How I got the Shot: Spring Flow Through Oirase Gorge

Ponorama photo of a stream flowing through a gorge, coursing over rocks and boulders. Spring Flow Through Oirase Gorge, Aomori, Japan © Alyce Bender
Spring Flow Through Oirase Gorge, Aomori, Japan © Alyce Bender

By Alyce Bender

Some of the most peaceful moments I find in nature are those spent next to the smaller rivers and streams that course through a landscape ensconced in forests, shaded from the open light and giving a sense of seclusion to the experience.  When I was living in northern Japan, the situation was no different. About thirty minutes from my house was one of the most beautiful places to see fall colors in the entire country. For me though, this place was amazing at all times of the year and it gave me a Top 100 photo in NANPA’s 2022 Showcase competition.

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Seize Every Moment, Every Day featuring Lee Hoy

The Nature Photographer episode #21 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Sun Rays, Clouds and Storms, Study Butte and Terlingua, Big Bend National Park © Lee Hoy

At the age of 48, Lee Hoy asked, “How old do you have to be before you finally say, ‘I’m ready to be what I wanted to be when I was growing up’?” Life had already taught him once that he was capable of starting all over again if he lost everything, so he moved to the Davis Mountains of north Texas, just outside of Big Bend National Park, and built a new career on decades of photographing and birdwatching. In this episode Lee tells Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Mark Raycroft about his adventures traveling 61 of the last 67 days, how to use Olympus’ live composite mode to photograph lightning, and why playing with your gear in your backyard or local park is the best way to prepare for a trip.

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Four Ways to Achieve Maximum Depth of Field

Landscape photo with several arrows pointing to potential focus points. Where do you focus to achieve maximum depth of field? Screenshot from Marcus MacAdam's video
Where do you focus to achieve maximum depth of field? Screenshot from Marcus MacAdam’s video

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Landscape photographers often want to get the greatest possible depth of field in their photos. In other words, they want to make sure everything from near to far is in focus. To do that, several factors come into play: the distance to the nearest object, your choice of lens, of aperture, and of where you place your focus point. Of these, the most important might just be the last, and there are several methods that can help you determine exactly where to focus your camera. You might have thought that where you place your focus point would be pretty cut and dried, but there are several schools of thought on how to determine just where that should be. There are even different interpretations of what “infinity” means!

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Eight Reasons to Go on a NANPA Regional Event

A young black bear eating berries © Dana Foley
A young black bear eating berries © Dana Foley

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

A NANPA Regional Field Event is a three or four-day nature photography workshop, held in a highly photogenic location and led by experienced photographers who are intimately familiar with the area. OK, great. But what sets a Regional Event apart from a sea of other workshops? And what do I need to know to take full advantage of all the opportunities at a Regional Event? We asked the leaders and attendees of the recent Grand Teton Regional Event. They came up with eight reasons to go on a Regional Event and a few tips to prepare.

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Photo Contest Tips from Past Showcase Winners, Part 1

Sunrise photo of a mountain with flowers in the foreground. Penstemon and Paintbrush Tapestry, Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Washington, 2018 Showcase, Judges' Choice, Scapes© Geoffrey Schmid
“Penstemon and Paintbrush Tapestry,” Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Washington, 2018 Showcase, Judges’ Choice, Scapes © Geoffrey Schmid

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

NANPA’s 2022 Showcase photography competition is in full swing, with entries accepted right up until 11 p.m. EDT September 20, 2021. It’s one of NANPA’s most popular offerings. Why? Because you get a chance to see how your work measures up to your peers, have your images seen by potential clients, influence people and causes, and maybe win some of the $6,000 in prize money.

Sounds good, right, but where to start? We asked several nature photographers whose images have placed in the Showcase Top 24 in multiple years what are their secrets. How do they approach Showcase? What do they look for in the images they enter? Here’s what they had to say.

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Blackwater National Wildlife Reserve

Brilliant peach-colored sunrise over water. There are grasses in the foregroun and trees in the distance. Clouds streak across the sky. Sunrise in Blackwater National Wildlife Reserve, Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake, Delmarva, Dorchester County, MD. © Jerry Ginsberg
Sunrise in Blackwater National Wildlife Reserve, Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake, Delmarva, Dorchester County, MD. © Jerry Ginsberg

By Jerry Ginsberg

National Wildlife Reserves

While our National Parks, the crown jewels of federal lands, often receive the lion’s share of our attention, the wonderful creature sanctuaries known as National Wildlife Refuges provide an immeasurable benefit to wildlife in these days of ever-expanding development. This human expansion inevitably results in ever shrinking habitat and more and more pressure on the wild creatures who rely upon that habitat.

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New River Gorge National Park

Photo of the New River Bridge, a long, tall, arched bridge spanning a large tree-covered canyon at dusk. Not exactly a Nature subject, the New River Gorge Bridge spans this wide river with a huge central arch framework and is a featured calling card of the new National Park. © Jerry Ginsberg
Not exactly a nature subject, the New River Gorge Bridge spans this wide river with a huge central arch framework and is a featured calling card of the new National Park. © Jerry Ginsberg

By Jerry Ginsberg

America’s 63rd and newest national park was created earlier this year when the Congressional resolution authorizing it was buried deep in the text of legislation intended to address financial issues related to the COVID pandemic. Not one to look a gift horse in the proverbial mouth, I am just grateful that these 73,000 scenic acres have been awarded the nation’s highest level of protection. Just 10% of this territory is included in the actual national park. The remaining 65,000 acres make up a national preserve. So, what makes this area special?

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Showcase 2021 Winner: Naona Wallin

Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancements, image by Naona Wallin
Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancements (STEVE), Ketchikan, Alaska, 2021 Showcase Judges’ Choice, Scapes © Naona Wallin

Artist’s statement

Photographing STEVE was on my photo bucket list. Although I’ve seen the northern lights many times this was the first and only time, I’ve seen this rare astro-phenomena. It was bright at first then faded very quickly. I feel extremely fortunate to have squeezed off eight frames. This image of STEVE reflects my goal of capturing wildlife and wild lands few people see first-hand.

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Lunar Gunsight: How I Got the Shot

Photo of a full moon rising between two peaks. "Lunar Gunsight" © David S. Johnston
“Lunar Gunsight” © David S. Johnston

Story and photo by David S. Johnston

“Lunar Gunsight” is an image of the nearly full moon rising into and through Gunsight Notch in Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Seneca Rocks is part of the resistant Tuscarora quartzite formation that has been folded vertically and exposed at several places along the River Knobs which run along the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. The rocks are very thin fins that rise dramatically about 300 feet above the surrounding slopes and 900 feet above the river valley.

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Photographing High-Key Winter Wildlife and Landscape Images

Montana Cowgirl and Horses in a Snowstorm © Debbie McCulliss
Montana Cowgirl and Horses in a Snowstorm © Debbie McCulliss

By Debbie McCulliss

As a wildlife and nature photographer who loves winter photography, photographing high-key images is a favorite technique. A high-key photo is one in which the main subject is isolated against a pure (or almost pure) white background. Maybe it’s because of my background in nursing or maybe it’s simply because the color white intrigues me. Regardless of the reason, I believe high-key photos have a unique aesthetic that set them apart from other photography techniques.

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