From the President: Photography with a Purpose

Loss of habitat is one of the major causes for the decline in Monarch butterfly numbers.
Loss of habitat is one of the major causes for the decline in Monarch butterfly numbers.

Story & photo by Tom Haxby

Once, in a tongue-tied moment, I used the phrase “photography with a porpoise”, but what I really meant to say was “photography with a purpose”. In the tradition of Ansel Adams, Phillip Hyde, George Masa (yes, you may have to look him up) and a long list of photographers who have utilized their photography to advocate for conservation of wildlife and landscapes, NANPA photographers continue to use photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation, and environmental protection – yes, part of our mission statement.

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Wild Horses of the Wild West

A mother mare and foal are approached and greeted by the herd's stallion in the Piceance-East Douglass Herd Management Area near Meeker, Colorado.
A mother mare and foal are approached and greeted by the herd’s stallion in the Piceance-East Douglass Herd Management Area near Meeker, Colorado.

Story and photos by Haley R. Pope

It was 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday in May—the wind was biting cold and the sky a deep royal blue. All bundled up, I hoist my heavy camera case into the truck and my husband and I head straight west out of the small town of Meeker, Colorado. The sun wouldn’t rise until 5:50 a.m., so we had plenty of time to get into position. But first, we had to find them.

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After Summit, What’s Next for NANPA Members?

George Lepp reflecting on his career in a keynote at the 2019 Nature Photography Summit.

George Lepp reflecting on his career in a keynote at the 2019 Nature Photography Summit.

Last month’s Nature Photography Summit is over.  Images from the trip have been processed.  Gear and clothes have been cleaned and suitcases put away.  Fortunately, there’s always something exciting we can look forward to.  So, what’s next on NANPA’s hit parade?

Celebration

At the Summit, NANPA announced that the next Nature Photography Celebration will be in Asheville, NC, April 19 – 22, 2020.  The previous Celebration, in Jackson, WY, in 2018, featured location shoots, workshops, informative presentations, gear demonstrations and much more.  Circle the dates on your calendar. More information will be coming.

NANPA celebrates Nature Photography Day on June 15th with a variety of events, from a photo contest to local workshops.  This annual event encourages people to explore with a camera the natural world around them, whether that’s their own backyard, a local stream or a national park.  Nature Photography Day promotes the enjoyment of nature photography and shows a wider public all over the world how images can be used to advance the conservation and protection of plants, wildlife and landscapes close to home and far away.  Stay tuned for more information.

Competition

This year’s Showcase Competition kicks off August 1st.  Exclusively for NANPA members, Showcase is your opportunity to win prizes, get your photos featured on NANPA’s website, blog and printed in Expressions, NANPA’s annual publication.  You can see the top 250 images from last year’s competition, browse back issues of Expressions, or order your copy of this year’s Expressions.  Get inspired and get out there shooting!

Education

Throughout the year, NANPA offers several Regional Events, two- to four-day field tours led by outstanding photographers with intimate knowledge of the area and photographic opportunities.  Attendance is limited.  The June astrophotography in Arches National Park workshop is already sold out but you can still register for October’s workshop in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

NANPA also hosts a webinar series, open to members.  The next webinar, VisionQuest Photography presented by Shane McDermott, will be on March 29th.  Registration is free.  You can also visit the webinar archives and view past recordings that cover a wide array of subjects.  Have a nature photography topic you’re passionate about?  Maybe you should contact us  to present a future webinar!

Advocacy

NANPA’s Ethics Committee recently released guide to Ethical Field Practices.  You can download a pdf of the guidelines or request cards pre-printed with the guidelines.  In addition to helping us ensure we follow the best ethical practices, these documents make great handouts for camera clubs, Meetup groups and at other opportunities to spread the word about ethical nature photography.  NANPA also has statements on Access to Public Lands and Truth in Captioning.

NANPA’s Conservation Committee has been busy, too.  They recently launched the NANPA Citizen Science initiative, a database of science and conservation projects that welcome and can use the help of a nature photographer.  Check it out.  You, too, could be a citizen scientist!  Know of a local citizen science project?  Let us know so we can add it to the database.  Coming soon is a Conservation Handbook.

Social

NANPA sponsors a number of Meetup groups which bring people in the same area together to photograph nature.  Check for one in your area and follow NANPA on the social media platforms of your choice.

NANPA Facebook Page 

NANPA Facebook Group

NANPA on Instagram

NANPA on Twitter

As you can see, there’s always a lot going on at NANPA, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of NANPA’s member benefits.  Are you taking advantage of all NANPA has to offer?  One way to be sure is to check the New Member Resource Center, for an up-to-date listing of all the benefits and opportunities that come with your NANPA membership.

 

Volunteer Profile: John E. Marriott

Photographer John E. Marriott in the rainforest.

Photographer John E. Marriott in the rainforest.

Volunteers are the life blood of membership organizations.  At NANPA and the NANPA Foundation, volunteers serve on committees, help plan conferences, present webinars, judge competitions and evaluate grant applications.  Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors and play other key roles in keeping NANPA vibrant, relevant and growing.

This is the second of an occasional series of volunteer profiles, saluting those whose hard work, ideas, passion and commitment benefit NANPA and its members.

NANPA recently had the opportunity to ask NANPA volunteer John E. Marriott a few questions about his volunteer experiences.

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From the Executive Director – Susan Day

Susan Day. Photo by David Small

Photo by David Small

2018 NANPA Snapshot

The end of a year signals a time for reflection of the past months as well as anticipation of what’s ahead.  As I review 2018 for NANPA, I’m amazed at the variety and number of events and services offered for a relatively small organization.  Everything we do is coordinated by a handful of part-time contractors and around 100 volunteers.

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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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Jackson Hole Launches Tag Responsibly Campaign

In a November 2018 post, we asked if photographers should stop sharing location information. Popular spots are being overrun with Instagrammers, seeking to duplicate iconic images. The landscape is being damaged, vegetation trampled, trash and human waste left behind and people are risking life and limb for the next epic selfie.

It’s been a topic of conversation across the nature photography community. Now, the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has entered the debate with a campaign they’re calling “Tag Responsibly. Keep Jackson Hole Wild.”

Along with a video (above), the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board released posters and shareable social media graphics aimed at getting photographers of all levels to refrain from posting specific location information with their photos. This story even made the New York Times.

Anyone who’s been to Jackson Hole and tried to photograph Schwabacher Landing, Moulton Barn, or Oxbow Bend can attest to the fact that these locations are getting too much traffic. It’s easy to find the popular photo spots: there are long stretches of hard-packed bare earth, tamped down by thousands of feet and tripods. On any given sunrise, a photographer might have to deal with several photo tours and random cell-phone-toting tourists walking into their shots, parking in fields and leaving litter behind.

The new campaign urges people to “Post the photo. Trash the tag.” It’s not like Moulton Barn is hard to find, and there’s a big sign for Schwabacher Landing right on the highway but, when the very businesses that depend on tourism start getting behind a movement like this, they have the potential to change the conversation. As one of the Travel and Tourism Board posters asks, “How many likes is a patch of dead wildflowers worth?”

Should Photographers Intervene in Nature?

Screen shot of The Times (UK) article about a film crew intervening in nature.

Screen shot of The Times (UK) article about a film crew intervening in nature.

If you saw an animal in the wild that appeared to be in distress, would you try to help? Would you report it to the authorities? Would you leave it alone, since it’s just nature being nature? As nature photographers, we are interested in conservation and generally love the animals we photograph. Is it our responsibility to let nature take its course, even if an animal dies? Is it our responsibility to save the animal? Or, does it depend on the specific situation?

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Should Photographers Share Location Information?

A sunflower field in Canada was trampled by hordes of people seeking a viral selfie.

A sunflower field in Canada was trampled by hordes of people seeking a viral selfie. © Frank Gallagher

Art Wolfe is reputed to have said you can celebrate something to death.  In a similar vein, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Senator Lamar Alexander penned a May 2018 editorial for CNN in which they bluntly stated that “our parks are being loved to death” through a combination of record-breaking crowds and severe maintenance backlogs. All over the world, precious, unique natural areas are under stress from human visitors.  In some places, it’s simply a case of too many people coming to too small a space.  In others, it’s not just the crowds, it’s also bad behavior.

In order to protect beautiful but fragile areas, many photographers have stopped sharing location information.  No GPS data.  No clues about where the spot is or how to get there.  Why?  Because, once a really cool photo location is out there on Instagram, Facebook or other platforms, the crowds inevitably follow.

Is withholding locations arrogance? Selfishness? Respect for nature?  You be the judge.
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Don’t Miss NANPA’s Town Hall Meeting: Creating an Ethical Field Approach

Photo of photographers and a moose.

Learn about ethical nature photography practices in this month’s Town Hall Meeting.

There’s still time to register for NANPA’s next online Town Hall on Wednesday, October 24th, at 5 PM EDT.  Jennifer Leigh Warner, NANPA’s Ethics Committee chair, will help you learn how you can have a more ethical approach to photographing wildlife and how to better label your images so you can maintain public trust in the credibility of your images. Join us for this webinar where we will discuss some basic tips to approaching wildlife and how to properly label your images. We will also discuss what the NANPA Ethics Committee has been up to this year.

NANPA Town Hall Meeting: Creating an Ethical Field Approach
Presented by Jennifer Leigh Warner
October 24, 2018, 5pm EDT
Target Audience: Everyone

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