In my many columns for NANPA, I have never repeated a particular location. Until now. As a result of events described below, it seems fitting to add a new insight on a familiar location.
Being a National Park Artist in Residence
Last year, I had the privilege of being chosen by Badlands National Park in South Dakota as their Artist in Residence for the fall season. Many units of the National Park Service offer these opportunities, which appear on https://www.nps.gov/subjects/arts/air.htm. In addition to National Parks, many other units (National Monuments, Scenic Trails, Historical Parks, Battlefields and more) in the system offer such opportunities. The process is very competitive with many artists across a wide spectrum of disciplines—visual, writing, performance, etc.—submitting applications. And the actual judging criteria remains unknowable.
Dewdrops quivered under my breath as I knelt down, my face but a couple inches away. Like sapphires, emeralds, and canary diamond they glistened, reflecting the vibrant organisms beneath. Like tiny, round mirrors, or tiny magnifying glasses, each micro detail was brought to prominence. Upon closer inspection, even my face, upside down, reflected back at me in as many copies as there were dewdrops. They jiggled and jostled, yet resisted the force of my breath and persisted in perfect cupola-shapes held together by cohesion.
As mesmerizing as the water drops were, I was here to photograph what lay beneath the transparent molecules. I drew a breath and blew. The water bubbles rolled away and revealed my intended subject. Tortuous as brain tissue, crusty as a scab, yet as significant as any other organism: lichen.
Art Wolfe is reputed to have said you can celebrate something to death. In a similar vein, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Senator Lamar Alexander penned a May 2018 editorial for CNN in which they bluntly stated that “our parks are being loved to death” through a combination of record-breaking crowds and severe maintenance backlogs. All over the world, precious, unique natural areas are under stress from human visitors. In some places, it’s simply a case of too many people coming to too small a space. In others, it’s not just the crowds, it’s also bad behavior.
In order to protect beautiful but fragile areas, many photographers have stopped sharing location information. No GPS data. No clues about where the spot is or how to get there. Why? Because, once a really cool photo location is out there on Instagram, Facebook or other platforms, the crowds inevitably follow.
Is withholding locations arrogance? Selfishness? Respect for nature? You be the judge. Continue reading →
How do you live safely around bears? Ask the Black Bear Project.
Something interesting is happening in the wooded hills of northern Georgia. Thanks to the Black Bear Project, people and bears are learning to peacefully live together and avoid dangerous situations. NANPA member Mary Jo Cox has been involved in this project and gave us the story.
Cullinan Ranch levee breach – The 1500 acre Cullinan Ranch was purchased by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as part of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge in 1991. It was diked off from tidal action and drained in the 1800’s to grow oat hay. It is now being restored for endangered species and other wildlife.
Story and photographs by Beth Huning, 2011 Philip Hyde Grant Recipient
As photographers, many of us are good at telling our conservation stories through imagery. We use our photos to support projects that protect or restore the earth, its ecosystems, and inhabitants. Philip Hyde was a pioneer in using photographs for conservation and I have long admired his achievements. A native Californian, he was passionate about protecting the American West, and his photographs were influential in many conservation campaigns.
From the Editor: Applications for the 2018 Philip Hyde Grant and the 2018 Janie Moore Greene Grant are encouraged and will be accepted through midnight, October 31st. Details are at the end of the article.
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”.
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.