A Turning Point in My Photography: NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program

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 1–6, 2019. 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 last day to apply is January 31, 2019, so don’t wait. Apply now!

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 21, 2019

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

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner: "In the Heat of Battle, Brooks River, Katmai National Park, Alaska" © Lindsay Donald

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner: “In the Heat of Battle, Brooks River, Katmai National Park, Alaska” © Lindsay Donald

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, January 21, 2019.  We recently began highlighting the best photos from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition.  To view all of the top 250 photographs, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.

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Five Reasons You Should Be at the Nature Photography Summit

Still debating whether you should come to NANPA’s Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show, February 21-23 in Las Vegas?  Here are five compelling reasons to pull out your credit card and start making reservations.  And, hey, there’s still time to get pre-conference pricing . . . but only ‘till midnight, Sunday, January 20th.

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NANPA 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award: John Shaw

2019 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award winner John Shaw

2019 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award winner John Shaw

Professional nature photographer John Shaw was the recipient of NANPA’s first Outstanding Photographer Award in 1997.  This year, he’s being honored with NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and will also become a NANPA Fellow.  Registered for the 2019 NANPA Nature Photography Summit?  You can see John Shaw interviewed by Kathy Adams Smith on Saturday, February 23, at 10:30 AM.

He’s written seven books and ten ebooks and his work has been featured in numerous books and magazines.  He’s photographed on every continent and has been recognized by Nikon as a Legend Behind the Lens, as an Icon of Imaging by Microsoft and, since 2001, has been part of Epson’s Stylus Pro fine art print makers group.  Last month we had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 14, 2019

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

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner: "Buffalo in Orange, Zambia, Africa" © Rick Beldegreen

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner: “Buffalo in Orange, Zambia, Africa” © Rick Beldegreen

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, January 14, 2019.  Starting last week, we began highlighting the best photos from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition.  To view all of the top 250 photographs, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.

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Five Big Reasons to Get a Portfolio Review

Portfolio reviews are an essential part of growing as a photographer.

Portfolio reviews are an essential part of growing as a photographer.
Sign up for one at NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show.

A portfolio review is when a professional photographer, photo editor or agent examines and critiques your carefully-curated portfolio of top images.  Reviews are often available at photo conferences, including NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show, where you can sign up for a portfolio review with one of more than 20 top-notch photography professionals.  But, why would you want to do this?

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 7, 2019

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

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "Preening Ibis, Bolsa Chica Wetlands, California" © Karen Schuenemann

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Preening Ibis, Bolsa Chica Wetlands, California” © Karen Schuenemann

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, January 7, 2019.  With these images, we begin highlighting the best photos from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition.  To see all of the top 250 photographs, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.

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5 Photography Resolutions for the New Year

Danae Wolfe shows how you can do "Macro on a Budget" in an upcoming NANPA webinar.

Danae Wolfe shows how you can do “Macro on a Budget” in an upcoming NANPA webinar.

Have you made your resolutions for 2019?  What will you be doing to grow as a photographer and improve the quality of your work?

We all can find ourselves in a rut.  Maybe you’re shooting the same subjects, in the same way, at the same places.  Maybe your inspiration or creativity feels tapped out.  Maybe you’ve hit a plateau and your photography isn’t improving like it used to.

January is a purely arbitrary time to reassess your photography, but it’s something we should all do every so often.  So, why not a set of New Year’s resolutions?

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Weekly Wow! Week of December 31, 2018

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

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner: "Milky Way over Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park" © Chuck Haney

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner: “Milky Way over Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park” © Chuck Haney

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, December 31, 2018.

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From the President: Gordon Illg

It’s holiday time! That special season when we wish for Christmas miracles, Hanukah miracles, Saturnalia miracles…basically we’re looking for miracles. Grant us another year of health, livelihood, friends, family, and as nature photographers, the continued existence of the things we like to take pictures of. Grant us another year of not just rattlesnakes on dirt roads, but an abundance of wildlife of all kinds, as well as scenic vistas with a capital S and a capital V. We’re talking landscapes like those that greeted the first humans. That’s all we want.

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