Ashton Hooker and the NANPA College Scholarship Program

Balcony House, Mesa Verde National Park © Ashton Hooker

Balcony House, Mesa Verde National Park © Ashton Hooker

One of the highlights of NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit & Trade Show was seeing the work of NANPA’s College Scholarship Program participants.  Now that the event is over, it’s a good time to learn a little more about them and their experience at Summit.  Today, we meet Ashton Hooker.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am attending the University of Wyoming as a graduate student, majoring in communication/environment and natural resource and working on my thesis, a quantitative study about Instagram’s influence on intent to travel to Yellowstone National Park. I’m extremely interested in the human dimensions of environment and natural resource issues, such as values regarding wildlife and public lands.

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With a Little Help From Our Friends

Exhibit hall at NANPA's 2019 Nature Photography Summit. Photo by Frank Gallagher

Exhibit hall at NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit. Photo by Frank Gallagher

Putting on a great conference, like NANPA’s recent Nature Photography Summit, isn’t easy and the full costs aren’t covered by your registration fees, alone.  Keeping the conference affordable to attendees, while providing excellent speakers, technology, facilities and food, requires more.  Some of that extra support comes from our exhibitors and sponsors.

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From the President: Gordon Illg

Backpacker below Elliott Ridge, Gore Range-Eagles Nest Wilderness, CO.

Backpacker below Elliott Ridge, Gore Range-Eagles Nest Wilderness, CO.

People get into nature photography for a variety of reasons. Some of us are high-minded enough to do it with conservation in mind, but for most, and that includes me, it comes down to the fact we want to share the wonder of what we’ve seen with others. There might even be some bragging involved. Ha ha! Look where I’ve been. See what I photographed. We may do it partially to remind ourselves of exceptional experiences. I know my memory is not what it used to be, and sometimes it takes a photo or two to bring back the memory of the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen. But then I’ve been doing this for more than half my life. That’s a lot of photos under the bridge.

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Viva Las Vegas: Snapshots from the NANPA Summit

Left to right: Joel Sartore, John Shaw and George Lepp receive NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Left to right: Joel Sartore, John Shaw and George Lepp receive NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Frank Gallagher

Visitors to Las Vegas were surprised by a rare snowfall that delayed some flights and snarled traffic but excited photographers at NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit.

Pre-Summit activities included an evening trip out to Nelson Ghost Town for a light painting workshop, sponsored by B&H and led by Chris Nicholson and Gabriel Biderman.  After an enjoyable couple of hours lighting up old cars and abandoned buildings, the snow started and accompanied our intrepid photographers back to the conference hotel.

Yesterday, Summit attendees participated in Super Sessions presented by Todd Gustafson and Kathy Adams Smith, sat down with great photographers, editors and publishers for portfolio reviews, checked out the exhibit hall for new gear, greeted old friends and made new ones.  Meanwhile, first-time Summit attendees got to know each other in a meet and greet.

Yesterday’s activities were capped by the opening general session.  Three iconic photographers, George Lepp, John Shaw and Joel Sartore, received NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Sartore then delivered a fabulous keynote about his career and his Photo Ark project.

During the rest of the information- and education-packed weekend, we’ll be hearing from more world-renown photographers, learning new skills, checking out new gear, making new friends, applauding top photographers from NANPA’s Showcase competitions, seeing the work of NANPA’s Summit College Photography Scholarship Program, and having a grand time.

There’s a buzz in the air and that special feeling of camaraderie you get when you’re among friends.  Coupled with the excitement of learning from the best and growing your own photography knowledge, there’s an electric atmosphere in the Summit rooms that can match anything glitzy Las Vegas can offer.

From the President: Gordon Illg

Hiker leaping over the rising sun, Mt. Evans, CO.

Hiker leaping over the rising sun, Mt. Evans, CO.

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien  The Fellowship of the Ring

When we think of outstanding sites for nature photography, most of us tend to think of places like Tanzania, the Pantanal, Costa Rica…you know, places that cost a fortune to visit. And these locations do indeed have wonderful photo opportunities, but some of the best images are captured by people who never wander far from home. Yes, there are wild things right in our neighborhoods, hiding secrets that are just begging to be photographed. Keep in mind my livelihood is dependent upon photographers traveling to distant destinations, but I feel it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that there is beauty everywhere. Even without money to travel, there are photographable worlds available to you.

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Five Reasons You Should Be at the Nature Photography Summit

Still debating whether you should come to NANPA’s Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show, February 21-23 in Las Vegas?  Here are five compelling reasons to pull out your credit card and start making reservations.  And, hey, there’s still time to get pre-conference pricing . . . but only ‘till midnight, Sunday, January 20th.

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NANPA 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award: John Shaw

2019 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award winner John Shaw

2019 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award winner John Shaw

Professional nature photographer John Shaw was the recipient of NANPA’s first Outstanding Photographer Award in 1997.  This year, he’s being honored with NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and will also become a NANPA Fellow.  Registered for the 2019 NANPA Nature Photography Summit?  You can see John Shaw interviewed by Kathy Adams Smith on Saturday, February 23, at 10:30 AM.

He’s written seven books and ten ebooks and his work has been featured in numerous books and magazines.  He’s photographed on every continent and has been recognized by Nikon as a Legend Behind the Lens, as an Icon of Imaging by Microsoft and, since 2001, has been part of Epson’s Stylus Pro fine art print makers group.  Last month we had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

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From the President: Gordon Illg

It’s holiday time! That special season when we wish for Christmas miracles, Hanukah miracles, Saturnalia miracles…basically we’re looking for miracles. Grant us another year of health, livelihood, friends, family, and as nature photographers, the continued existence of the things we like to take pictures of. Grant us another year of not just rattlesnakes on dirt roads, but an abundance of wildlife of all kinds, as well as scenic vistas with a capital S and a capital V. We’re talking landscapes like those that greeted the first humans. That’s all we want.

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2019 NANPA Emerging Photographer Award: Sebastian Kennerknecht

Sebastian Kennerknecht photographing on coast, Skomer Island National Nature Reserve, Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales, United Kingdom

Sebastian Kennerknecht photographing on coast, Skomer Island National Nature Reserve, Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales, United Kingdom

Conservation photographer and iLCP Associate Fellow Sebastian Kennerknecht will receive NANPA’s 2019 Emerging Photographer Award at the 2019 Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show, February 21-23 in Las Vegas, NV. This award (formerly the NANPA Vision Award) is “given to an emerging photographer in “recognition of excellence and serves to encourage continuation of vision and inspiration to others in nature photography, conservation, and education.”

Among the criteria for this award are “a commitment to achieving a positive impact upon nature photography, and the conservation and protection of the natural world; plus the education of the general public about conservation and nature issues.” The awards committee noted that Kennerknecht is “emerging as an important wildlife photographer, especially in the area of wild cats, and species that have not been widely documented. His focus on ethical field practices and species conservation is a model that many other photographers should follow.  His frequent and smart use of social media to share his imagery and message are constantly growing in popularity, ensuring that he is truly advocating for the power and need of high quality nature photography.”

Kennerknecht’s work in photographing and documenting wild cats, both well- and little-known species, and his work with scientists, conservationists and social media to educate the public, make him an ideal recipient for this award. We were fortunate to ask Sebastian a few questions in between his travels.

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From the Executive Director – Susan Day

 

January 15, 1994. NANPA Founding Board. Sheraton Hotel, Ft. Myers; Seated, clockwise from lower left: Jim Saba, Karen Hollingsworth, Rick Zuegel (Forum chair), Frans Lanting, Mark Lukes (President), Jerry Bowman (Co-ED), Francine Butler (Co-ED), Gil Twiest (Treasurer), Aileen Lotz, Karen Beshears, Helen Longest-Slaughter, Jane Kinne (President-elect). Standing, L to R: Gary Braasch, John Nuhn, Roger Archibald, Russ Kinne. Missing: George Lepp. © Shirley Nuhn & Roger Archibald.

NANPA’s 2019 Award Recipients

It all started back in October 1993, when ornithologist, artist and nature photographer, Roger Tory Peterson invited a group of nature photographers to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York. This was the first time that an organized group of nature photographers had assembled in one place, and more than 100 photographers showed up for panel discussions, networking, and presentations. This meeting was so well received that everyone wanted to do it again—and thanks to a ton of work and great organization—by April 1994, NANPA had a founding board, president, bylaws and mission, with plans underway for their first annual conference, which took place in Florida in January 1995. NANPA’s first awards were also bestowed at the 1995 conference when Roger Tory Peterson received NANPA’s first Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award, and Outdoor Photographer Magazine was honored with our first Community Recognition Award.

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