Getting Off the Main Road: The South Dakota Badlands

Storms move across the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.
Storms move across the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.

Story & photos by Tom Croce

Typically when I mention the Badlands of South Dakota, the National Park is the first place that’s comes to mind. That’s quickly followed by a comment that goes something like “I drove through there once.” But the term Badlands has a geological definition that extends far beyond the park boundaries. The Badlands National Park and surrounding Buffalo Gap National Grasslands cover approximately 925 square miles and make up the largest protected mixed grassland prairie in the United States. Although it would take a lifetime to explore all of this vast area, it if definitely worth getting off the main road to exploring some of the more remote areas of the Badlands National Parks South Unit, the surrounding Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, and some of the surrounding small towns.

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We all need an “Ah-ha moment”

Horseshoe Bend, AZ
Horseshoe Bend, AZ

Story & photos by Jiayu Su

Being a member of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) for over three years now, I have lots of takeaways. The first time I got to know NANPA was as a student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, which has a fantastic photography program and faculty. Because of its unique location, I have had many opportunities to visit Yellowstone National Park, which is only 70 miiles away. I remember how I enjoyed hiking around the park and just photographing the beauty of the Earth. Whenever I was there, I had a deeper understanding of why we need to do something to support and preserve nature. It is a part of our lives or, in other words, we all know we cannot live without it.

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Weekly Wow! Week of October 21, 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: "Limpkin Territorial Dispute, Myakka River State Park, Florida" © Peter Brannon.
Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Limpkin Territorial Dispute, Myakka River State Park, Florida” © Peter Brannon.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, October 21, 2019.  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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How I Got the Shot: A Mother’s Love

Story & photo by Sastry Karra

All living creatures are born with instincts. Out of all of those instincts, a mother’s love for her babies is the most unique, powerful and amazing. She naturally wants to protect her offspring, teach her babies how the world works and how to use their own biologically-inherited instincts to survive. Love, tenderness, nurturing and protection—all are often on display when you see mother and child.

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Delicate Balance: Monarch Migration

Monarch in flight. Houston TX.
Monarch in flight. Houston TX.

Story & photos by Theresa DiMenno

As I settle in to write this piece, the monarch butterflies are filtering through the central  flyway of Texas. It is a chilly morning in Austin as we had our first cold front of the  season last evening. Fifty degrees feels like forty five, cloudy with twenty mph winds, and sporadic drizzle. The northern breeze could push the monarchs along their  southern migratory journey to Mexico, but the cold and rain will keep them in place until  the weather clears. They prefer a moderate to warm temperature, and rain on the wing  is not a butterfly’s friend.

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Rare Plant Heroes

Herbarium Specimen
Herbarium Specimen

Editor’s Note: Michelle A. Butler received NANPA’s 2015 Janie Moore Greene Grant.  At that time, she was a student completing her Master’s of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. She was then working on a photo-documentary thesis project to raise awareness about the condition of birds in the Americas. It highlights the habitats needed for nesting, wintering and migration and calls for conservation efforts that citizens can make to help protect these essential components to our ecosystem.

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Weekly Wow! Week of October 14, 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: " Prairie Chicken Fight, Burchard, Nebraska" © William Pohley.
Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: ” Prairie Chicken Fight, Burchard, Nebraska” © William Pohley.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, October 14, 2019.  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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A Favorite Place to Photograph Wildlife: The Silver River in Florida

Three juvenile double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) standing on a log on the Silver River in Florida.
Three juvenile double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) standing on a log on the Silver River in Florida.

Story & photos by Linda Burek

My husband and I travel extensively around the United States and Canada in our motorhome from a home base in St. Augustine, Florida. With all that traveling, the Silver River remains one of my favorite places to photograph wildlife.  The river is located east of Ocala in Florida. The thirty springs that comprise Silver Springs form the headwaters of this river and its clear waters flow through dense cypress swamp for almost 5 miles before it feeds into the Ocklawaha River. The area is accessible through Silver Springs State Park and Ray Wayside Park.

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Last Light: Taking Advantage of the Last Vestiges of Daylight

Venice Beach at twilight (1-minute exposure).
Venice Beach at twilight (1-minute exposure).

Story & photos by F. M. Kearney

She snapped a photo of him each time he jumped in the air over an incoming wave.

A family the size of a small wedding party took turns photographing each other along the numerous rocks lining the shoreline.

He spent a lot of time capturing his better half in the evening light as she posed on a sand dune.

A day at the beach can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Photography has always been a popular pastime – especially toward the end of the day. If the beach is westward-facing, the sunsets are often truly amazing. This is usually the time when everyone’s attention turns to the sun (instead of each other) as it begins its descent below the horizon. The problem is that most people will pack up and leave immediately after it sets. It’s sort of like leaving the theater before the final credits finish rolling. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve hung around after the movie, only to be treated to some of the funniest outtakes and/or entire scenes that would have otherwise gone completely unseen had I left with the masses.

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The Old Growth Project

A state-listed endangered species in Florida, the ghost orchid is a leafless plant that photosynthesizes through its roots. Surviving in the subtropical climates of South Florida's Everglades, only an estimated 2000 remain because of poaching pressures. This plant is likely safe from poachers as it took root 50-feet up in a 500-year-old cypress. © Mac Stone.
A state-listed endangered species in Florida, the ghost orchid is a leafless plant that photosynthesizes through its roots. Surviving in the subtropical climates of South Florida’s Everglades, only an estimated 2000 remain because of poaching pressures. This plant is likely safe from poachers as it took root 50-feet up in a 500-year-old cypress. © Mac Stone.

Editor’s Note: Mac Stone received NANPA’s 2018 Philip Hyde Conservation Grant for his project, “Old Growth: Ancient Swamps of the South.” In this project he explores three old growth bottomland hardwood swamps (Beidler Forest, Congaree Swamp and Corkscrew Swamp) that are the last vestiges of unique ecosystems that once dominated the American South. He recently gave us an exciting update.

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