No rain, no flowers. I guess it was too much to hope for to have two years of wonderful flower photography in the desert southwest. Even with the dry conditions, the desert is a photographer’s paradise, the “sky islands” offer such a unique environment. In southwest Arizona, the desert floor sits at 2400 feet, but you can hike (or drive) to over 9000 feet. The valley floor is surrounded by small clusters of mountains, or islands, which provide the adventurous photographers a cornucopia of opportunities. In the valley, you can see quail, roadrunners, javelina, deer, pronghorn, snakes, of course, and also the beautiful saguaro cactus. The peaks provide cover for bear, ringtail, coati, and some of the best birding in the world.
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.
One of the great things that I get to do as president of NANPA is work with our High School and College Scholarship Program students. During the Summit event, college students work with a client on a multimedia project; they also meet NANPA members and participate in Summit activities. Over the past several years they have produced projects for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Florida Land Trust.
During the summer NANPA brings the high school students to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont. This past year all of the NANPA instructors for the high school group were themselves past college participants.
These students are the future of NANPA; they will be our Board of Directors, committee chairs and volunteers. One of these past scholarship winners serves on the current Board. The NANPA Foundation raises the funds for these two programs and the majority of the donations come from our members. We all have lots of activities to attend with families and friends over the holidays but I hope each of you can donate $5.00 to the Foundation. These donations will help NANPA introduce these young photographers to all of the things we hold in high regard–nature photography, education, and being an ethical photographer in the field.
Susan Day, our executive director, wrote about the coming Nature Celebration in Jackson, WY, May 20 – 22, 2018 in her last newsletter column. I want to remind everyone about the presence of Canon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma, and Tamron at the Celebration and that they will be lending the participants gear to be used out in the field. It’s not often we will have access to so many cameras and lenses to use especially in such a beautiful location. Our presentations will be held at the Jackson Center for the Arts, a 500-seat theater located just off the center of downtown Jackson. We have a great line-up of speakers who will be making “Ted Talk” style presentations. I’m really excited about hearing the presentation by Dennis Jorgensen titled “Buffalo-People: The Path Back for Bison and Plains Tribes,” and Jenny Nichols’ presentation, “The Power of Multi-Disciplinary Projects” among others. Check the schedule to see a listing of all the other wonderful presentations at this event.
If you’re looking for a warm place to photograph this winter, NANPA has one event that still has space available in January—at Lake Hodges in southern California. Registration deadline is December 28th.
During the upcoming year NANPA will be offering several new locations for regional events and workshops. The committee is exploring possible locations along the Oregon coast, Moab, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Madera Canyon in Arizona. We’ll update you as soon as more information is available.
Wishing you and yours a Festive and Peaceful Holiday Season.
Don Carter, NANPA President
Photographs by Melissa Groo
Interview by David C. Lester
Although little introduction is needed, Don Carter is the president of NANPA, and Melissa Groo, in addition to being a world-renowned wildlife photographer, is chair of NANPA’s Ethics Committee. Over the past several years, significant ethical considerations around nature photography have arisen, along with the need to honestly and accurately caption the details of images.
After several years of work, NANPA has developed a new “Truth in Captioning” statement that addresses these and other issues. I recently sat down with Don and Melissa to talk about ethical considerations in wildlife photography, as well as the work done on this document.
As we all know, wildlife photography can provide us with some great stories and, perhaps, some moments of embarrassment. Here is one of those moments that happened to my good friend Walt and me.
Sweetwater Wetlands Park is a small 60-acre park on the west side of Tucson. It is known for its multitude of bird species including the Belted Kingfisher, Gila Woodpecker, hawks, falcons and, of course, Coots galore. Sweetwater’s wonderful birding opportunities aside, we had come to find it’s somewhat elusive bobcat (Lynx Rufus). On a crystal clear Wednesday morning, Walt and Carol Anderson (Mr. and Mrs. Better Beamer Flash Extender) and I started our search. While several friends had seen the bobcat, I had not had the opportunity to photograph the beautiful animal and I wanted this disappointing streak to end. Continue reading
I was reading a thread on a well-known photography website about a landowner shutting down photography on his lands. Why? The story presents two sides but no one really knows why the property is off limits except the owner but are we sometimes guilty of bad or less than courteous behavior? I have seen photographers ignore railway no trespassing signs at Bosque to photograph early morning cranes on a wonderfully located pond, and the pond was drained as the result of these trespasses. Many have seen the chaos that occurs at the Oxbow Bend Overlook during the fall with photographers failing to act in a courteous manner. I could go on and on about these types of stories, and we have all experienced such actions by others and maybe we have been less than courteous ourselves. Continue reading
You made it happen! The 2017 NANPA High School Scholarship Program concludes today in the Smoky Mountains thanks to your gift to the NANPA Foundation supporting the program. Ten high school students had an intensive week learning about nature, nature photography and the natural history of the Smoky Mountains at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Tremont, Tennessee. The students’ best work from the week will be shown at a reception today. Instructors Kika Tuff, Morgan Heim, Andrew Snyder and Don Carter led discussions and presentations on topics for the student participants on topics including:
- Wildlife and ethics
- Lightroom and editing courses
- Shutterspeed and camera settings
- Rules of composition
- Ethics of manipulation
- Camera trapping
- Insect trapping
- Editing a portfolio
As I start my term as NANPA president, I would like to thank Clay Bolt for his leadership and guidance over this past year. NANPA has become a better organization with Clay at the helm, and I hope to continue the work that he and all past presidents have accomplished.
I had the pleasure of being one of the leaders during the Yellowstone Regional Event this past May. A wonderful group of members attended, and Yellowstone provided many opportunities for us to make great photographs, especially those of both grizzlies and black bears.
Since that event, one thought keeps circulating in my mind about bear “jams” that occur whenever bears are seen (or, for that matter, when any wildlife is spotted). Our NANPA group got caught up in one of those jams. Continue reading