Well, 2021 is finally in the books. I am not sure about everyone else, but I am very happy to see it in the rearview mirror. It was a tough year for many, including myself, and in my home state of Colorado it ended with another horrible wildfire. Events like that put life in perspective to remember to spend time with those you love, don’t worry about things and stuff, and treat every moment like it is the most special of your life.
Mark Lukes received NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award on July 17th at a barbeque organized by his wife, Linda, and daughter, Lauren, at his home in Colorado. NANPA President Dawn Wilson presented the award and both Francine Butler and Wendy Shattil spoke before an audience of about 40 of his friends, neighbors, family, and former employees.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a very personal conversation with a friend and fellow photographer about photographer burnout. We discussed where she was with her photography, why she was feeling like she wasn’t achieving her goals, the pitfalls of comparing your own work to other photographers, the thoughts of walking away from photography, and the source of all this stress and concern.
NANPA has a rich and interesting history spanning more than a quarter century. Members who joined more recently might not know some of the unique individuals and memorable events that came before them, so we asked Shirley Nuhn, who serves on NANPA’s History Committee, to share some of her memories. Those who have been members longer may enjoy these trips down memory lane, too.
For Part Two of my blog on NANPA Summit reflections, (see Part One here) I’m turning the spotlight on long-time attendees. Joe and Mary Ann McDonald are the recipients of NANPA’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s what Mary Ann recently told me:
Joe and Mary Ann McDonald live in central Pennsylvania where the run their photography business. At NANPA’s 2021 Nature Photography Virtual Summit, they will be recognized with NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award in recognition to their contributions to the profession. They will also be keynote speakers. With 50 years of photography experience, Joe was a founding member of NANPA and has served on the board of directors. He’s written seven books and hundreds of articles. Mary Ann brings 30 years of experience and is the author or many children’s books on wildlife as well as being a Visiting Author in several programs. Their images have place 15 times in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. They’ve led more than 100 photo tours to see mountain gorillas and were given the honor of giving a name to a baby gorilla in Rwanda’s “Kwitza Inza” ceremony, the highest honor one can achieve in mountain gorilla conservation. Previously, they have received NANPA Fellows Awards (Joe 2002, Mary Ann in 2010) and NANPA’s Outstanding Service Awards (2002).
Each year NANPA recruits a panel of outstanding judges to evaluate Showcase entries. If you’ve entered before, or read a copy of Expressions, you’ve seen the exceptional caliber of the judges. So, it should come as no surprise that this year we have another stellar group. Some are familiar names to NANPA members, others may not be. Regardless, they constitute a highly-qualified collection of experts in nature photography, as you’ll see from their bios.
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.