Social Media for Nature Photographers by Mac Stone

Homestead, Florida USA. Burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia floridana) are diurnal birds that make their home in the ground. Photographing these birds was a difficult task. I wanted a close perspective with a wide angle to show their habitat which is rarely showcased in owl photography. I failed many times while trying to find a way to disguise my camera and leave the birds undisturbed. Luckily, their burrows had been marked with road cones. For 6 months I visited the owls and placed my camera inside the cone and using an intervalometer, I took an exposure every 5 seconds. Setting my camera to beep before each exposure ensured the owls would be looking my direction. I used a polarizer to bring out the blues in the sky and soften the light on the grass. Photo by Mac Stone.

Homestead, Florida USA. Burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia floridana) are diurnal birds that make their home in the ground. Photographing these birds was a difficult task. I wanted a close perspective with a wide angle to show their habitat which is rarely showcased in owl photography. I failed many times while trying to find a way to disguise my camera and leave the birds undisturbed. Luckily, their burrows had been marked with road cones. For 6 months I visited the owls and placed my camera inside the cone and using an intervalometer, I took an exposure every 5 seconds. Setting my camera to beep before each exposure ensured the owls would be looking my direction. I used a polarizer to bring out the blues in the sky and soften the light on the grass. Photo by Mac Stone.

Text and Photos by Mac Stone

Many people are calloused by social media and I have to admit that I am too. Our audience is so distracted by the constant onslaught of content from all around the world that the photography market has turned into a fast food drive through line. Images that have taken us months to make are quickly posted, commented on, liked, shared and then forgotten about. It seems like a black hole, but we aren’t the only ones facing this problem and there are lessons to be learned.

Consider National Public Radio (NPR) for a moment. All year, they offer incredible content—some of the best podcasts and radio shows around—for free. In turn, they build a large loyal audience and when the time comes for support or premium content, their audience shows up in droves with money in hand. To me, that sounds like the same model of a photographer’s Facebook page.

The photography market has changed so much in the last ten years. Today, it’s not just the agencies that have access to large markets. With social media, we’re able to reach a very specific or a broad range of demographics, potential customers or future enthusiasts for our work. Continue reading

Volunteers of NANPA: Mac Stone

MacStone©Eric Zamora-0026

Mac Stone © Eric Zamora

What is your “day” job?

I run a non-profit conservation organization called Naturaland Trust, www.naturalandtrust.org. We protect ecologically important areas in Upstate South Carolina through land conservation.

What NANPA committees have you served on, when and what positions?

I currently serve on the High School Scholarship Committee as the chair.

What was it about this committee that interested you?

My first introduction to NANPA was through the scholarship program. I was an 18-year-old student, and it forever changed my career goals. Now, leading the committee, I’m able to develop a program that leverages the knowledge of its members and gives the students an experience they’ll never forget. I love teaching, and this is a perfect outlet.

What are the responsibilities you assumed?

We develop a week-long program for students at the NANPA summit.

What are your greatest accomplishments or the highlights thus far of what you have done for NANPA?

Leading the last High School Scholarship Program in Jacksonville was probably my most notable accomplishment.

Also, while teaching photography to kids in Honduras, I was able to help one of my students come to the 2008 NANPA Summit in Destin, Florida, where I served as his translator. Still today, he talks of this trip as a major milestone in his life.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

Twelve years.

Do you have a goal as it pertains to the High School Scholarship Committee?

My goal is to train the next generation of photographers and provide them with the same network and skills that have contributed to my professional career.