Showcase 2021 Winner: Kyle Moon

Photo of a Black-Capped Chickadee Stuck in Burdock, Bozeman, Montana, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Conservation © Kyle Moon
“Black-Capped Chickadee Stuck in Burdock,” Bozeman, Montana, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Conservation © Kyle Moon

Artist’s statement

This photo is special to me thanks to the community involvement in removing burdock, a local invasive species, and the associated storytelling opportunities. I’m a nature photographer, but a conservationist first. As a committee member of the Sacajawea Audubon Society here in Bozeman, Montana, I wanted to shed light on our local conservation efforts. Our “Knock out Burdock” campaign has brought many volunteers from various backgrounds together to make change in our community. My vision in taking this photograph was to raise awareness on this issue in the hope that I would encourage others to get involved and start a larger discussion. 

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Conservation Begins in Your Backyard featuring Andrew Snyder

The Nature Photographer episode #7 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Gladiator tree frog on a tree limb near camera, image by Andrew Snyder
Gladiator Tree Frog © Andrew Snyder

For biologists like NANPA Conservation Committee Co-Chair Andrew Snyder, a beautiful image isn’t everything. Nature photographers can contribute to scientific understanding of wildlife and ecosystems, support publication-quality research, and effect change in environmental issues like biodiversity loss, but only if we share our images—even the imperfect ones—with scientists. Andrew introduces Dawn and Ron to a handful of tools to help us do that. He also tells about discovering a new species of tarantula in the uplands of Guiana Shield, photographing grizzly bears with Art Wolfe and a team of young photographers in Katmai, and what he’s doing at home to nurture a love for nature in his 1-year-old daughter.

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No Such Thing as Competition featuring Jaymi Heimbuch

The Nature Photographer episode #6 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Coyote (canis latrans) adult female, San Francisco, California © Jaymi Heimbuch

Conservation photographer Jaymi Heimbuch leads several initiatives that support the professional development of conservation photographers—and sometimes specifically female conservation photographers—across a wide range of age and experience levels. Dawn Wilson of NANPA and Mark Raycroft and Michael Mauro of Wild & Exposed talk with Jaymi about these projects and what drives her to devote so much of her time supporting others in her field. Hear how and why Jaymi is bolstering up her colleagues, plus why she’s optimistic about the time we’re living in right now.

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How Do We Do It Better? featuring Gabby Salazar

The Nature Photographer episode #3 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Common noddy feeding its chick, image by Gabby Salazar
Common noddy, Anous stolidus, feeding a chick on Ile aux Coco, a small nature reserve on an islet off the coast of Rodrigues Island. The noddys breed on this tiny islet.

Special guest Gabby Salazar joins NANPA President Dawn Wilson and Wild & Exposed co-hosts Mark Raycroft and Jason Loftus to talk about her current research studying what types of images influence people to support conservation. Is it the beautiful image of a dolphin in the wild, a dolphin caught in a net, or a dolphin affected by marine plastic? Gabby may not have answers yet, but she has lots of other great questions to share.

This amazing “33-years-young” photographer tells us about her travels in Mauritius, Indonesia, Guatemala, Madagascar, and India—including her work as a Fulbright Scholar—but confesses that her favorite nature photography experience is something much closer to home. 

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The Great American Outdoors Act Becomes Law

President Donald J. Trump signs H.R. 1957- The Great American Outdoors Act Tuesday, August 4, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour) Public Domain
President Donald J. Trump signs H.R. 1957- The Great American Outdoors Act Tuesday, August 4, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour) Public Domain

On August 4th, the president signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act. At a time when not many people agree on anything the act, with strong bipartisan support, passed the Senate 73 to 25 and the House 310 to 107.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Jennifer Leigh Warner

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Conservation: "Grizzly 399 Attempts to Cross the Road” © Jennifer Leigh Warner
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Conservation: “Grizzly 399 Attempts to Cross the Road” © Jennifer Leigh Warner

How I Got the Shot

I photographed Grizzly 399 crossing the highway with a horde of photographers watching in the background as part of a project involving ecotourism and the pressure that it puts on wildlife. I had envisioned this image for some time now and, while I was in Wyoming for the NANPA Nature Celebration, I got the opportunity I was looking for. Grizzly 399 is famous for spending much of her time close to the road. I knew she would make for the perfect subject for this project. I created the image by making sure I was on the opposite side of the road as the rest of the crowd and then when the moment she crossed I lined myself up in the middle of the road to focus on the crowd.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Wiebe Gortmaker

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: "Bighorn Huddle” © Wiebe Gortmaker
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Bighorn Huddle” © Wiebe Gortmaker

How I Got the Shot

In late January, on the way from Denver to Yellowstone National Park, some friends and I stopped in Jackson Hole for the night. Driving up the east side of the National Elk Refuge just out of town we came across a herd of 30 – 40 bighorn sheep. In late afternoon diffused light I found these four rams about to do some head-butting. Quickly setting up my new 600mm lens on my tripod I was able to grab a few frames before two of them separated and began jousting. The other two went back to grazing.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Emma Balunek

Photo of prairie dog in front of construction. Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Conservation: "New Neighbors in Town” © Emma Balunek.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Conservation: “New Neighbors in Town” © Emma Balunek.

How I Got the Shot

An urban prairie dog colony near downtown Fort Collins was scheduled for relocation. Construction of new apartments had begun. I knew an excavator would be coming to dig up part of the colony. I drove to the site every day to check on the excavator because I wanted to make a picture of a prairie dog with the excavator in the background to tell the story of development and urban prairie dogs. Finally, the excavator was in the perfect spot. I identified a burrow, set out my camera with a remote trigger, and waited until a prairie dog stood on that burrow.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Carla Rhodes

Endangered Adjutant Storks atop a landfill.
2020 Showcase, First Runner-up: Conservation. “Beautiful Scavengers, Boragaon landfill, Guwahati, India” © Carla Rhodes.

How I Got the Shot

During my first trip to India, I saw a striking 5-foot-tall bird standing by the roadside. I was told it was a Greater Adjutant stork. The next day, I was taken to the last place I expected to see a mass population of endangered birds: the sprawling Boragaon landfill. With no prior knowledge of my subjects and limited time, I had to think fast while shooting from a stationary vehicle. I’ll never forget the smell, which clung to my gear for days. The scene was heartbreaking yet beautiful. At that moment, I knew I had to pursue wildlife conservation photography.

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Dramatic Decline in Bird Numbers in North America

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's new study documents widespread decline in bird numbers.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s new study documents widespread decline in bird numbers.

“If you were alive in 1970, more than one in four birds have disappeared in your lifetime.”  So begins a Cornell Chronicle article about a new study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  That loss represents about three billion birds, across the US and Canada and across all biomes. Researchers examined decades of data on 529 species and found massive declines (53% loss) in the numbers of grasslands birds as well as big drops (37%) in shorebirds. As Ken Rosenberg, lead author of the study said, “It’s a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife. And that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment.”

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