This remote park is revered by backpackers and climbers, but often overlooked by most other folks, even though it’s just 120 miles from the Seattle metropolitan area. Covering more than 500,000 acres, North Cascades National Park includes its namesake mountains at the northern end of the Cascade chain, virgin forests, countless alpine lakes and meadows, glaciers and more than 360 miles of wilderness hiking trails. There are very few roads within the park, so most visitors travel east and west on State Route 20. Whether folks want to hike in remote wilderness, embark on a family-friendly road trip or camping vacation, North Cascades National Park is a remarkably underrated destination that shouldn’t be missed.
I hope everyone is surviving and thriving into the New Year. There are certainly signs of hope on the horizon for many aspects of our world. The vaccines are being distributed and the pace of that is picking up. Our new administration has set forth goals to advance environmental justice and listen to science. And the team at NANPA has many, many great things coming in the next few months.
Northern pitcher plants grow on bog mats where there is no nutrient-rich soil to feed them. As a result, they have evolved to be carnivorous, obtaining nutrients instead through a diet of insects. But researchers at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station recently discovered that a population of these plants are also regularly capturing a vertebrate prey: juvenile spotted salamanders. Salamanders have long been recognized as important nutrient cyclers that move between aquatic and forest ecosystems, and this discovery reveals that they might be a large source of nutrients for these plants. I was working at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station in 2019 as a photojournalist-in-residence when I was able to make this image that visualizes this scientific discovery.
“Lunar Gunsight” is an image of the nearly full moon rising into and through Gunsight Notch in Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Seneca Rocks is part of the resistant Tuscarora quartzite formation that has been folded vertically and exposed at several places along the River Knobs which run along the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. The rocks are very thin fins that rise dramatically about 300 feet above the surrounding slopes and 900 feet above the river valley.
I enjoy creating animal portraits that exist within a whole ecosystem context. Unlike land photography where we have the luxury of spending hours patiently waiting with our telephoto lenses to capture tight shots of animals hundreds of feet away, photographing mammals underwater is a different beast. It’s close up, it’s unpredictable, it’s fast paced, and you’re shooting in what amounts to a hostile human environment that requires a life support system just to keep breathing. While challenging, these conditions also make it endlessly exciting and rewarding. The California sea lion colony of Los Islotes in the Sea of Cortez is an intensely fun place to make photos, and I was ecstatic to capture this moment in the life of one of the most charismatic marine mammals on our blue planet.
In the entire history of human life on Earth, we have never faced two more broad-based and existential environmental threats than those posed by climate change and biodiversity loss. Right now—every day—the world is adding more atmospheric pollution, more destruction of habitat, and more threats to species, creating a metaphorical (and sometimes literal) enveloping shroud that may eventually doom our own species. On a geologic time scale, we are accelerating these processes at warp speed. A 2014 study in Science magazine reported that species were dying off at a rate 1,000 times faster than normal because of human activities. So, what’s the solution? I have some ideas but first it’s necessary to acknowledge and understand the problems, their urgency, and why nature photographers should care.
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?
The Nature Photographer episode #5 on Wild & Exposed Podcast
Reverse engineering a nature image, giving people what they can’t get somewhere else, and creating educational experiences are just a few of the ways that Lisa Langell practices seeing things differently. Langell, a NANPA board member and ambassador for both Tamron and Fotopro, joins Dawn Wilson, Jason Loftus, and Ron Hayes to talk about creating nature images for use as high-end wall art and letting go of the expectations that limit what you get out of workshops, tours, and your camera. The goals is never to duplicate someone else’s image or workshop but to find your own niche, Lisa explains.
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.
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.