America’s Better Idea: National Wildlife Refuges

The National Wildlife Refuges were created to manage, conserve and restore fish, wildlife and plants and the ecosystems that sustain them.

The National Wildlife Refuges were created to manage, conserve and restore fish, wildlife and plants and the ecosystems that sustain them.

Story and photographs by Jeff Parker

The National Parks have famously been called “America’s best idea”.  I have visited many of our National Parks and they ARE awesome.  However, I tend to think that our National Wildlife Refuges are “America’s Better Idea”.

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From the President: Gordon Illg

Close encounters with unimpressed bighorn sheep.

Close encounters with unimpressed bighorn sheep.

In the old days, not only did we have to walk through two feet of snow on our way to school (which was really tough for me because I lived in Tucson), but we didn’t have access to all the species and landscapes that photographers do today. If one has the money, there is now almost no place on Earth that cannot be reached and photographed with only a couple of days travel. Nature photography has indeed changed over the last 30 years, and I’m not just talking about technological advances in photo gear. I’m also referring to our subjects, our relationships with them, and our access to them. Most, if not all, of these changes have resulted from an exploding human population and the fact that we are increasingly mobile. Have these changes been good or bad? The answer is yes. The immediate conclusion most of us jump to is that a hordes of people are bad for the natural world, and this conclusion is not wrong. But, and this is a big but, lots of people can make nature photography better.

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Grants and Awards Recognize the Work of Nature Photographers

Photo by Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner

“Candlight Grow”
All that glitters is not gold. Each light represents marijuana plants that once grew within this stretch of the High Sierra National Forest in California. A single grow can range from a thousand to tens of thousands of plants. © Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner.

If a nature photographer clicks her shutter in the wilderness, and no one else is around to hear it, can it still make an impact? It sure can! The work of professional and aspiring nature photographers can save ecosystems, species and beautiful landmarks. NANPA understands the important work you’re doing.

And better than the sound of one hand clapping, NANPA and the NANPA Foundation have many ways to recognize and support the work, career or budding potential of nature photographers. All during the year, there are opportunities to apply or nominate someone for an award, a grant or other recognition.

Several are running now or about to start. Let’s take a look. One could be tailor made for you!

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Very Curious About Moths

Luna moth (Actius luna) photographed on my back porch in Allegany County, NY (USA) © Dave Huth

Methods for tracking down Lepidopterans to explore through photography

Story and photographs by Dave Huth

I photograph creatures and their environments as a way of exploring and understanding the beauty and complexity of the living world. I began photographing moths and caterpillars after explaining to my then-7-year-old daughter how her grandfather first got me interested in nature. My Dad is an amateur Lepidopterist who introduced me to these weird and secretive creatures when I was about her age.

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