From the Archives: Why Do Photographers Enter NANPA’s Showcase Competition?

Male Lion Attack on Giraffe, 2017 Showcase Judge’s Choice, Mammals © Michael Cohen

There are as many reasons to enter NANPA’s Showcase photo competition as there are photographers.  For some, winning Best in Show or Judge’s Choice serves as an endorsement of their skill, and can be added to their bio and marketing materials.  To others, recognition by the judges is a validation of their devotion to nature photography, a payoff for the years of effort they put into improving their skills.  And, for still others, selection of their photo is both a personal triumph as well as a challenge; applause for how far they’ve come and a challenge to continue getting better.

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Spectacular Florida

Glorious sunset in the Florida swamps.
Glorious sunset in the Florida swamps.

By Jerry Ginsberg

Even though we have been uncharacteristically and, in many cases, uncomfortably cloistered in our homes for several months now, there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. With the optimistic expectation that we will be unleashed to once again be out in nature creating beautiful images sooner rather than later, the following is a portrait of yet another great photo destination.

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Finding Opportunities in the Silver Linings

Photo of resting elk, bugling. Throughout September and October, the elk will be in their mating season. This larger bull is one that can be found in the "city" herd in downtown Estes Park. His return in late August was a welcome sign of fall.
Throughout September and October, the elk will be in their mating season. This larger bull is one that can be found in the “city” herd in downtown Estes Park. His return in late August was a welcome sign of fall.

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Fall is my favorite season.

Although many people across North America aren’t even thinking about this colorful season, and won’t for several months, here in Colorado it has already started. The tundra started turning red and gold a couple of weeks ago. The bull elk have started bugling outside of my door here in Estes Park. The weather forecast is showing some really cool temperatures for the first week of September, providing some nice opportunities for frost and fog in the meadows. And I have already started to see some pops of gold on the aspen trees.

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Weekly Wow! Week of August 31, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Horned Puffins Posing, Bird Island, Cook Inlet, Alaska” © Molly Isaacs
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Horned Puffins Posing, Bird Island, Cook Inlet, Alaska” © Molly Isaacs

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, August 24, 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!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Continuing Copyright Confusion

copyright symbol
“Copyright”, image by Pete Linforth, Pixabay license.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

This year has been a real roller coaster ride. From COVID-19 to a presidential election and from wildfires to hurricanes, we’ve been put through the wringer. It’s been a wild year for copyright decisions, too, with the pendulum swinging from decisions that horrified photographers to ones that reaffirmed the rights of visual artists.

First, in Sinclair v. Ziff Davis, a court ruled that an online publisher could take a photographer’s work from Instagram and republish the photos without paying or obtaining permission because of Instagram’s Terms of Use. Sean Fitzgerald describe the impact of that decision here.

Then, Instagram changed its Terms of Use to expressly state that it does not give API users a license to embed third-party content. That prompted a judge to deny a motion to dismiss a copyright complaint brought by photographer Elliot McGucken against Newsweek. The publication had claimed the right to reproduce McGucken’s photo because he had posted it on Instagram. See more here and here.

Newsweek is now appealing. In light of the McGucken v. Newsweek ruling and Instagram’s clarification of its ToU, the court that heard the Sinclair v. Ziff Davis case has now reinstated Sinclair’s suit.

Recently, in Mango v. Buzzfeed, an appeals court ruled that photographer Gregory Mango was due statutory damages for copyright infringement and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by Buzzfeed. The online publisher had used a photo by Mango that had originally appeared, with attribution, in the New York Post. Buzzfeed used the same photo, without permission and without crediting the photographer. Read more here.

Finally, a photographer and model filed a copyright infringement suit against the automobile company Volvo. The photographer and model had done a photo shoot with a Volvo S60. The photographer had posted some of the shots to his Instagram account and used the tag #volvo. Volvo asked for permission to use the photos without compensation, which the photographer refused. Months later, the photographer and model were surprised to see their photos in Volvo advertising and sued. The car company is asking the court to dismiss the case by claiming that not only do they have a right to use the photos as a sublicensee of Instagram, in spite of Instagram saying that’s not true (see McGucken v. Newsweek above), but also that, because the photographer set his account to “public” and tagged Volvo, he automatically granted Volvo the right to reuse his photos. Additionally, Volvo claims Behance’s Terms of Use allow the company to also use photos posted there without compensation. Read more about this case here.

NANPA continues to monitor cases involving photographers’ rights, has been part of amicus briefs in critical court cases, and plays an active role in the Copyright Coalition, as well as the Coalition of Visual Artists. NANPA joined with other arts groups in a successful campaign to convince Instagram to change its Terms of Use, and is pushing Instagram to give photographers an option to say whether we allow third party embeds without additional permission.

NANPA also advocates for the CASE Act and modernizing copyright law. See more about all that NANPA does to protect and enhance photographers’ intellectual property rights or tell us your copyright story here.

Top Six Tips for Standout Bird Photographs

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) feeding on crabapple fruit in late winter, Ithaca, New York, USA. Canon EOS 7D, EF 500mm f/4 IS USM lens, 1.4X extender, Gitzo tripod. 1/1250 second, f/5.6, ISO 800.
Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) feeding on crabapple fruit in late winter, Ithaca, New York, USA. Canon EOS 7D, EF 500mm f/4 IS USM lens, 1.4X extender, Gitzo tripod, 1/1250 second, f/5.6, ISO 800. © Marie Read

By Marie Read

Whether beautiful or bizarre, colorful or cryptic, exuberant or elusive, birds captivate us with their spirited ways and fascinating lifestyles. It’s no wonder they top the list of favorite subjects for many nature photographers. That’s been true since the dawn of nature photography, even more so since the digital age brought getting great photos within reach of anyone with a camera. The result is a world saturated with gorgeous bird imagery. So, how do you create images that stand out from the crowd? Once you’ve mastered the classic portrait, take your photos to the next level: make more meaningful images by showing the bird in its habitat or by capturing its behavior. Here are a few tips to help you.

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Crafting Compelling Captions for Photo Contests, Part I

A young pine marten leaps from one tree to another in my direction. I was shooting out of an open window. Silver Gate, Montana © Patricia McCollom Bauchman
A young pine marten leaps from one tree to another in my direction. I was shooting out of an open window. Silver Gate, Montana © Patricia McCollom Bauchman

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Captions play a critical role in photo contests. You might think that your photograph stands on its own but judges don’t have your knowledge of the circumstances at the moment you pressed the shutter button. The information you provide in your caption can help preemptively answer a judge’s questions or concerns, explain a unique situation you captured, illuminate subtle nuances in your composition, and assuage any trepidations over potential ethical problems. Captions can make or break your photo’s chances in Showcase or any other photo contest.

We’re in the middle of the 2021 NANPA Showcase nature photo competition and hundreds of photographers are combing through their archive to choose which stellar images they want to submit. The quality of submissions has always been outstanding, making the judges’ job difficult. Yet every year we get comments from judges about images with inadequate captions. Don’t let a weak caption give judges a reason to discount your photo!

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Weekly Wow! Week of August 24, 2020

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

Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Patterns in a Dried Mud Flat, Death Valley National Park, California” © Ian Frazier
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Patterns in a Dried Mud Flat, Death Valley National Park, California” © Ian Frazier

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 24, 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!

The 2021 NANPA Showcase competition is open! Enter your best photos between now and September 21st and maybe you’ll be featured in next year’s Weekly Wows or, better yet, win a prize! Get all the details on the 2021 NANPA Showcase page.

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Top Seven Tips for Choosing Winning Images for Photo Contests

2021 NANPA Showcase
Time to get your entries ready for NANPA’s 2021 Showcase competition.

In a photo contest, everybody wants their entry to win. So, what can you do to maximize your chances of having one (or more) of your photos chosen for recognition in NANPA’s 2021 Showcase photo competition or, for that matter, any other photo competition?

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Photographing Hummingbirds: A Pandemic Escape

Hummingbirds getting ready to migrate. (The right front is an adult male Rufous; the other three appear to be Broad bills.) © Debbie McCulliss
Hummingbirds getting ready to migrate. (The right front is an adult male Rufous; the other three appear to be Broad bills.) f/6.3, 250mm, ISO 640, 1/8000 sec. © Debbie McCulliss

By Debbie McCulliss

On the snowy first couple of weeks of this past spring, to lessen pandemic anxiety, I was thinking of migration—movement from one region to another. It was timely. Epic animal migrations take place every spring. Some of the feats that these animals accomplish, crossing oceans, traveling without stopping, are unthinkable. Their destinations are clear and instinctual.

But this spring was different. People all over the globe were migrating, many without a clear destination, back to their home continent, country, or state, not knowing if, when, or how their lives would be permanently or temporarily altered.

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