I have to think I’m not alone. Last fall, after six months of COVID-19 isolation, I found my finger sliding down my bucket list to try to find a destination that didn’t require getting on an airplane. Or driving for three days. Here’s one, the Great Smoky Mountains. Never been there, never done it. I hear they have waterfalls, and I love waterfalls. I think everyone does. They are universally fascinating, conveying both sublime power and at the same time, a sense of peace and serenity. I’ve tried for years to photograph them but my efforts have never been very satisfactory. I had never found the secret to conveying in my images what I was experiencing. It was time to try harder. So, in late October, Jeanne Marie and I headed east from St. Louis. My primary objective was to find and photograph as many waterfalls as I comfortably could, but the fall color would be reaching its peak and there’s a lot of wildlife in the Smokies, so who knew what else would jump in front of my camera?
Story and photos by Tom Haxby, NANPA Board President
In my opinion there is nothing more wonderful for a nature photographer than to welcome spring in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Local and migrating birds are singing, blooming wildflowers are everywhere, waterfalls abound, and night skies on the Blue Ridge Parkway are amazing.
An unprecedented number of field events—combined with the kind of classroom sessions and vendor demonstrations you’ve come to expect of NANPA’s big signature events—are what make the 2020 Nature Photography Celebration in Asheville, North Carolina, special.
As you may already know, this year’s Celebration features six distinct educational tracks: night photography, birds, landscapes/scenics, flowers, fine art, and conservation. You can attend all of the workshops and field events in one track for deeper understanding of that area, or mix and mingle between tracks for a broader, more general experience of nature photography.
But what I’m most excited about is the field trips. If you’re like me and learn best when the camera’s actually in your hands, then Celebration is for you.
Winter will soon be upon us and while many photographers revel in the unique opportunities for winter photography, I always look forward to spring in the southern Appalachian Mountains with my camera in hand. My annual visits there quite literally put a spring in my step. Birds sing for mates from the newly green trees, waterfalls flow from spring rains, flowers bloom in profusion and it seems that the whole world is new again.