Finding Community in NANPA

Sunset over water. Photo by Mark Kreider.
Photo by Mark Kreider.

Story and photos by Mark Kreider

I have been a NANPA member for a year and a half. Even in that short time, NANPA and its supportive community have influenced me in many meaningful ways. Life seems to be full of wonderful flukes, and my introduction to NANPA was one such instance. One morning in November of 2012, when I was a high school senior, I received word from a fellow photographer of a great photographic opportunity that existed for high school students. Though just three days away from the deadline of NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program application, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I quite honestly remember thinking it looked too good to be true – a chance to spend a week in the field and at the NANPA Annual Summit, all the while learning and being inspired. I wondered to myself a little incredulously, How could I not have heard of NANPA before? It looks awesome!

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Obituary: Walt Anderson

Walt Anderson. Photo by Don Carter.
Walt Anderson. Photo by Don Carter.

Story and Don Carter

NANPA has just lost a great member and friend, Walt Anderson. Walt passed away on December 20, one day short of his 71st birthday.

Walt was the founder of Visual Echoes, Inc., which produced and sold the “Better Beamer” flash extender and the Panning Plate. He loved to share his knowledge of the use of flash with his Sunshine in your Pocket program and his thoughts on the ethical use of a flash with wildlife. He was also a great photographer and loved to travel: Florida for birds, the Smoky Mountains and the southwest for landscapes, and of course Yellowstone.

Walt was widely published and received many awards, what I will remember about him the most, was his sweet tooth. He never turned down the opportunity for a good chocolate donut or a piece of pie. If we were not traveling together, I would always consult Walt for some of his favorite locations to photograph in the areas where I would be, he would always start the conversation with the locations of the best donut shops.

Walt loved to be part of the NANPA community. He attended most of all the Summits, led a few NANPA Regional Events and helped with the college scholarship students as a mentor. He will be missed by the photography community. Walt is survived by his wife of 38 years, Carol.

Rest well my friend,

Don

Don Carter currently serves as NANPA’s Vice President, and is a past president. He is a retired university professor who takes photographs full time while traveling the country with his wife and springer spaniel in their RV.

Geena Hill and the NANPA College Scholarship Program

Many northerners like to migrate to Florida in the winter to escape the cold, but few realize that they should stick around until late spring. May/June in central Florida is one of the most beautiful times to visit Florida, mostly because of the wildflowers that bloom en masse along the roadsides. There is an incredibly high diversity of wildflowers that can be seen, but some areas are completely dominated by a native wildflower, Coreopsis, which is also Florida’s state wildflower. © Geena Hill.

Many northerners like to migrate to Florida in the winter to escape the cold, but few realize that they should stick around until late spring. May/June in central Florida is one of the most beautiful times to visit Florida, mostly because of the wildflowers that bloom en masse along the roadsides. There is an incredibly high diversity of wildflowers that can be seen, but some areas are completely dominated by a native wildflower, Coreopsis, which is also Florida’s state wildflower. © Geena Hill.

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 experiences at Summit.  Today, we meet Geena Hill, who recently graduated with her master’s degree from the University of Florida, with a focus in wildlife ecology and conservation.

“My interest in nature, biology, and photography predates my time as a biology student and photographer” says Geena. “As a child exploring in the woods with my sisters in northwest Pennsylvania, I always found myself taking pictures of various animals we found with a disposable camera. I wasn’t sure of the reason why I needed to take a photo of everything, but I felt the persistent urge to document our discoveries. Eventually, I was able to take a photography class in high school and finally fulfilled my aspiration of taking photos by learning the technicalities of film photography. While I did not study photography for my undergraduate degree, the constant impulse to always have my camera in my bag persists to this day.

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From the Executive Director – Susan Day

Susan Day on a foggy morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Richard Day

Susan Day on a foggy morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Richard Day

June 30 is the last day for Gordon Illg’s term as NANPA’s 25th president and when the board terms for Sean Fitzgerald and Ted Moreno end.

If there was a prize for the most meetings presided over, Gordon definitely qualifies!  In the last twelve months, Gordon led twelve teleconference board meetings, three teleconference executive committee meetings, two in-person multi-day board meetings, and the NANPA Business meeting held at the 2019 Summit in Las Vegas.   Not to mention, he participated in almost weekly meetings with me plus dozens of committee and planning meetings in the past year.  Gordon has been great to work with, and even though he travels a lot for his workshop business, he was always available to answer questions and kept in regular contact with me.  Gordon will continue his board service to NANPA as Past President for another year—where he’ll still get to attend plenty of meetings (but won’t have to lead them!)

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Riley Swartzendruber and the NANPA College Scholarship Program

Rax Bolay means "Green Viper" in the indigenous language Q'eqchi. The common name for the snake is Yellow-Blotched Palm Pit Viper. It is a highly endemic species to the area. © Riley Swartzendruber.

Rax Bolay means “Green Viper” in the indigenous language Q’eqchi. The common name for the snake is Yellow-Blotched Palm Pit Viper. It is a highly endemic species to the area. © Riley Swartzendruber.

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 experiences at Summit.  Today, we meet Riley Swartzendruber.

Riley was an undergraduate student majoring in digital media and photography at Eastern Mennonite University when he applied for the 2019 NANPA College Scholarship Program.  “I had an interest in creating videos all through elementary, middle, and high school and knew quickly that I wanted to pursue a career that involved using a camera,” he says.  But the first time he picked up a DSLR camera wasn’t until college, during which he went to Guatemala and Colombia.  “This challenged me in what I could do with my photography.  I found an immense amount of enjoyment experimenting and finding creative ways of telling the story I wanted to tell.”

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NANPA’s Birthday: 25 Years of Leadership in Nature Photography

NANPA's year-long 25th birthday celebrations kicked off at the Nature Photography Summit.

NANPA’s year-long 25th birthday celebrations kicked off at the Nature Photography Summit.

The world has changed a lot in the twenty-five years since NANPA was formed.  Back in 1994, the first commercially-successful web browser, Netscape Navigator, was released.  “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was renamed Yahoo.  Google was four years away and Facebook wouldn’t launch until 2004.  If you had internet access, it was probably dial-up at 56kbps through Compuserv or AOL. Photoshop 3.0 had just come out and introduced layers.  Microsoft Windows was new but your Pentium computer probably ran MS-DOS and had 4 MB RAM. Mobile phones didn’t have cameras and certainly weren’t smart.

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Nicole Landry and the NANPA College Scholarship Program

There were many bees buzzing around these purple coneflowers on the sunny summer day that I took this photo. After chasing them around for a while, I opted to take a stationary position, frame my shot, and wait for them to come to me. The results were worthwhile and I particularly like how the tight framing brings you into the world of the bee. © Nicole Landry.

There were many bees buzzing around these purple coneflowers on the sunny summer day that I took this photo. After chasing them around for a while, I opted to take a stationary position, frame my shot, and wait for them to come to me. The results were worthwhile and I particularly like how the tight framing brings you into the world of the bee. © Nicole Landry.

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 Nicole Landry.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a fourth-year undergraduate at Ryerson University in Toronto, majoring in media production.  Since getting my first camera at about age nine, I’ve seldom been without one. I spent much of my early years chasing everything from butterflies to squirrels; determined to capture the perfect shot.  In high school my life changed forever when I watched the documentary, Sharkwater. It opened my eyes to the plethora of environmental issues facing our planet and I was terrified – but also inspired. In that moment, I realized that media could be used as a catalyst for positive change and I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to dedicate my life to doing

This past year I directed, shot, and am now in the process of editing my first documentary, Saving Barrie’s Lake, about the loss of wetland ecosystems in southern Ontario.  These experiences shaped me into who I am today – an artist, environmentalist, and self-proclaimed adventurer – and I can genuinely not wait to see what opportunities the future has in store.

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From the Executive Director – Susan Day

Susan Day relaxing in Rhyolite Ghost Town, NV after 2019 Las Vegas Summit. Photo by Richard Day.

Susan Day relaxing in Rhyolite Ghost Town, NV after 2019 Las Vegas Summit. Photo by Richard Day.

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.

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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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From the Executive Director – Susan Day

2019 NANPA Summit. Susan Day, Richard Day, and Bethany Brucker at the Registration Desk. Photo © Janice Braud

2019 NANPA Summit. Susan Day, Richard Day, and Bethany Brucker at the Registration Desk. Photo © Janice Braud

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.

Cheers!

Susan Day
Executive Director