Chincoteague and Assateague Island with Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

Chincoteague NWR is located on the southern Virginia end of the barrier island of Assateague. In the fall, the refuge attracts large numbers of snow geese along with ducks, swans, herons, ospreys, shorebirds and other migrants. It is also the home to wild horses, deer, raccoon, fox squirrels, and other animals. Used to being protected, the wildlife is unusually tolerant of humans and presents visitors with great photo opportunities. The ocean, dunes, shells, workboats, harbor, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets offer workshop participants a variety of subjects with which to work. The workshop includes tips on locating and approaching wildlife, capturing in-flight shots of birds, equipment selection, composition, lighting, and exposure. We will explore both the refuge, seashore, and the community.

This Chincoteague Photo Workshop is designed for those with a basic knowledge of the operation of a 35 mm SLR digital camera with an interest in nature. Workshop emphasis is on improving photographic skills and optimize the use of your camera. Class includes an orientation PowerPoint program followed by photography sessions on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Assateague Island, and in the town of Chincoteague. Included is a critique/review of images from the weekend. Topics covered: 1) equipment selection and operation, 2) composition, creativity and perspective, 3) metering and exposure, 4) lighting, 5) basic image manipulation and 6) locating, approaching and photographing wildlife.

Based on my findings from scouting the area prior to the workshop, the following will be discussed at the orientation meeting on Friday evening: departure time, current field conditions, potential subjects, equipment needed, safety, field ethics, and other logistical details. Prior to dawn on Saturday, we will depart for the wildlife refuge to photograph sunrise and take advantage of the soft, warm early morning light. Because wildlife is protected on the refuge, animals are abundant and unusually tolerant of humans to the pleasure of most photographers. Situated on the Atlantic Flyway, Chincoteague is a resting and refueling spot for migrating birds. Potential photo subjects include sand dunes, shells, ocean wave, fishing boats, fisherman, the lighthouse, local architecture, and wildlife including sika elk and whitetail deer, fox, otters, raccoons, ponies, herons, rails, swans, geese, ducks, shorebirds and other resident and migratory species.

The orientation and discussion sessions for the Chincoteague Photo Workshop December 2018 will be held at the Best Western Motel in Chincoteague on Maddox Blvd.

NANPA Regional Event Preview – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Story and Photographs by Donald Brown

 

Chincoteague Ponies at Tom’s Cove © Donald Brown

 

NANPA Members Colin Hocking and Don Brown will be leading a NANPA Regional Event at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia from November 16-19, 2017.  All the details about the event, including cost, registration, and other information can be found on the NANPA website at www.nanpa.org/events/regionals/chincoteague-national-wildlife-refuge–va/   Here, Don offers a preview of the beauty of Chincoteague, and shares some great images from his previous visits there. Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: Within striking distance

Story and photography by Jim Clark

For nature photographers, how exhilarating it is to capture that defining moment as a great blue heron strikes the water? Even better is photographing a full sequence of a great egret stalking its prey and then plunging its bill and neck into the water to seize the prize.

Wading birds come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, and each species use specific hunting strategies to gather a bite to eat; ornithologists have even described 35 types of feeding behaviors wading birds use (see a list in a sidebar to this article).

Understanding how each species of wading bird feeds helps the nature photographer to photograph those amazing moments. Combine this knowledge with time in the field, and the photographer will become more and more successful at recording that special “striking” moment.

A great blue heron is about to swallow its prey after tossing and catching it midair. This image was photographed on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia. ©  Jim Clark

Here are some feeding strategies of a few wading birds I photograph at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia: Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: Walking with my telephoto zoom on a backlit type of day

Story and photography by Jim Clark

Like most nature photography instructors, I arrive several days prior to a workshop to scout the area. I check on the condition of the sites where I will be taking my students and search for new ones as well. I take the time to see how the light illuminates a scene at different times of day and determine the best perspective and time for my students to photograph there. These days also afford me time to photograph on my own and to reconnect with and savor nature.

On scouting trips before my workshops along Virginia’s eastern shore, I make time to walk the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge’s wildlife loop drive. The drive is closed to vehicles until after 3 p.m., making it a great opportunity to get my daily steps in while exploring the refuge without worrying about traffic.

The loop is a perfect 3.1 miles in length and winds through major habitat types of the refuge. With a few spur trails leading off from the main loop, there is always a new and different route to explore. Whether I hike the loop in the morning or afternoon, I’m going to find something to photograph — or better yet, experience.

Winged Sumac Leaves Backlit 11162016 Chincoteague NWR VA (c) Jim Clark_6

Backlit winged sumac leaves, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia. © Jim Clark

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NANPA Weekly Wow: Dec 12-18

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Crystal Cathedral – ice caves, Grand Island Ice Caves on Lake Superior © Todd Reed

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2016 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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NANPA Weekly Wow: Aug 29- Sept 4

© Curtis Gibbens

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2016 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

Continue reading

NATURE’S VIEW: Caught Between Lunch and a Flock of Snow Geese

Story and photographs by Jim Clark

Expect the unexpected. All nature photographers, regardless of skill level, have had moments when the unexpected happens. Nature provides no script beforehand or studio that we can set up the way we want. What happens is not announced ahead of time. We know from experience that unforeseen and special moments will occur, so we improvise and use what we have to make the best of the situation.

Through our knowledge of the natural world and our willingness to endure whatever challenge is placed before us, nature photographers make it work. We know that going directly from point A to point B rarely happens in nature, and we are blessed for it.

I had planned to photograph a northern harrier frequenting the marshes of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore in Virginia this past winter. For days, I watched this raptor as it swooped and glided over the salt marsh. Yet, I was never able to get set up in time to photograph it.

One picture-perfect morning I hiked along the bay side of the seashore determined that some feathered creature would not defeat me! My only challenge was that I had to be at a friend’s house for lunch at noon, and he would not appreciate my being late. The day held the promise of fun exploring this side of the coastal barrier island. Then, something unexpected happened. Continue reading