Staying Relevant

Photo of a male moose running. Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson
Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson

Story and Photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

As most of you—hopefully—did as well, I read the latest NANPA handbooks, Bird Photography and Contest Secrets, this past month.

In Contest Secrets, Karen Schuenemann makes a valid point in her article “Getting from No to Yes.” Ms. Schuenemann said, “If you sit back and don’t put in the effort, you already have a NO. If you don’t try something that you dream about doing, you already have a NO. If you don’t attempt to do anything at all, you already have a NO.”

This is a twist on something I frequently say to people: “If you don’t ask for a yes, you already have a no.”

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Crafting Compelling Captions for Photo Contests, Part I

A young pine marten leaps from one tree to another in my direction. I was shooting out of an open window. Silver Gate, Montana © Patricia McCollom Bauchman
A young pine marten leaps from one tree to another in my direction. I was shooting out of an open window. Silver Gate, Montana © Patricia McCollom Bauchman

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Captions play a critical role in photo contests. You might think that your photograph stands on its own but judges don’t have your knowledge of the circumstances at the moment you pressed the shutter button. The information you provide in your caption can help preemptively answer a judge’s questions or concerns, explain a unique situation you captured, illuminate subtle nuances in your composition, and assuage any trepidations over potential ethical problems. Captions can make or break your photo’s chances in Showcase or any other photo contest.

We’re in the middle of the 2021 NANPA Showcase nature photo competition and hundreds of photographers are combing through their archive to choose which stellar images they want to submit. The quality of submissions has always been outstanding, making the judges’ job difficult. Yet every year we get comments from judges about images with inadequate captions. Don’t let a weak caption give judges a reason to discount your photo!

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