taught us. Some of the kids were so in love with this new technique, it was all they did!

Do you know a talented young nature photographer? NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program is seeking 10 high school student photographers to attend a five-day field event where they can learn from the industry’s top shooters. Apply now for this immersive, hands-on education program to be held in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park July 6–11, 2020. Combining classroom and field-based instruction, students will have the chance to improve their nature photography skills, learn about NANPA, meet industry professionals, and gain an appreciation of the Smoky Mountains’ rich natural history. The NANPA Foundation funds this and other educational programs. January 31, 2020 is the last day to apply, so don’t wait. Apply now! This article was originally published in January, 2019.

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Keywords as Finding Aids

What’s another word for Thesaurus?—Steven Wright, comedian

After using Keyword Catalog: Asia, India, Karnataka, people, human, human being, human beings, humans, person, male, masculine, boy, lad, young man, Indian, animals, animal, beast, beasts, creature, creatures, zoology, livestock, water buffalo, bovine, Bubalus bubalis, environment, ecology, ecosystem, environmentalism, scenery, nature, water, stream, lighting, light, sunshine, sunny, outdoors, outdoor, outside, agriculture, farmer, granger, field worker, farmhand, farm hand, field hand, Asia, India, Karnataka, Hampi. ©David Riecks

“Bullock Boy” Initial Keywords: boy, water buffalo, stream, farmhand, sunny, outdoors, Hampi (Karnataka) After using Keyword Catalog: Asia, India, Karnataka, people, human, human being, human beings, humans, person, male, masculine, boy, lad, young man, Indian, animals, animal, beast, beasts, creature, creatures, zoology, livestock, water buffalo, bovine, Bubalus bubalis, environment, ecology, ecosystem, environmentalism, scenery, nature, water, stream, lighting, light, sunshine, sunny, outdoors, outdoor, outside, agriculture, farmer, granger, field worker, farmhand, farm hand, field hand, Asia, India, Karnataka, Hampi. ©David Riecks

 

Story and photos by David Riecks

Who cares about keywords?  Well, unless you have a, pardon the expression, photographic memory, you should. If you or your agent or a client ever wants to find a particular image from the thousands in your library, good keywords make it easy.

Since document files are made up of words, a researcher can do a search using some of those words to find the files closest to what is needed.

With photos, there are no words unless ones have been assigned. It’s possible to deduce some aspects of images via automated means, like using the date and time or possibly the location in the digital-camera-captured GPS information. But that’s about it unless you are interested in subscribing to one of the new “machine learning” options—a discussion for another day.

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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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Subtle, But Significant: A Polarizer Filter Isn’t Just For Sunny, Blue-Sky Days

Cumulus clouds over Dickenson Bay St. John's, Antigua West Indies.

Cumulus clouds over Dickenson Bay, St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies.

Story & photos by F. M. Kearney

I’m a late-comer. I didn’t make the switch to digital until 2014. As a film shooter, I relied heavily on filters. Everything from warming to ND grads to a vast array of special effect filters were permanent residents in my camera bag. Nowadays, digital imaging can replicate many of those filter effects – often much easier and with far more control. But, as good as digital technology is, it still can’t duplicate the effects of a polarizer filter. The photo above is a classic beach scene where a polarizer works most of its magic. By filtering out the glare and atmospheric haze, the true color of the sky comes forth revealing puffy, white cumulus clouds as far as the eye can see.

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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 Archives: Add Scale to Your Grandscapes

© Kerrick James

© Kerrick James

Story & photos by Kerrick James

Like many of us, my love of photography began with the wild landscape. My early years were spent emulating icons like Ansel Adams, David Muench and Eliot Porter. I followed the grand landscape dream all over the American West, and after years of chasing light and doing “pure” landscapes with no signs of humanity whatsoever, I began to feel a little boxed in, as if I was repeating my favorite lighting formulas everywhere I went, and missing something I could sense, but not see. Continue reading

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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On Bended Stems: Explore the Beauty of Post-Peak Tulips

Lily-flowered tulips beginning to “show their age”

Lily-flowered tulips beginning to “show their age”

Story & photos by F. M. Kearney

Timing is everything. As nature photographers, we’re constantly trying to schedule our shoots during times when our subjects will be seen at their best. For landscapes, this is generally during the “Magic Hours” of the day – the hour just before sunrise or after sunset. Flowers can benefit from the warm light at this time of day as well, but more important than that is catching them at the peak period in their blooming cycle. It’s an absolute obsession for some photographers. A field of tulips in pristine condition is truly breathtaking. The photo below is one such example.

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From Lemons to Lemonade in Olympic National Park

Small waterfall in a creek in Olympic National Park.

Small waterfall in a creek in Olympic National Park.

Story & photos by John Pedersen

Sometimes we just have to make lemonade from lemons. We don’t control the weather, the sun or clouds, or even the subjects we like to shoot. There are those occasional days when we show up on location and the variables beyond our control just don’t seem to want to cooperate. So, what do we do? Turn around and go home and wait for better conditions? No! We stay, adjust our expectations and dig into our bag of photographic skills to make the best of the situation, making the best lemonade we can from the lemons that are given to us.

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Riley Swartzendruber and the NANPA College Scholarship Program

Rax Bolay means "Green Viper" in the indigenous language Q'eqchi. The common name for the snake is Yellow-Blotched Palm Pit Viper. It is a highly endemic species to the area. © Riley Swartzendruber.

Rax Bolay means “Green Viper” in the indigenous language Q’eqchi. The common name for the snake is Yellow-Blotched Palm Pit Viper. It is a highly endemic species to the area. © Riley Swartzendruber.

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 Riley Swartzendruber.

Riley was an undergraduate student majoring in digital media and photography at Eastern Mennonite University when he applied for the 2019 NANPA College Scholarship Program.  “I had an interest in creating videos all through elementary, middle, and high school and knew quickly that I wanted to pursue a career that involved using a camera,” he says.  But the first time he picked up a DSLR camera wasn’t until college, during which he went to Guatemala and Colombia.  “This challenged me in what I could do with my photography.  I found an immense amount of enjoyment experimenting and finding creative ways of telling the story I wanted to tell.”

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