Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Patrick Pevey

Wolves walking through snow. Showcase 2020, Best in Show, Mammals: "Yellowstone Wolf Pack" © Patrick Pevey.
Showcase 2020, Best in Show, Mammals: “Yellowstone Wolf Pack” © Patrick Pevey.

How I Got the Shot

After years of annual winter visits to Yellowstone, this rare opportunity to photograph wolves near the road occurred.  The large Wapiti Lake wolf pack had been taking down bison in the general area. Late one afternoon we saw an injured bison along the Madison River. Overnight the bison was taken by the wolves and early the next morning we saw the mostly eaten carcass near the road with wolves nearby. I stood on the road for hours and had the chance to see the wolves’ behavior and hear them howling, a thrilling experience.

What I Used

I used a Canon 1Dx MKII camera with Canon 600mm f/4 MKII lens + 1.4x III extender at 840mm focal length.  I chose camera settings of 1/1600 sec at f/8, ISO 2500, +2 EV. Using a sturdy tripod with a gimbal I was relying on this steady support in low light to get crisp images from a great distance away. The bison carcass was close but the wolves were coming and going at various distances away.

About Me

I am an enthusiastic hobbyist and been photographing nature and wildlife for 15 years. My favorite location to go for wildlife would have to be Africa where there are just so many locations with opportunities to observe and photograph animal behavior. All of my trips to Africa included photography on the Chobe River, Botswana, a very productive location.

My Photographic Journey

I started out photographing landscapes, then became interested in wildlife and birds in flight.  What keeps me interested is watching animal behavior, photographing them in their habitat, and learning about the ability of animals to adapt and survive; I could watch them all day.  One winter we stood on the road in Yellowstone watching a red fox sleep for 5 hours waiting for it to move!  CNP Safaris in Africa has been critical to improving my photography and training me how to get the best images possible. With expert guidance I would say you just don’t stop learning and improving.

NANPA and Me

I have been a member for 11 years now. I’d never heard of NANPA until I saw NANPA’s Road Shows advertised in Outdoor Photographer magazine. I attended a one in Sacramento, California, and was impressed and inspired.  I have entered the Showcase since 2015 and have had numerous top 250 images over that time.  In 2017 I was honored to have my image of Snow Monkeys awarded Best in Show, Mammals.

Learn More About Me

I have been slow to join in on the social media side. Recently, however, I created a web page jointly with my gal: PatrickPeveyPhotography.com and see my NANPA Showcase portfolio.

Weekly Wow! Week of February 3, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Clark's Grebes Doing the 'Weed Dance', Southern California" © Brian E. Small.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Clark’s Grebes Doing the ‘Weed Dance’, Southern California” © Brian E. Small.

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

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, February 3, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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Membership Has Benefits Beyond the Obvious

Photo of a bird in a tree by Tom Haxby.
Photo by Tom Haxby.

By NANPA President Tom Haxby

Fellow board member Lisa Langell recently shared with me a member survey from another photography organization which had been used to assess their member benefits and services. Serendipity, perhaps, because lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the benefits of being a NANPA member.

More than Pretty Pictures

When I joined NANPA just over 10 years ago, I did so because I was interested in nature photography and believed membership could help me improve my photographs. But I discovered that NANPA is about more than just taking better nature photos.

At the NANPA Summit in Jacksonville in 2017, and again in Las Vegas in 2019, I learned that nature photography is about more than just pretty pictures. It’s also about using photos to affect change.

In Jacksonville, Clyde Butcher spoke about efforts to save Florida’s natural areas and shared his own conservation work. His presentation was complemented by a video, created by NANPA’s Summit College Photography Scholarship Program participants, about attempts to connect these areas to create greenway corridors.

Several of the presentations in Las Vegas on conservation challenges in the Arctic were really eye-opening. Other Summit presenters like Clay Bolt and Andrew Snyder inspired me with their work on rare, threatened and endangered species through the Meet Your Neighbours technique. Because of them, I now have my own Meet Your Neighbours setup. 

I’ve seen how conservation photography can make a difference. Want to get started? NANPA’s recently-published Conservation Handbook is available to anyone interested in learning how. Find it in the Members’ Area of the NANPA website or click below.

Cover of the NANPA Conservation Photography Handbook

Ethics and Advocacy

Speaking of handbooks, we currently have available on our website a guide to the Principles of Ethical Field Practices. But that is just the beginning! NANPA has undertaken a much more extensive project to create a handbook on the ethics of nature photography. Your membership helps support large undertakings such as this that will allow NANPA to take a leadership role in educating photographers on ethics. Quite frankly, this is very much needed as the overzealous pursuit of nature and wildlife photos threatens both scenic places and the plants and animals we love photographing. And bad behavior threatens continued access to these places by photographers.

Your membership has also helped support our work on behalf of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (CASE Act of 2019). If passed by Congress and signed into law, the CASE Act would provide photographers with the option of pursuing infringers in a small claims-type of process instead of federal district court. Read more about how the CASE Act will help photographers

Friendship and Networking

I will always remember the NANPA Regional Events that I attended in the Smokies and Upper Peninsula of Michigan—for the great images and friendships made. It will be my great pleasure to now be a regional event leader, myself, in the Smokies this spring with Hank Erdmann. NANPA has many more Regional Events scheduled for all levels of photographers in various parts of the country.

There are larger events, too, that offer many of the same benefits but on a bigger scale. Just around the corner is our second Nature Photography Celebration in Asheville, NC, April 19-21. These Celebrations provide opportunities for shooting, interaction with vendors, learning, networking and more. Asheville is a great place to be in April.

Travel and Equipment Insurance

As I move about the country with my photo gear in airports, cars, and on location, I am thankful that I have insurance on my photography equipment underwritten by Chubb in association with NANPA. You can find information about this and all the other NANPA member benefits in the Members’ Area of the website.

And Taking Better Pictures, Too

All that being said, my membership has also helped me improve my nature photos, just as I originally anticipated when I joined.

During my time with NANPA, I have entered the Showcase Competition, and I have been fortunate to have a few photos published in Expressions. (It’s a great source of ideas and inspiration so order your copy now!) This gave me confidence that I could get great images because, the reality is, if you want to be taken seriously as a nature photographer, quality matters.

I have attended many memorable webinars, both live and recorded. These sessions are free for members and a great way to learn or refresh photography skills. Best of all, you can participate at your own convenience, from wherever you are. Our next webinar, sponsored by Tamron on February 13 is Getting the Most from Your Long Lens with Bob Coates. Sign up or watch a recording of a previous webinar in the Members’ Area.

Sandhill Cranes flying together © Bob Coates.
Sandhill Cranes © Bob Coates.

Portfolio reviews, offered at each Summit hosted in odd-numbered years, provide another opportunity for learning from industry professionals including but not limited to agents and editors. We are currently working on logistics for our next Summit in Tucson in 2021, so stayed tuned for that.

Blog articles are yet another source of education and inspiration, and I especially enjoyed the recent article by Bill Palmer on Chasing Spring Warblers. There will be plenty of warblers—and photographers—at this year’s Biggest Week in Birding Festival at Magee Marsh in Ohio at which, by the way, you can find the NANPA booth. Note that our blog is separate from our regular member and non-member news lists, so if you do not already get NANPA blog posts in your email, you can subscribe on the right hand side of any of them (including this one).

Perhaps you might be interested in submitting a blog post too. What a great chance to expose your photos (pun intended) and stories to fellow NANPA members. Just send a note to publications@nanpa.org. That’s what we mean when we talk about “sharing” within NANPA. Everyone is both a teacher and student here.

That’s true regardless of age. As I highlighted in last month’s blog post, young nature photographers are becoming members and getting opportunities through NANPA’s high school and college scholarship programs, both of which are made possible in part due to your support of the NANPA Foundation. By the way, the Foundation’s Online Auction has some great items up for bidding starting February 3rd.  All proceeds go towards funding Foundation programs.

What Will You Do?

Gordon Illg has been known to tell me that I ramble, so I need to wrap up. But there really is a lot going on at NANPA, and I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities. We are working hard to make NANPA a place for nature photographers to achieve all of their nature photography dreams. What will you do this year to help you reach yours?

Penguins, Seals, and Icebergs, Oh My!

The MV Ushuaia cruising off South Georgia Island.
The MV Ushuaia cruising off South Georgia Island.

Story and photos by Debbie McCulliss

I spent weeks preparing and packing for my “Epic South Georgia” voyage, a photographer’s dream bucket-list trip, run by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. One of my main priorities was having proper clothing and photography gear.  That and staying healthy before and on the trip, especially because there is no airstrip, rescue or other emergency service on the island, nor is there cell or Wi-Fi service.

By the time I left home the first week of October 2019, I had watched plenty of YouTube videos and seen enough Facebook and Instagram posts from South Georgia Island to make me vividly imagine returning home with memories and images of magical experiences. In reality, I had no idea what to anticipate. Nor could I assume I would get great images, having only two years of experience in nature photography. Little did I know I’d go as a hobbyist wildlife photographer and return as a budding conservation photographer and advocate.

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Awards Season

Joel Sartore, John Shaw and George Lepp (left to right) receive NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award at NANPA's 2019 Nature Photography Summit in Las Vegas.
Joel Sartore, John Shaw and George Lepp (left to right) receive NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award at NANPA’s 2019 Nature Photography Summit in Las Vegas.

It’s that time of the year: awards season.  Last night was the Grammys and before that the Golden Globes, Directors’ Guild and Screen Actors Guild.  The Oscar nominee list is out and, soon, the Emmy list will be, too. And just how is this related to nature photography?

What all these awards have in common is a focus on honoring outstanding achievement in their respective fields.  So, too, do NANPA awards.

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 27, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Western Burrowing Owlets, Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, California," © Melissa Usrey.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Western Burrowing Owlets, Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, California,” © Melissa Usrey.

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

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, January 27, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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How NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program Impacted Me: A Turning Point

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 6–11, 2020. 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 NANPA Foundation funds this and other educational programs. January 31, 2020 is the last day to apply, so don’t wait. Apply now! This article was originally published in January, 2019.

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A Day of Service

Volunteers cleaning a beach. Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash.
Volunteers cleaning a beach. Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash.

The next time you’re out in the wild, enjoying our parks and state and federal lands, spend a moment in gratitude for the often unseen and unglamorous work that makes your visit possible. And it might just be one of your friends or neighbors you have to thank for the smooth trails you walk or the trash-free landscape you photograph. The National Park Service, with an unfunded maintenance backlog of almost $12 billion, relies on a lot of volunteers to maintain trails and help make visitors’ experience pleasant. Many state and local parks are also chronically underfunded and reliant on volunteers.

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Chasing Spring Warblers

Magnolia Warbler

Story and photos by Bill Palmer

Most of us are pretty adroit at photographing eagles, hawks, pelicans, ducks and other large birds, but what about photographing small, hyperactive, secretive birds such as warblers? Adding to the challenge, when you do get a chance to see one, it may only be visible for a few seconds and is often in dark shadows. From basic bird biology, to techniques, to equipment, here are some field-tested hints to photographing these challenging species.

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 20, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: " Atlantic Puffin Working in the Rain, Scotland, UK " © Sunil Gopalan.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: ” Atlantic Puffin Working in the Rain, Scotland, UK ” © Sunil Gopalan.

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

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, January 20, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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