True Affects: Using Special Effects to Realistically Affect Reality

Daylilies with Radial Blur Filter (Spin mMethod) Applied © F. M. Kearney
Daylilies with Radial Blur Filter (Spin mMethod) Applied © F. M. Kearney

By F. M. Kearney

A friend of mine once showed me a movie trailer on YouTube for a foreign-made film called “B-14.” It’s about rival drug gangs, featuring an assassin with superhuman powers. To say that the special effects are ridiculously over-the-top would be an extreme understatement! This movie wasn’t meant to be funny, but I laughed more during this 1-minute trailer than I have during some 2-hour actual comedies. It seemed as though the producers just discovered special effects the night before and were determined to use all of them in this film – no matter how poorly executed, or whether the scene called for them or not. But what about special effects in photos of nature?

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Top 24 Nature Images Revealed

2021 Showcase winners take home $6,000 in prizes plus publicity opps


Every year NANPA’s Showcase competition recognizes the most stunning images created by nature photographers who live and/or work in North America—including both hobbyists and professional photographers. In recent weeks, we revealed portions of the Top 250 and Top 100 images in the 2021 Showcase. Today we’re excited to reveal the prize-winning Top 24.

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Artistic Pelican Photo Drives Social Media Engagement

Photo of a pelican floating on water that reflects tjhe colors of nearby boats. © Susan Manley
Pelican © Susan Manley

Interview with Susan Manley

NANPA member Susan Manley lives in Maywood, close to Los Angeles, California. When she posted this photo (of a pelican in water that was reflecting colors from a nearby boat) in NANPA’s Facebook group, she wasn’t thinking it would be one of the top performers. But it generated a lot of engagement, garnering more than 700 likes, 37 shares and 128 comments. With almost 21,000 members and dozens of posts each day, it isn’t easy to generate a lot of buzz there but, with the right kind if image, it’s possible. In a continuing exploration of what drives social media engagement, we checked in with Susan.

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Alaska’s Chilkat River Bald Eagle Preserve

Our National Symbol © Debbie McCulliss

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. – John Muir

By Debbie McCulliss

The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is a world-famous, 48,000-acre area in which one of the world’s largest gatherings of bald eagles feast every fall on spawned-out chum salmon. As winter moves in, the eagles migrate into this open water reservoir in which the water temperature remains somewhat warmer than the surrounding waters. It is a place full of photographic opportunities and offers countless chances to make lifelong memories.

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Cute Raccoons Lead to Facebook Engagement

Photo of two baby raccoon faces in a tree.  © Keith Freeburn
Looks like the local raccoons had a recent litter of two little rascals. I love looking up at this nest and seeing curious little faces looking back at me. © Keith Freeburn

Interview with Keith Freeburn

Certain photos get tons of engagement on social media—likes, shares, comments. Others don’t. Why? What is it about these photographs that grabs viewers’ attention enough to comment or share? What can we learn from them? NANPA’s Facebook group has more than 20,000 members and dozens of posts each day. It’s an active community of nature photographers and people who enjoy great nature photography. This article is the first in a series in which we take a closer look at the most engaging photos from the group and see if we can tease out why they had such an impact.

Keith Freeburn posted his photo of two raccoons on September 13th and it was an immediate hit. To date, it’s garnered more than 1,300 likes, 109 comments and 191 shares. We asked Keith to tell us a little about himself and reflect on why this photo just took off.

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Weekly Wow! Week of November 23, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Rialto Beach Sunset, Olympic Peninsula, Washington” © Don Larkin
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Rialto Beach Sunset, Olympic Peninsula, Washington” © Don Larkin

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, November 16, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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Six Scams Photographers Should Avoid

Image by Gerd Altman, Pixabay license

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

During times of economic disruption it always seems like there are more people trying to make some easy (if not ethical or even legal) money through scams. A couple of new swindles have recently been reported that are trying to separate photographers from their hard-earned money. And then there are the old favorites, back for another round. Here are six scams that are going around the photography community today.

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Weekly Wow! Week of November 16, 2020

Waterfall photo. Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Mysterious Spring Dreams, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania” © Vandana Bajikar
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Mysterious Spring Dreams, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania” © Vandana Bajikar

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, November 16, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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Coaxing Out the Color: Another Pandemic-Induced, Boredom-Busting Technique

Enhanced Version of Photo of Snow-Covered Waterfall in The Loch © F.M. Kearney
Enhanced Version of Photo of Snow-Covered Waterfall in The Loch © F.M. Kearney

Story and photos by F. M. Kearney

Photography in the winter can be tough. Exposures can be tricky; your equipment needs to be handled differently and if you’re not dressed appropriately, your main concern is usually getting inside as quickly as possible. Another common issue is finding color. Many winter photos almost look like they were shot in black and white. I’ve written articles in the past about finding color in the winter, but they were primarily geared towards finding it the natural way. This article is more about thinking “out of the box” and creating whimsical, fantasy-like images, purely for artistic purposes.

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Young Photographers to Follow: Jacob Eckels

Mountain Landscape © Jacob Eckels
Mountain Landscape © Jacob Eckels

Interviewed by Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Ten talented and promising young photographers were slated to enjoy—and be challenged by—an immersive field experience at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Townsend, Tennessee, in July 2020, as part of NANPA Foundation’s High School Scholarship Program. Since the week-long experience was postponed due to the pandemic, we are profiling the young photographers over the next few weeks. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jacob Eckels.

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