Be a Better Naturalist featuring Alyce Bender

The Nature Photographer episode #19 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Alyce loves photographing mustangs in fall and leads photo tours to help others discover and photograph these living legends of the American West © Alyce Bender

Full-time nature photographer Alyce Bender reveals her secret to better wildlife images and to traveling safely alone: be a better naturalist. Hear how observing animal behavior helps Alyce stay aware of her surroundings and anticipate a great action photo. Plus, find out how boredom in the field and a desire to make the best of an imperfect opportunity—like a pronghorn in harsh light—inspire Alyce’s most creative imagery. This expert car camper and military veteran has lived all over the world, including 10 months traveling the U.S. in an RV with her two dogs. Hear about some of her favorite locations, including where she went this summer—logging 12,000 miles in just 11 weeks!

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Get Your Story Out There featuring Morgan Heim

The Nature Photographer episode #18 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Image from conservation and adventure film Deer 139 © Morgan Heim

Conservation photographer and filmmaker Morgan Heim knows how to tell a story. It might take climbing 25 feet up the Astoria-Megler Bridge at slack tide to attach two time lapse cameras over the Columbia River—known as “the Graveyard of the Pacific”—or following a mule deer on an 85-mile migratory path over the Wyoming Range and Salt River Range, but getting the story and getting it out into the world are two of Morgan’s specialties. The keys, she tells co-hosts Dawn Wilson, Michael Mauro, Ron Hayes, and Jason Loftus, include finding the collaborators who can do what you can’t and building buy-in for yourself as an individual, not just the product you’re trying to produce. Learn more about her conservation filmmaking class, her “half-assed ideas” notebook, and the double-crested cormorants project that she’s working on now. 

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Are You Physically Prepared for Field Work?

The Nature Photographer episode #17 on Wild & Exposed podcast

There are lots of ways to prepare your body for field work, even a simple daily walk on uneven terrain can help. © Jason Loftus

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft talk about daily hikes, canoeing, cycling, or even hiring a personal trainer for targeted HIIT training to prepare for the unique demands of a specific trip. How do you prepare for rugged terrain, high elevations, heavy camera gear, or simply staying hydrated? Hear how these photographers build endurance and strength and reduce the risk for injury for those grueling days when the pedometer hits 20,000 steps. “The more fit that you can be and the more prepared that you can be, the better your opportunities are.”

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What About Used Gear?

The Nature Photographer episode #16 on Wild & Exposed podcast

In this episode, the team tackles a listener-submitted question. Bob wants to buy a 600mm lens, but the price is steep…should he consider a used one? Find out what criteria our co-hosts use to answer that question for themselves, what kind of research they do on used gear and sellers they don’t know, and why the answer for a glass purchase might be different than a camera body. Plus, how having a solid network helped Ron get a $12,000 lens for $3,000, how “refurbished” differs from used, and other options you might not have considered.

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Eye Tracking or Single-Point AutoFocus?

The Nature Photographer episode #15 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft tackle another listener question in this short episode. With newer mirrorless cameras, do you still use single-point autofocus and anticipate the location of the animal’s eye? Hear which mirrorless cameras have the best eye tracking functions and in which situations it works best. Plus, find out why Mark is a late adopter of new technology and what even the mirrorless users in this group are doing in high risk/high reward situations in the field. You’ll also hear about a Canon April Fools’ Day joke that actually came to fruition.

Sometimes the camera chooses a bit differently than I would…it’s still just a tool for the photographer.

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Giving Pause featuring Clay Bolt

The Nature Photographer episode #14 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Fuzzy-horned bumble bee (Bombus mixtus), Idaho © Clay Bolt

Conservation photographer Clay Bolt tells Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Mark Raycroft how he learned about the rusty-patched bumble bee and why he got involved in efforts to get it added to the Endangered Species list. Find out how this bee stopped the Atlantic Coast pipeline, what you can do in your own community to support native pollinators, and which SNL Weekend Update joke hit close to home for Clay. Plus, hear what happened when Clay and Eli Wyman went to Indonesia in search of Wallace’s giant bee—a species that hadn’t been seen in more than 35 years—and why your mobile phone may be the best conservation tool around. 

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Seeing It Differently featuring Lisa Langell

The Nature Photographer episode #5 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

“Heads or Tails” images by Lisa Langell

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.

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Light Side Up featuring Nate Luebbe

The Nature Photographer episode #4 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

© Nate Luebbe

NANPA member and Sony ambassador Nate Luebbe tells Dawn, Ron, and Michael about sending a Sony a7S III up more than 120,000 feet in a hot air balloon to capture 4K video of the aurora borealis. Find out how this remarkable idea hatched, and hear the engineering research, meteorological considerations, and FAA regulations that Nate and his small team had to balance to capture cinema-quality footage shot at 102,400 ISO.

…And if you happen to find that $10 styrofoam cooler with a 10-foot red parachute attached to it, well, you’ll find out how to reach Nate on this episode, too.

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Networking, Lessons in Life and Nature Photography on Tap for New Podcast

In a few short weeks, NANPA will officially launch The Nature Photographer Podcast in collaboration with the cast of Wild and Exposed, so we asked one of the co-founders and co-hosts to tell us what he’s gained from hosting and participating in nature photography podcasts, and what he hopes the new NANPA podcast brings its listeners.

Photos and story by Ron Hayes

I’m all about networking in wildlife photography. Networking is critical to being able to find good locations to shoot, but it’s also how you find people you respect to review your work and give you honest input. You might not want to hear the feedback, but it will help you improve your image quality.

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