How NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program Impacted Me: A Turning Point

Owl on alert in the forest.

Owl on alert in the forest.

Story and photos by Ashleigh Scully

I was a participant in the 2017 NANPA High School Scholarship Program and spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountains working with some incredible mentors, broadening my interests in photography and learning from some very talented kids my age as well. This program was a turning point for me–it showed me just how much I want to inspire the younger generation to learn more about conservation and photography. Working with and learning from 9 other students from across the country was not what I expected it to be. I had assumed we would all stick to the certain aspects of photography we were comfortable with, but instead we all motivated each other to try a little bit of everything. During that week in the Smokies, I got to experiment with flash and night photography and use some of the cameras, lenses, and flashes that Canon sent to as loaners. I now have knowledge of the settings to use for star and night photography, something that will definitely come in handy for me in the future. We also hiked out to a waterfall and attempted slow motion waterfall photos to capture the blur of the water. Using the loaner flashes, we also found little salamanders and toads and used white backgrounds for the “Meet Your Neighbors” technique that  Andrew Snyder, one of the mentors, taught us. Some of the kids were so in love with this new technique, it was all they did!

Do you know a talented young nature photographer? NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program is seeking 10 high school student photographers to attend a five-day field event where they can learn from the industry’s top shooters. Apply now for this immersive, hands-on education program to be held in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park July 6–11, 2020. Combining classroom and field-based instruction, students will have the chance to improve their nature photography skills, learn about NANPA, meet industry professionals, and gain an appreciation of the Smoky Mountains’ rich natural history. The NANPA Foundation funds this and other educational programs. January 31, 2020 is the last day to apply, so don’t wait. Apply now! This article was originally published in January, 2019.

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 20, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: " Atlantic Puffin Working in the Rain, Scotland, UK " © Sunil Gopalan.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: ” Atlantic Puffin Working in the Rain, Scotland, UK ” © Sunil Gopalan.

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, January 20, 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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Getting the Most From Your Long Lens: A NANPA Webinar

Sandhill Cranes flying together © Bob Coates.
Sandhill Cranes © Bob Coates.

You have a long telephoto lens or you’re lusting after one. There’s nothing like that long reach to zoom in on birds and wildlife. But telephotos are not the easiest things to use and the longer the reach the more precise you have to be. Are you using your long glass to its full potential? Find out how you can squeeze all the possibilities (and then some) out of you long lenses in a NANPA webinar presented by Bob Coates on Thursday, February 13, at 6:00pm EST.

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Finding Color in a Black & White World: Ways to Liven-Up Drab Winter Photos

A waterfall is a great place to find color… even in the winter.
A waterfall is a great place to find color… even in the winter.

Story and photos by F. M. Kearney

Winter – nature’s bleakest season. Or is it? It seems so, considering the scarcity of photographers in the field at this time of year. Where you would normally have to fight for the best position, you will undoubtedly now have the entire place all to yourself. In addition, you don’t have to worry too much about anyone wandering into your shot. Yes, winter doesn’t get much love when it comes to photography. Perhaps, it’s the inconvenience of dealing with frigid temperatures, and all the precautions needed to properly protect yourself and your equipment. Or, perhaps it’s the belief that there just isn’t anything worthwhile to shoot. Let’s face it, outside of a majestic, winter wonderland captured at the break of dawn or late in the day, most winter scenes are pretty bland. The fact that winter follows autumn – the most colorful of all seasons – you might feel as though you’re now shooting in black and white. But that doesn’t mean there’s absolutely no color to be found at all. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look and employing a few simple techniques.

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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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Weekly Wow! Week of January 13, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Star Trails Over Mono Lake, Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra California © Alice Cahill.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Star Trails Over Mono Lake, Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra California © Alice Cahill.

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, January 13, 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. Pre-order your copy by January 17 and save $5!

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Photographing Gateway Arch National Park

The Gateway Arch rises majestically 630 feet over St. Louis and the Mississippi River in Gateway Arch National Park, MO.
The Gateway Arch rises majestically 630 feet over St. Louis and the Mississippi River in Gateway Arch National Park, MO.

Story and photos by Jerry Ginsberg

One of the nation’s newest National Parks is a tiny speck of land on the west bank of the mighty Mississippi River. At a mere 91 acres, Gateway Arch National Park is by far the smallest of our sixty-one National Parks.

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 6, 2020

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "Dueling Bats Spar Over Night Nectar, Costa Rica" © Karen Leperi.
Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Dueling Bats Spar Over Night Nectar, Costa Rica” © Karen Leperi.

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, January 6, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. 

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Protect & Prepare Yourself for Nature Photography

Yellowstone coyote in snow. © Deborah Roy.
Yellowstone coyote. © Deborah Roy.

Think you’re a safe and prudent outdoor nature photographer? Confident in yourself and your planning? Sure you’ve got everything covered?  You’ve got the “known knowns[1]” (the obvious risks you can eliminate) covered and have a good handle on the “known unknowns” (things you don’t know but can plan for) But what about the “unknown unknowns?”

Join presenters Deborah & Patrick Roy for a NANPA webinar, Protect & Prepare Yourself: Tools & Medical Supplies to Always Include in Your Camera Bag, on Wednesday, January 8, at 6pm EST. Go to the Members’ Area of NANPA.org to register or get more information.

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Wanted: Future Nature Photographers

Students at work during Photo from 2019 High School Scholarship Program at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. © Tom Haxby.
Photo from 2019 High School Scholarship Program at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. © Tom Haxby.

By NANPA President Tom Haxby

Do you know a high school student who will be between the age of 14-19 and a rising sophomore, junior or senior during the dates of July 6-11, 2020, who might be interested in exploring nature through nature photography while having fun too? Perhaps this might be one of your children, grandchildren or even a non-relative.

Please consider encouraging eligible students to apply to the NANPA High School Photography Scholarship Program in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). Applications are available at http://nanpafoundation.org/high-school-scholarships/ and must be submitted online by January 31, 2020.

If you know an educator who might interact with interested students, please inform them of this program. You can download a flyer to share.

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