Experiencing and Photographing Nature: Good for Mind and Body

Photo of a man in a red jacket walking away from the camera, down a road that curves off to the right. The road is bordered by trees with colorful fall foliage  on both sides.During the coronavirus pandemic, some roads in Rock Creek Park have been closed to traffic, making it easier for people to experience the restorative powers of nature. © Frank Gallagher
During the coronavirus pandemic, some roads in Rock Creek Park have been closed to traffic, making it easier for people to experience the restorative powers of nature. © Frank Gallagher

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Ask nature, wildlife, or landscape photographers about the feelings they get when outside practicing their craft and you’re likely to see an almost mystical look come across their faces. Peaceful. Contemplative. Restful. Restorative. Those are just a few of the terms I’ve heard from photographers talking about how being immersed in nature is good for the soul. It seems that, over the past few years, science and medicine are slowly catching up to what we’ve known for a long time: experiencing the natural world has positive health benefits and is good for your psyche.

Continue reading

Vedauwoo: Capturing Nature’s Beautiful Rock Formations

One of the balanced rock formations at Vedauwoo, Wyoming. Photo shows a pile of large rocks with two balanced precariously on top. © Sastry Karra
One of the balanced rock formations at Vedauwoo, Wyoming © Sastry Karra

By Sastry Karra with editorial support from Frank Gallagher

Wyoming is famous for the majestic Tetons and the incomparable Yellowstone National Park near its western border, but they are not the only scenic areas the state has to offer photographers. In southeastern Wyoming sits Vedauwoo, (pronounced Vee-Duh-Voo), an area of granite outcroppings and hoodoos that attracts climbers, hikers, day trippers and, of course, photographers. With dramatic scenery, it’s also a popular location for engagement and wedding shoots.

Continue reading

Wildlife Photography in the Snowy Months: Capturing Magic on Telemark Skis

"Gray Sky," a photo showing a snowy landscape in the mountains. A steep slope of snow-covered trees leads up to jagged mountain peaks under gray skies.  © Deirdre Denali Rosenberg
Gray Sky © Deirdre Denali Rosenberg

By Deirdre Denali Rosenberg

Waking up on a cold, dark December morning I slowly find my way out of bed and procure a cup of coffee from the pot my husband’s just finished making. There’s a fire burning in our wood stove; the only heat source we have for our little home. All is quiet aside from the gentle popping and crackling of wood aflame.

Continue reading

Happy New Year!

First edited photo of the New Year, a black-bellied whistling duck in southern Louisiana © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Well, 2021 is finally in the books. I am not sure about everyone else, but I am very happy to see it in the rearview mirror. It was a tough year for many, including myself, and in my home state of Colorado it ended with another horrible wildfire. Events like that put life in perspective to remember to spend time with those you love, don’t worry about things and stuff, and treat every moment like it is the most special of your life.

Continue reading

I Concede: Looking Back and Moving On

Brilliant sunset from atop Clingman's Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo shows the sun sinking below the horizon lighting up the sky in shades of red. In the fore to middle ground are several ranges of mountains, separated by fog between each one. © Jerry Ginsberg
Brilliant sunset from atop Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © Jerry Ginsberg

By Jerry Ginsberg

Like most of us of a certain age, I shot thousands of rolls of film over many, many years. As a result, I have five large, steel, filing cabinets in a cold room that are just chock full of carefully filed archival slide pages. Those who feel a pang of nostalgia for all of those 2 x 2” cardboard slide mounts, please raise your hand.

Continue reading

Water Droplet Photography: A Unique Way to View a Common Subject

Photo of a water droplet frozen after it hits the water showing ripples spreading outward on the surface and a round splash going up.  Water droplet © Dale E. A. Lewis
Water droplet © Dale E. A. Lewis

By Dale E. A. Lewis

Next to the sun, water is probably the most photographed subject in nature. It can convey power and strength as a magnificent crashing wave or serenity and calmness as a gentle babbling brook. With a fast shutter speed, you can freeze it in time to see every detail or use a slow shutter speed to render it as an ethereal mist. Of course, let’s not forget its beautiful reflective properties. No wonder that water is a fascinating subject to photograph! In fact, it’s so fascinating that even a solitary droplet can elicit feelings of awe and wonder. And that takes us to water droplet photography, a specialized type of photography that takes a lot of trial and error to successfully accomplish. The stunning results make it well worth the effort.

Continue reading

Calendars, Competitions and Copyright Concerns

Juvenile bald eagle flying across a clear blue sky. © Frank Gallagher
Juvenile bald eagle. © Frank Gallagher

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

We’re getting used to seeing companies, government agencies, and even museums ask for unnecessarily broad copyright terms in their photo contests. Some go as far as having photographers surrender all copyright to the images they enter. Others want unrestricted rights to use photos in any way they see fit, including sublicensing to third parties. And, thankfully, some respect the rights of photographers and other creative artists. The latest example was brought to our attention by NANPA member Mark Larson and, while better than some, still has a few areas of concern.

Continue reading

Winter in the City: Shooting Winter Scenes in the City (Without the City)

Photo of a snow-covered scene framed by the branches of a tree. The branches are covered with snow and a sun star peeks out of the top of a branch near the upper left corner. New York Botanical Garden after a snowfall. © F. M. Kearney
New York Botanical Garden after a snowfall. © F. M. Kearney

By F. M. Kearney

Urban Nature is a new feature of NANPA’s blog, a series of articles created to address the issues of nature photographers living in urban areas, with little or no access to conventional, natural environments. It will focus on topics ranging from finding subjects to finding inspiration. Also, in an effort to attract more beginners into the field, it will attempt to demystify the art of photography in general.

City living may have its benefits when it comes to a lot of things, but it might not be so advantageous if you’re a nature photographer seeking subjects to shoot. This is a problem all year around, but it’s especially difficult in the winter. Other seasons allow amble time to plan quick getaways to photograph spring flowers or fall foliage. But, if you’re trying to capture pristine, snow-covered landscapes without a hint of man-made objects, it’s not so easy if you live in an urban area. You can visit a local park, but pristine conditions won’t remain that way for very long. In no time at all, the place will be inundated with hordes of hyperactive schoolkids celebrating their snow day – forever erasing that delicate Winter Wonderland. Also, even in a large park, it’s still very difficult to avoid traces of civilization almost anywhere you point your camera. Of course, you can try to venture outside of your city limits, but what if you don’t have a car? Many people (myself included) who live in large cities do not own cars. They’re more of a hinderance than anything else. Public transportation is usually the best option. But public transportation may not get you exactly where you want to be at the time you want to be there. So, having said all of that… if you live in the city and you want to get photos of unspoiled, snow-covered landscapes, your best option might be to stay in the city.

Continue reading

Remembering Dr. Thomas Lovejoy III

Screenshot of Washington Post Obituary for Dr. Thomas Lovejoy III

By Frank Gallagher

In the closing days of 2020, the world lost a number of giants, among which were Archbishop Desmond Tutu, naturalist and author Edward O. Wilson, and ecologist and conservation biologist Thomas E. Lovejoy III. Wilson and Lovejoy massively influenced our understanding of the world around us and their work was profoundly important to conservation and biodiversity. Dr. Lovejoy was also an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of the NANPA Foundation, alongside Jane Goodall and Dewitt Jones. He was recruited by Jane Kinne in the early 2000s, recalls Foundation President John Nuhn.

Continue reading

Top 10 Citizen Science Observations of 2021

What’s happening in iNaturalist and what’s in it for you?

by David Cook, NANPA Conservation Committee Volunteer

In 2021 NANPA created regional collection projects in iNaturalist where members can load their observations of the natural world.  The projects are valuable resources for nature photographers; you can research the types of species found in a specific geographic area at a specific time of year, for example, to help you prepare for a photo trip.

NANPA’s Umbrella Project summarizes all of the regional collection projects, so we dove into the data to share an end-of-year snapshot with you. In 2021 the NANPA iNaturalist projects recorded 19,016 observations of 5,354 different species from 82 observers in 38 different states across the U.S.!

Screenshot from NANPA’s Umbrella Project Dashboard in iNaturalist
Continue reading