I made this series of images of royal terns at Huguenot Park, a state park with a wide beach and grassy dunes on the coast of North Florida. The adult terns make nests in the dunes, lay their eggs, and by July most of the chicks have hatched. When we visited there were thousands of royal terns, gulls and other sea birds on the beach. It was a cacophony of sounds! Continue reading →
Metamorphosis spawned out of a conversation I had one day in early 2012 with conservationist Gabby Wild. We were discussing the difficulties of raising concern for the plight of the most threatened group of all vertebrates, the amphibians, and committed to concocting a publicity campaign. We wanted to do something different, something that would make people look twice, or see amphibians in a new light. A few months later, we were in a studio in Los Angeles decorating a body-painted Gabby with live frogs and newts.
In my time as an amphibian biologist and a photographer I have shot (with a camera) a lot of frogs, but this shoot was different. Rather than wading mosquito-riddled swamps or hacking through thick jungle to find and photograph elusive frogs in their natural habitat, I was bringing them into the controlled environment of a studio and shooting them against the canvas of the human body. In doing so, I had to learn a whole new way of shooting. Instead of finding or waiting for the right light, I had to craft my own, and instead of patiently waiting for the action to unfold in front of me, I had to conceptualize and create compositions around a theme. It was both testing and creatively invigorating. Continue reading →
Amazon River Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) WILD, Mother and baby swimming through flooded forest, Rio Negro, Amazonia, Brazil
Images by Kevin Schafer
Story and Gallery Edit By Miriam Stein
Let’s face it – Kevin Schafer has proved himself in the world of nature photography. His patience and dedication allows him to catch the moments in photography that we all dream of. Over the last few years, Kevin has circled the globe for his “Empty Ark” project, the goal of which is to photograph endangered species whose stories have never been told. I find it most important that Kevin is photographing these species, firstly because they are not the iconic polar bears, tigers, etc. Secondly, he is photographing them in their natural habitats and this is important because there may come a day when photographs are all we have left to remember these species.
About Kevin Schafer:
Kevin Schafer is an award-winning natural history photographer, whose photographs appear in all of the major science and nature publications in the US, including National Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History and National Wildlife. He also works regularly with conservation organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund, and is a founding Fellow of the Int’l League of Conservation Photographers.
This past spring, in upstate New York, I had the opportunity to photograph a family of wild Red Foxes at their den. The den was located under a shed in a suburban backyard, and the homeowners granted me permission to set up my pop-up blind in their yard, about 50 yards from the shed. Though they knew full well that I was in the blind, this fox family seemed pretty accustomed to human presence, and they went about their lives without appearing disturbed by me. This is of paramount importance to me when I photograph a wild animal, as I seek to capture behavior that’s as natural as possible, and I never want to disturb or endanger my subjects.
Over the course of about a month, I traveled to my set up whenever I had a free moment, spending hours in my blind; I always left wishing I could stay longer. I was fascinated by the relationship dynamics among the family members, and enthralled by the playfulness of the kits. I counted 6 kits at first, guessing they were roughly 2 months old. I was struck by how much they acted like puppies, which is no surprise, as foxes are members of the Canidae family. The kits roughhoused constantly, rolling and tumbling over each other. As time went on, their playfulness had an edge of ferocity, and their interactions became more adversarial. They honed their hunting skills by stalking one another around the tree trunks and shed corners, and familiarized themselves with prey by proudly carrying around the bodies of star-nosed moles and squirrels that their parents had brought back for them.
Applications for the 2014 Philip Hyde Grant are due on November 30th, 2013. This $2,500 grant, provided by Fine Print Imaging through its Art for Conservation program, the NANPA Environment Committee and individual donations, is awarded annually by the NANPA Foundation to an individual NANPA member who is actively pursuing completion of a peer-reviewed environmental project that is consistent with the missions of NANPA and the NANPA Foundation. Click here to apply.
Project Update from Jaime Rojo: 2012 Recipient of the Philip Hyde Grant
The San Pedro Mezquital project is an ongoing communications effort to protect the last free-flowing river in the Western Sierra Madre, Mexico. The river is under threat by several development projects, including a dam in the middle basin and a huge tourist resource in the upper basin.
The Philip Hyde Grant that I obtained in May 2012 was used to continue the documentation of this huge river basin, but also to give public presentations in the upper and lower basin to involve the local communities in the actions to protect the river.
In May 2012, we inaugurated a large format exhibit of the San Pedro Mezquital that was hosted by the three main cities of the basin, following the course of the river on its way to the sea. I gave presentations on Durango and Tepic on the day of the exhibit launch, and had meetings with regional authorities involved in the management of the river basin:
– Durango, upper basin, May 2012
– Presidio, middle basin, Oct 2012
– Tepic, lower basin, Jan 2013
Also, in January 2013, I did a 2-week expedition with my colleague Octavio Aburto, co-financed by National Geographic Explorers Fund, to document some of the most remote parts of the upper basin (Chachacuaxtle canyon and the Tres Molinos basin), with some surprising results, and a field blog was published in National Geographic Newswatch. The Philip Hyde Grant represented a great opportunity to continue the conservation photography work in the San Pedro Mezquital river and I will always be thankful for NANPA’s support.