Eye Tracking or Single-Point AutoFocus?

The Nature Photographer episode #15 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft tackle another listener question in this short episode. With newer mirrorless cameras, do you still use single-point autofocus and anticipate the location of the animal’s eye? Hear which mirrorless cameras have the best eye tracking functions and in which situations it works best. Plus, find out why Mark is a late adopter of new technology and what even the mirrorless users in this group are doing in high risk/high reward situations in the field. You’ll also hear about a Canon April Fools’ Day joke that actually came to fruition.

Sometimes the camera chooses a bit differently than I would…it’s still just a tool for the photographer.

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Giving Pause featuring Clay Bolt

The Nature Photographer episode #14 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Fuzzy-horned bumble bee (Bombus mixtus), Idaho © Clay Bolt

Conservation photographer Clay Bolt tells Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Mark Raycroft how he learned about the rusty-patched bumble bee and why he got involved in efforts to get it added to the Endangered Species list. Find out how this bee stopped the Atlantic Coast pipeline, what you can do in your own community to support native pollinators, and which SNL Weekend Update joke hit close to home for Clay. Plus, hear what happened when Clay and Eli Wyman went to Indonesia in search of Wallace’s giant bee—a species that hadn’t been seen in more than 35 years—and why your mobile phone may be the best conservation tool around. 

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The Things We Do for Love featuring “The Grebe Whisperer” Krisztina Scheeff

The Nature Photographer episode #12 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Krisztina Scheeff is known as “The Grebe Whisperer” around her home base of Lake Hodges in San Diego County, California, where she’s been studying and photographing Western and Clark’s grebes’ elaborate courtship rituals that include “rushing” or walking on water. Krisztina offers Dawn, Mark, and Michael insight into bird behavior, how workshops have changed since COVID 19, and how she chooses destinations for her photography tours—like her regular trips to rural Scotland and Ireland for dramatic landscapes, puffins, and, admittedly, the local pubs. She’s also got some packing advice, including why she travels with a tarp to lay on when working around birds. 

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Wildlife and Wild Lives featuring Joe and Mary Ann McDonald

The Nature Photographer episode #11 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Bengal Tiger © Joe and Mary Ann McDonald

2021 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award winners Joe and Mary Ann McDonald have been studying, photographing, and writing about wildlife together for nearly 35 years. They’ve photographed the Seven Big Cats of the World four different years, and both have won in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. In this episode, Joe and Mary Ann talk candidly with NANPA’s Dawn Wilson and Wild & Exposed‘s Mark Raycroft and Ron Hayes about their 107 treks—”so far,” Mary Ann is quick to add—to photograph mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Plus, hear what they’ve been photographing at home in Hoot Hollow during the pandemic and why they like Olympus gear.

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Showcase 2021 Winner: Dawn Wilson

The processed legs of a bison (Bison bison) sit in a cart after being slaughtered outside of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming for wandering outside of the park boundaries. 2021 Showcase, First Runner-Up, Conservation © Dawn Wilson
The processed legs of a bison (Bison bison) sit in a cart after being slaughtered outside of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming for wandering outside of the park boundaries. 2021 Showcase, First Runner-Up, Conservation © Dawn Wilson

Artist’s statement

Back in the early days of the pandemic, I had just received notification that my home state of Colorado was considering putting stay-at-home orders in place. I was visiting Yellowstone National Park when I heard the news, so I scrambled to pack up and head home. As I left the hotel, I found a trailer of bison parts—heads on the bottom, legs missing hooves in the center, and these plastic-wrapped legs tied to the sides. It was so disturbing, yet I couldn’t help but ponder what I was seeing. In the winter, when bison leave the safety of the park and venture into the surrounding ranches, they can be slaughtered because they may transmit brucellosis to domesticated cows. It seems such a horrid thing to do to animals just looking for food away from the deep snows of Yellowstone. Seeing the fresh carcasses made my gut wrench in pain and sadness.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo of a male cardinal perched on a branch. A northern cardinal, referred to by my Louisiana family as a red bird, poses for a Valentine’s Day portrait. I used my time in Louisiana over the holidays to practice my backyard bird photography from a blind. I don’t have land in Colorado, so it was a nice change to sit in a blind, and a great way to improve my bird photo skills.
A northern cardinal, referred to by my Louisiana family as a red bird, poses for a Valentine’s Day portrait. I used my time in Louisiana over the holidays to practice my backyard bird photography from a blind. I don’t have land in Colorado, so it was a nice change to sit in a blind, and a great way to improve my bird photo skills.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I hope everyone is surviving and thriving into the New Year. There are certainly signs of hope on the horizon for many aspects of our world. The vaccines are being distributed and the pace of that is picking up. Our new administration has set forth goals to advance environmental justice and listen to science. And the team at NANPA has many, many great things coming in the next few months.

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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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Weekly Wow! Week of November 16, 2020

Waterfall photo. Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Mysterious Spring Dreams, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania” © Vandana Bajikar
Showcase 2020 Top 100 Winner: “Mysterious Spring Dreams, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania” © Vandana Bajikar

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, November 16, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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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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Being Thankful

Estes Park experienced its first scare when the Cameron Peak Fire, seen creating an eerie red glow in the sky above the historic Stanley Hotel, marched just a couple of miles from the town's northern border.
Estes Park experienced its first scare when the Cameron Peak Fire, seen creating an eerie red glow in the sky above the historic Stanley Hotel, marched just a couple of miles from the town’s northern border.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

As I write this, I am evacuated in the desert of Utah from my home in Estes Park, Colorado. Several wildfires are burning near this gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park—the Cameron Peak Fire to the north, which became Colorado’s largest wildfire in history at more than 200,000 acres, and the East Troublesome Fire to the west near Grand Lake, Colorado. Both fires are burning within Rocky Mountain National Park, including much of the Kawuneechee Valley on the west side, a portion in the northern wilderness, and more than 4,300 acres on the east side in the popular Bear Lake corridor and Moraine Park regions.

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