From the NANPA President: Click, Snapshot, Selfie. Pic.

cbolt_portrait_jan2014by Clay Bolt


We have a lot of funny names for what we produce. But did it ever occur to you that the word photography actually translates to “writing with light?” It is a process that is so familiar, and yet, when its meaning and all that meaning entails is dwelled upon, it feels a whole lot like magic. These silly little names that we call our images hardly express what they really are.

As photographers, we have the ability to capture—for all time—the essence of a breaking beam of light through spring foliage, twinkling starlight over a rugged mountain peak, the red-hot rim of fur on a backlit bison, and evening’s fading illumination of a loved one’s face. Forever. A single passing moment, out of countless such moments, saved from the great maw of time. Continue reading



cbolt_portrait_jan2014Autumn always arrives on my doorstep like an old friend, her bags packed with rest and perhaps a little remorse for all of the moments that I had hoped to photograph over the past season, but never did.

Unlike landscape photographers, who eagerly await the seasonal changes from summer’s greens into fall’s brilliant blaze, insect photographers like me know that before long it will soon be time to close up shop for another season. The fading embers of goldenrods soon lead to the drawn-out trills of fall field crickets. Their quiet calls, like prayers of gratitude before a well-earned sleep, fill me with a sense of nostalgia for months of abundance that have flown past. Continue reading

From the NANPA President

cbolt_portrait_jan2014I’ll let you in a little secret: I’m kind of an introvert. A life spent chasing bugs and toads doesn’t exactly translate to an explosive social life. So for the first few years of my career in nature photography, I avoided big photographic functions, preferring to put my head down and focus on the work that had a conservation impact in my home state of South Carolina.

It wasn’t until 2011 that I decided to take the plunge and attend my first NANPA Summit. I was a little over a year into Meet Your Neighbours, an international photo project that I co-founded in 2009, and I needed to recruit more photographers to join the effort. That year, the Summit was being held in McAllen, Texas, and as I rode the bus to the hotel—sweaty and disheveled from a day of flying—I wondered what I had gotten myself into. How could I know that moments later, a series of events would transpire that would alter the course of my life? Continue reading

Revealing and Reveling in the Beauty of Native North American Bees and Wasps – Story and Photographs © Clay Bolt

Metallic Green Bee (Augochloropsis metallica) visits a Black-eye

A Metallic Green Bee (Augochloropsis metallica) visits a Black-eyed Susan.

Since Niall Benvie and I first developed Meet Your Neighbours in 2009 I’ve seen my fair share of amazing, beautiful and sometimes bizarre creatures. From the beginning, I’ve worked almost exclusively in the land that surrounds my home near the Southern Appalachians in upstate South Carolina, USA. Rather naïvely, I suspected that after a short period of time I would begin to run out of subjects to photograph but nothing could be further from the truth. Seldom does a day go by that I don’t see a creature or plant that I’ve never seen before in the wild, anywhere! As Piotr Naskrecki points out in his fantastic book The Smaller Majority, “Over 99% of life on Earth is smaller than your finger.” It’s little wonder then that the careful observer will be awarded with a lifetime of discovery.

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