As I’ve been flipping through past issues of NANPA’s first newsletters, Currents, I’m impressed with how forward-thinking our boards and management teams were as they formulated our organizational documents, Mission Statement, bylaws, and basic structure. Much of those basics are still relevant and just as important today—ethics, education, conservation, inspiration as they relate to nature photography—as they were 25 years ago.
The birding community lost a treasure on March 25 with the passing of Bill Thompson III. Bill was Co-Publisher and Editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine for years where many NANPA members licensed their photos. Not only was Bill instrumental in helping photographers and writers, he also worked tirelessly devoting his life to creating awareness of and conservation of birding worldwide. I was privileged to know Bill as a friend for nearly 30 years. He was a NANPA member in the early days and attended summits to find photographers and writers for the magazine. At the 1995 NANPA Forum in Ft Myers, Florida; Bill, Richard Day, and I were hanging out together and planned to eat together at the closing banquet. The Forum organizers were not prepared for the number of people that showed up for that historic meeting, and there weren’t enough tables or food that night. We waited a long time while the hotel set up more tables; and we finally ended up crammed in front of the room at an angle partially behind the stage –which didn’t really matter, because by that time everyone in our new group of friends had made the most of the situation and were having a great old time. While we waited for our food, which ran into the evening festivities on the stage after everyone else had finished eating, Bill entertained us by balancing a spoon on his nose and asking how many others could do it. I know I have a photo somewhere (probably on a 35mm slide buried in a box) of our entire table playing “Spoon Bill” with Bill Thompson. That’s the kind of guy he was, and those are the kinds of stories and memories that are born at NANPA meetings.
As we celebrate NANPA’s 25th Birthday #happybirthdayNANPA this year, our hope is that everyone associated with NANPA has fond memories and stories. We started off with a big birthday cake at the Las Vegas Summit; and this month, in keeping with the “25th” theme, we selected the 25th new member to join NANPA in 2019—Alyssa Kline. Alyssa’s gift for NANPA’s birthday is a print copy of 2019 Expressions, which features photos of this year’s Showcase winners. Welcome to the NANPA family, Alyssa!
It’s hard to believe, but NANPA’s 26th election of our board of directors is taking place now. You have until April 20 to vote to fill vacancies of Sean Fitzgerald and Ted Moreno, whose terms end on June 30. Five candidates are on the ballot: Ted Moreno (who is eligible for a second term), John Reed, Alice Robertson, Trent Sizemore, and Dawn Wilson. Login https://www.nanpa.org/members/members.php to the members’ area of the website, read their bios and nominations questionnaires, and cast your vote.
We’re proud to announce the completion of NANPA’s Conservation Handbook this month. This is first in a series that will be ongoing, and we are grateful to the Conservation Committee for developing, producing, and introducing this series. Check it out here. https://www.nanpa.org/members/members.php
On June 15, NANPA will observe its 14th Nature Photography Day. We’ll be holding a photo contest with some nice prizes, but Nature Photography Day is not just about contests. It’s about getting as many people outside as possible to enjoy nature through photography. We’ll be sending media releases and doing a big social media push to let everyone know. In past years, National Parks, nature centers, camera clubs, and civic groups have organized events around Nature Photography Day. Many of these festivals and celebrations use local speakers and instructors to teach attendees how to photograph nature. You can help spread the word in your area too (and maybe pick up a teaching gig!) so watch your emails for more information in the coming weeks.
As we enter a new season, I hope you’ll have many opportunities to explore and experience the rebirth of life after a long winter. As nature photographers, seeing and documenting the natural world is part of who we are. Cherish those special moments and the people you meet along the way.
NANPA’s 21st Summit and Trade Show ended today, and as I sit in my hotel room, I’m tired, but still feel the high of another great event. Long days of pre-summit board meetings, short nights with little sleep, early morning coffee to prop my eyes open, seeing old friends, making new ones, and dealing with inevitable glitches that pop up, no matter how much we plan for the unexpected. After two long years of preparation, it’s hard to believe that the whirlwind is gone. Kaput. Just like that. A few short days ago, we were checking people in at the registration desk, hugging friends we hadn’t seen in a few years, and picking up where we left off on conversations from our last meetings. We were watching presentations by some of the world’s greatest photographers—Joel Sartore, James Balog, Sue Flood, Florian Schulz, John Shaw, and George Lepp. OMG! Where else but NANPA can you see all those people in the same room? I hadn’t seen John Shaw since the mid-90s and he saw me first in a hall and reached out to me. I have to admit to being a little starstruck that he would even know who I am, much less be so gracious and friendly to me, like an old friend!
NANPA Summits are much more than listening to speakers, viewing world-class, jaw-droppingly-awesome photography, and drooling over your next equipment purchase or photo workshop destination. Lifelong friendships and connections have been made from talking to others during lunch, in the halls, or even waiting in restroom lines (I speak first-hand on the last one!)
The countdown to the 2019 Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show in Las Vegas, February 21-23 is on at NANPA HQ! Online registrations for the full summit, one-day passes, Super Sessions, Portfolio Reviews and other tickets close February 4; but no worries if you miss that deadline, because you can still register onsite in Las Vegas.
NANPA turns 25 this year and plans are underway for birthday specials all year long!
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.
Choices and Goals
Everyday we make choices. What to eat. What to wear. What to do. Nature photographers make choices on new equipment, how to pay for it, where to use it, how to compose an image, which tweaks to make during post-processing; and for some, how to make a living. Everyone’s bucket list is unique, and we take different paths to reach them–whether you’re a big-time goal-setter with spreadsheets and planners or a seat-of-the-pants winger.
Passion, planning, and drive play big parts in whether (and when) we take those fall landscape photos in the Rockies or photograph wildlife on an African safari.
Most of my weeks are filled with board tasks, committee meetings, and writing and studying reports; but lately, I’ve been reminded of the essence of NANPA—nature photography.
I talked to a relatively new NANPA member recently who had looked at his first issue of Expressions, the annual journal of our Showcase winners. He commented on the amazing images that won the competition and how inspired he was viewing them. I’m probably not alone as a charter NANPA member who has seen and been involved with the world-class photography of our members for many years; and even though I still appreciate seeing an outstanding photo, I had forgotten about that sense of wonder of looking at hundreds of extraordinary images in one sitting. My conversation with that member made me see those images with fresh eyes. Expressions 2018 http://www.nanpa.org/learning/publications/expressions/ was delivered to the Showcase winners this week, and the office received quite a few emails and comments about how much people enjoyed it and that they are proud to be a part of it.
Executive Director’s Message for March 2018
Spring signals a time for rebirth of life, including nature photographers who spent the winter in front of computer monitors working on last year’s captures. As our black and white world switches back to color, photographers clean camera sensors, dust off backpacks from last fall’s color shoots, and pore over social media for the best bird migration activity or most glorious flowers and waterfalls. The anticipation between seasons reminds us of why we do what we do, and the world lures us outside to explore and create our newest masterpieces with pixels.
NANPA, also, is gearing up for spring. The Board of Directors held their winter meeting this month where they reviewed the past six months and discussed the future. The countdown is on for NANPA’s Nature Photography Celebration in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, (May 20-22) where many of us will be reconnecting with friends, meeting new ones, and photographing the splendor and wildlife of arguably the most beautiful mountain range in the United States—the Grand Tetons. Several other great events are being planned for other seasons, and we’ll announce them as soon as details are available.
The board welcomed new board member, Ted Moreno, who will serve the remaining term for Jaymi Heimbuch who recently stepped down to devote more time to her new projects. We thank Jaymi for her board service and wish her well in her new endeavors. Ted has been very active on the Membership Committee and has served as chair of the Awards Committee for several years. He is a great addition to our board.
Also during their meeting, the board approved a contract with Alisa Hines as Communications and Marketing Coordinator. Alisa started working for NANPA on March 1. She has a strong background in marketing and communications for associations and has already drafted plans for improvements for NANPA. Welcome to NANPA, Alisa!
NANPA began using a robust new communications system, Informz, in November, which offers much more flexibility for preparing messages and designs as well as improved tracking and monitoring of how we’re doing with our mailings. We’re still learning how to use all the features, but so far it’s a great improvement and timesaver over our previous system. Alisa will be fine-tuning our designs and look in the coming months. Feel free to let us know how we’re doing.
Treasurer Bruce Haley reported that NANPA’s financials for the first half of this fiscal year are on target with our budget. The board also reviewed Financial Statements from our CPA firm, and NANPA is a better place financially than we’ve ever been.
Many of our pro members have asked for general liability and workshop insurance, and we’re happy to announce that NANPA will be partnering with Rand Insurance to offer this coverage. Rand has handled our equipment insurance policies for more than 20 years, and their customer service is outstanding. We’re pleased that they’ll be able to help with the small business policies for photographers as well as equipment coverage for Canadian members. Information will be posted on the website and announced soon.
During winter meetings, the NANPA board approves officers for the following year. Gordon Illg will be NANPA’s next president and Sean Fitzgerald will serve another term as vice president. Their terms begin on July 1. Congratulations, Gordon and Sean!
As you’ll see in the coming months, NANPA’s Advocacy and Ethics Committees have been busy too. Committee members will be writing articles that will be posted on NANPA’s blog about issues that are important to all nature photographers. If you haven’t already subscribed, please do so at NANPA blog.
In case you want to brush up on some photo techniques before heading outside, be sure to tune in to Clay Bolt’s Tips for Macro Mastery webinar on March 20. Or check the lineup of NANPA’s free webinars which are archived in the members area of the website.
As the world springs forward, it’s a great time to be a NANPA member and nature photographer!
Susan Day, Executive Director