In the old days, not only did we have to walk through two feet of snow on our way to school (which was really tough for me because I lived in Tucson), but we didn’t have access to all the species and landscapes that photographers do today. If one has the money, there is now almost no place on Earth that cannot be reached and photographed with only a couple of days travel. Nature photography has indeed changed over the last 30 years, and I’m not just talking about technological advances in photo gear. I’m also referring to our subjects, our relationships with them, and our access to them. Most, if not all, of these changes have resulted from an exploding human population and the fact that we are increasingly mobile. Have these changes been good or bad? The answer is yes. The immediate conclusion most of us jump to is that a hordes of people are bad for the natural world, and this conclusion is not wrong. But, and this is a big but, lots of people can make nature photography better.
Volunteers are the life blood of membership organizations. At NANPA and the NANPA Foundation, volunteers serve on committees, help plan conferences, present webinars, judge competitions and evaluate grant applications. Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors and play other key roles in keeping NANPA vibrant, relevant and growing.
This is the first of an occasional series of volunteer profiles, saluting those whose hard work, ideas, passion and commitment benefit NANPA and its members.
NANPA recently had the opportunity to ask Jennifer Leigh Warner a few questions about her volunteer experiences.
If a nature photographer clicks her shutter in the wilderness, and no one else is around to hear it, can it still make an impact? It sure can! The work of professional and aspiring nature photographers can save ecosystems, species and beautiful landmarks. NANPA understands the important work you’re doing.
And better than the sound of one hand clapping, NANPA and the NANPA Foundation have many ways to recognize and support the work, career or budding potential of nature photographers. All during the year, there are opportunities to apply or nominate someone for an award, a grant or other recognition.
Several are running now or about to start. Let’s take a look. One could be tailor made for you!
Story and Photography by Jim Shane (unless otherwise noted)
As a nature photographer, I spend a large percentage of my time photographing birds, and raptors are at the top of my list of favorite targets. Fortunately, The Peregrine Fund is headquartered close to my home so I attended a live flight show. In a blatant attempt to establish some form of communication, I offered images to the bird handlers, which blossomed into a role as volunteer photographer and adviser. Now I get opportunities and requests for help gathering images for use in educational programs. The American Kestrel photo below is one example.
Methods for tracking down Lepidopterans to explore through photography
Story and photographs by Dave Huth
I photograph creatures and their environments as a way of exploring and understanding the beauty and complexity of the living world. I began photographing moths and caterpillars after explaining to my then-7-year-old daughter how her grandfather first got me interested in nature. My Dad is an amateur Lepidopterist who introduced me to these weird and secretive creatures when I was about her age.
Message from Don Carter, NANPA President
As this winter starts to fade I’m thinking about spring photography and, for me, it’s getting out of the deserts of Arizona and into the mountains of Wyoming. I’m remembering last May’s Regional Event in Yellowstone where I was able to photograph seven different bears in a single day. This year I’m going to return with a stop in Jackson for NANPA’s Nature Photography Celebration, May 20 – 22.
Story and Photographs by Haley R. Pope | TerraLens Photography, LLC
It is the largest wetland, the second largest river delta, and the best preserved in Europe, I was told. It’s an intricate pastel mosaic of winding river channels, floating reed islets, never-ending blue skies, migrant nesting birds, diminutive spotted frogs, and schools of fish, I was told. A pristine haven for wildlife lovers, birdwatchers, and fishermen and a sight to behold as the river flows through ten countries and finally joins the Black Sea. They were talking about the Danube Delta, a UNESCO world heritage site that covers parts of Romania and Ukraine.
Editor’s Note: As I’ve mentioned before, NANPA is fortunate to have a large archive of blog posts going back several years. Occasionally, we will post one from the past that is important and relevant today. This blog by Chad Anderson was first posted in December 2014, and offers important information that has renewed urgency today. DCL
Story and photographs by Chad Anderson
Vast stretches of azure blue waters thinly vail a dark secret. It’s been happening ever since the melting of the Wisconsin glacier some 12,000 years ago, but now occurs at a hastened pace and with a new cause. Meanwhile, Margaritaville plays, tourists stroll, and wading birds perch on mangrove shores as the slow pace of everyday life in the Florida Keys continues. Scientists, government entities, and even the public are coming to a grim reality. Change is here. It’s not abstract, distant, or easily pushed aside but prevalent, pervasive, and imminent—and the evidence is everywhere. The vast stretches of post card blue waters are a result of recently submerged lands. Even the upland forests here can hardly conceal their ancient marine past. Just millimeters below the leaf litter lies weathered coral reef. One of the oldest permanent tidal monitoring stations in the United States is located in Key West, Florida. Without hyperbole, it states the bare truth. Nearly nine inches of sea level rise has occurred since 1913. That may not sound like much, but for perspective, the average elevation is less than four feet. This effect is amplified by the fact that the slope of the shoreline is near flat, imperceptible to the human eye in most cases. For this reason, a couple of inches of rise can translate to hundreds of feet of land lost. In just a few decades the changes to the ecosystems have been staggering, rapidly shifting as the mangroves march inwards. Ancient buttonwoods stand like tombstones of a once proud forest. At times, mangroves, the most halophytic of all flora, can’t keep up the pace. Continue reading
Photographs by Andrew Snyder
Interview by David C. Lester
Andrew Synder is finishing up his Ph.D. in biology at the University of Mississippi. His dissertation is entitled “Biodiversity and Evolution in the Guyana Shield.” He is a scientist and a professional photographer, but more about his work later.
Andrew got involved with NANPA in 2013 as one of the college scholarship winners. “I consider that weekend of the NANPA conference, and spending the week with other members of my team working on a project as one of the defining moments of my photography career,” Andrew says. Their project was to document Amelia Island off the coast of Jacksonville. A number of pro photographers were with the students to give guidance and to make sure things went well. “The presentation of our group was done at the 2013 summit, and this experience set the tone for how I wanted to guide my photography work,” he adds.
Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In November, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.