Mysterious Bird Deaths and How We Can Help

Screenshot of Audubon's report on the songbird epidemic. Image shows a gloved hand holding a small bird with its eye crusted shut and the headline "Scientists Still Searching for the Pathogen Behind the East's Songbird Epidemic."
Screenshot of Audubon’s report on the songbird epidemic.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Many photographers have backyard bird feeders and enjoy photographing their avian visitors. Beginning in May, though, wildlife managers in a number of mid-Atlantic states, from New Jersey through Florida and as far west as Indiana, began seeing sick and dying birds. Audubon, Science and a number of other media outlets have reported that the distressed birds had swollen, crusty eyes and some neurological symptoms. Because birds are at increased risk of transmitting diseases when congregating at feeders, authorities in the eleven affected states (NJ, DE, PA, KY, WV, MD, VA, IN, OH, TN, FL) and the District of Columbia are recommending that people stop feeding birds altogether. And, if you are in or around the affected states and encounter sick or dead birds, wildlife managers urge you to contact your state or district wildlife conservation agency for instructions and to help them track this outbreak.

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The Milky Way Arch – A Panoramic Journey!

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. Twenty images stacked and blended together using Lightroom and Photoshop. Nikon D810, Nikkor 14mm-24mm at 14mm, 15 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 8000. © Prashant Naik

By Prashant Naik

The rising of the Milky Way is perhaps one of the most beautiful phenomena one can witness. A white, hazy band of light arches across the night sky, in a dazzling display of cosmic radiance—the kind of magic that leaves us forever enchanted and amazed. For stargazers, it’s a moment of celestial splendor and, for photographers, it’s a kind of spiritual moment when they are at the peak of their creative madness. Me? I am just a dreamer!

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Summit Trivia: Fun Quiz

George Lepp and John Shaw are deep in discussion during the 2019 NANPA Summit conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo credit: Dawn Wilson
George Lepp and John Shaw are deep in discussion during the 2019 NANPA Summit conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo credit: Dawn Wilson

By Shirley Nuhn

How well do you know NANPA’s Summits?  Whether you’ve gone to only a few or have attended all of them, there are facts and just plain trivia you might have forgotten or never realized.  For part three of my blog on Summit history, I’ve put together a fun 20-question quiz with the help of my husband, John.  When you click on an answer, if it turns green, you’re right! If it turns red, well, try again. 

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COVID Sunset Project

Sunset photo of a mostly dry river bed with a small stream of water flowing through it and reflecting the colors in the sky. There are trees in the distance and colorful clouds overhead. Early spring snow leads to, yes,  flowing water in the desert! © David Lovitt
Early spring snow leads to, yes, flowing water in the desert! © David Lovitt

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

During the coronavirus pandemic, when travel was discouraged and most places closed, many photographers turned to personal projects to feed their creative needs. Some photographed backyard birds. Others paid a lot more attention to their own neighborhoods. For Arizona photographer and NANPA member David Lovitt, a friend’s suggestion led to a ten-month project making photos from the same spot at sunset.

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Travel has returned!

Two brown bear cubs play in a field of grass and flowers just outside the lodge where I stayed in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska. © Dawn WIlson
Two brown bear cubs play just outside the lodge where I stayed in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

It had been a long year without being able to fly to some of my favorite locations.

I’ll be honest; I still traveled. I couldn’t help myself, but I did it via my truck and camped whenever I could to stay as safe as possible.

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Using Trail Cameras to Photograph Elusive Animals

Photo of a fisher, a small member of the weasel family, walking across snow-covered ground at night. Behind it is a pile of tree limbs laying on the ground. The elusive fisher is hard to find and photograph. © Mark Hendricks
The elusive fisher is hard to find and photograph. © Mark Hendricks

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Trail cameras, also known as trail cams and camera traps, can be a great way of capturing images of elusive animals, as well as candid photos of more common critters. Getting started requires a fair amount of gear, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. And, like almost anything in photography these days, there’s a bit of a learning curve. I recently spoke with Maryland-based nature photographer Mark Hendricks about how and why he uses trail cams.

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The Fine Print of Photo Contest Rules

A photo of a colorful dawn sky in the distance. In the foreground is a placid river with a few trees on the opposite bank. Sunrise over the Pocomoke River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. © Frank Gallagher
Sunrise over the Pocomoke River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. © Frank Gallagher

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

It must be photo contest season. Hardly a day goes by without me seeing at least one notification about an upcoming photography competition. Some have substantial prizes, others offer recognition and exposure. Are they worth it? And what are you getting yourself into? The answers are in the fine print. You do read all the contest rules, don’t you?

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New River Gorge National Park

Photo of the New River Bridge, a long, tall, arched bridge spanning a large tree-covered canyon at dusk. Not exactly a Nature subject, the New River Gorge Bridge spans this wide river with a huge central arch framework and is a featured calling card of the new National Park. © Jerry Ginsberg
Not exactly a nature subject, the New River Gorge Bridge spans this wide river with a huge central arch framework and is a featured calling card of the new National Park. © Jerry Ginsberg

By Jerry Ginsberg

America’s 63rd and newest national park was created earlier this year when the Congressional resolution authorizing it was buried deep in the text of legislation intended to address financial issues related to the COVID pandemic. Not one to look a gift horse in the proverbial mouth, I am just grateful that these 73,000 scenic acres have been awarded the nation’s highest level of protection. Just 10% of this territory is included in the actual national park. The remaining 65,000 acres make up a national preserve. So, what makes this area special?

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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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