COVID Sunset Project

Sunset photo of a mostly dry river bed with a small stream of water flowing through it and reflecting the colors in the sky. There are trees in the distance and colorful clouds overhead. Early spring snow leads to, yes,  flowing water in the desert! © David Lovitt
Early spring snow leads to, yes, flowing water in the desert! © David Lovitt

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

During the coronavirus pandemic, when travel was discouraged and most places closed, many photographers turned to personal projects to feed their creative needs. Some photographed backyard birds. Others paid a lot more attention to their own neighborhoods. For Arizona photographer and NANPA member David Lovitt, a friend’s suggestion led to a ten-month project making photos from the same spot at sunset.

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The Grass Is Always Greener

What I Learned during COVID-19

Photo of a small bird, perched on a pine branch, facing the camera. A ferocious looking song sparrow perched on a tree in my front yard. NIKON D7100 at 500 mm, 1/60 second, f/6.3, ISO 100 © Sastry Karra
A ferocious looking song sparrow perched on a tree in my front yard. NIKON D7100 at 500 mm, 1/60 second, f/6.3, ISO 100 © Sastry Karra

By Sastry Karra

During 2020 and the COVID-19 quarantines, many of us took the time to think about what is important to us and what truly makes us happy. I am just one of the many people who did some self-reflection and now view my life with a new and different perspective. Like most of us, I realized that we don’t need to travel far to enjoy nature’s beauty. It took a pandemic to show me that beauty is also in my backyard or in a small county park close to me. Before COVID-19, I didn’t really see the beauty that surrounded me or, perhaps, took it for granted. COVID-19 showed me that many different bird species visit my backyard and that the species sometimes change with the seasons; that a wide variety of flowers bloom in my community; and that there are several local animal species that I have overlooked for the past 15 years that I’ve resided in New Jersey.

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International Travel in a Pandemic

A hummingbird flying, approaching a purple flower.
More than 50 species of hummingbird can be seen in Costa Rica.

Story and photos by Dan Clements

As the number of people who are vaccinated climbs and international travel begins to open up, we thought it might be instructive to talk about our recent trip to Costa Rica. What is international travel like? What documents do you need? What restrictions do you face? What is a “COVID passport” and do I need one?

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Happy New Year!!

A young moose pops up to watch some people along a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. As a resident of Estes Park, just outside of Rocky, this national park became my escape during Covid. It also became an easy place to escape to for the growing population along the Front Range during 2020
A young moose pops up to watch some people along a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. As a resident of Estes Park, just outside of Rocky, this national park became my escape during Covid. It also became an easy place to escape to for the growing population along the Front Range during 2020

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Wow, it felt great to say that. 2020 was a very long year but we made it through the challenges and hopefully came out with new knowledge and perspective.

Now let’s look forward to a new year with new opportunities.

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Happy Holidays!

Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.
Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and opted to be outside for Black Friday.

As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect back on the ups and downs of the year.

Because of the coronavirus, our lives came to a standstill early in the year and plans significantly changed and evolved. They still keep changing, and planning for 2021 remains difficult.

All of my workshops were canceled or postponed to 2021, as were many for our members. All of my in-person classes were canceled, but Zoom provided an alternative that opened up the ability to teach to a larger audience (and reconnect via happy hours with my sorority sisters back in New Jersey and other states).

We were ordered to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID, yet it became a business opportunity to sell masks with my photos.

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Who Is NANPA … besides You? A Look inside the 2020 Member Survey

Photographers working in the field at NANPA's Michigan UP Regional Event © Tom Haxby
Photographers working in the field at NANPA’s Michigan UP Regional Event © Tom Haxby

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Every so often, NANPA surveys its members to find out more about who you are and what’s important to you. The answers you give inform NANPA board discussions, policies, programs and many other aspects of the association. So, who are you? Who are the members of North America’s preeminent nature photography association?

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Coping with COVID: Group Photo Gatherings During a Pandemic

Milky Way over Mt. Rainier  Just before Sunrise from the August Outing © Dan Clements
Milky Way over Mt. Rainier Just before Sunrise from the August Outing © Dan Clements

Photos and story by Dan Clements

While the COVID-19 pandemic has upended most people’s lives, it has especially impacted travel and gatherings of groups. Camera clubs had to switch to zoom meetings. Meetup groups canceled events. Opportunities to go out and shoot with a bunch of fellow photographers were virtually nonexistent. This is the story of how one nature photography club learned to live with COVID: what has changed, what has worked, and how we have managed successful group gatherings over the summer. It appears that we will be dealing with the pandemic well into 2021, so this is also a road map of how we will proceed in the coming months.

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Staying Relevant

Photo of a male moose running. Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson
Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson

Story and Photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

As most of you—hopefully—did as well, I read the latest NANPA handbooks, Bird Photography and Contest Secrets, this past month.

In Contest Secrets, Karen Schuenemann makes a valid point in her article “Getting from No to Yes.” Ms. Schuenemann said, “If you sit back and don’t put in the effort, you already have a NO. If you don’t try something that you dream about doing, you already have a NO. If you don’t attempt to do anything at all, you already have a NO.”

This is a twist on something I frequently say to people: “If you don’t ask for a yes, you already have a no.”

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Crowds Force Closures and Restrictions in Parks and Natural Areas

A newspaper story reports the closure of a popular and photogenic waterfall.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

A day in the great outdoors has become increasingly attractive during the coronavirus pandemic. With many entertainment, sporting, and recreational activities constrained by safety precautions, people are flooding into national and local parks and recreation areas, as well as some previously little-known places. The crowds, congestion and litter have now forced a new set of restrictions. Some parks are limiting the number of visitors and some lesser-known locations are closing. If you’re headed out to a park or natural area, avoid disappointment by checking for the latest information before you head out the door.

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Now More than Ever, Know before You Go

Visitors won't be seeing this view of Mount Wilbur across Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana this year. © Frank Gallagher
Visitors won’t be seeing this view of Mount Wilbur across Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana this year. © Frank Gallagher

A time-tested piece of travel advice is to check the status of things at your destination before you depart. The last thing you want to encounter is a key location in your once-in-a-lifetime trip that is CLOSED. That’s happening now, as various national parks and points of interest are in varying stages of reopening during a pandemic. But a virus isn’t the only thing that can impact availability. Today you’ll find roads, campgrounds and entire sites that are closed or open only for limited hours almost anywhere you want to travel. It pays to know before you go.

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