Summer in the high country of Colorado means gorgeous alpine views, snowmelt and with that, carpets of wildflowers. Wildflower season usually peaks near the end of July in the Colorado high country. Join us on a photographic adventure into the heart of alpine country! We will be based in the San Juan Mountains. Set among the peaks of the San Juans and old mining camps, the flower displays combined with blue alpine lakes are a photographer’s dream. We will spend four days adventuring in Jeeps to the wildflowers that are only accessible by 4×4. Waterfalls, fields of paintbrush flowers, and crystal clear alpine lakes left behind by the glaciers are just a few examples of what we will be photographing. Both of these areas are near and dear to our photographic hearts, and we have spent extensive time exploring, scouting, and photographing these places ourselves. If you’re looking for a summer photography adventure, join us in the high country of colorful Colorado!
Lily-flowered tulips beginning to “show their age”
Story & photos by F. M. Kearney
Timing is everything. As nature photographers, we’re constantly trying to schedule our shoots during times when our subjects will be seen at their best. For landscapes, this is generally during the “Magic Hours” of the day – the hour just before sunrise or after sunset. Flowers can benefit from the warm light at this time of day as well, but more important than that is catching them at the peak period in their blooming cycle. It’s an absolute obsession for some photographers. A field of tulips in pristine condition is truly breathtaking. The photo below is one such example.
The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, June 10, 2019. To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. Nature Photography Day is coming up on June 15 so let’s get shooting! And, the period for entering your best shots in this year’s Showcase starts in August. What are you waiting for? Your best shot might be your next one.
Arabella Dane is an accredited photography judge, a member of two camera clubs in New England, 2 Photography Society of America study groups ,as well as a serving as an emeritus Garden Club of America photography judge and instructor. She is the founder of the GCA Photography Study Group, and is the coordinator for the photography initiatives of the National Garden Clubs, working with Charlie Burke, PSA past president, to develop online photography programs and competitions for the NGC membership (250,000 members).
She regularly competes in photography competitions and takes courses in photography. She shares with her husband Nat a love for nature, gardening, conservation, fishing, bird shooting, traveling, and photography. Arabella is an avid horticulture student – working most recently on the correlations between our native plants and their pollinators. Her online www.plantipedia.com web site includes more than 150,000 plants and 25,000 plant photographs as well as photos of many of our native butterflies and is a favorite resource for plant huggers.
Looking up through a tulip bed. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY. (Digitized from film.)
Story & photos by F. M. Kearney
If you’ve had your gear packed away since the final vestiges of colorful foliage faded from the landscape last fall, now is the time to dust off the cobwebs. Spring is finally here – bringing an abundance of subject matter. Fresh flowers are popping up everywhere and demanding attention. But, you don’t want to fall into a habit of taking the same types of pictures year after year. A change in perspective is a good way to view an old subject in a new light.
The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, March 25, 2019. To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.
Snow-covered branches frame urban landscape of Central Park, New York, NY.
Story and photos by F. M. Kearney
Making a subject stand out is the primary goal of all photographers. There are a number of ways to accomplish this and your subject matter will usually dictate the best method. Common techniques may include special lighting, subject placement, extreme angles or contrasting colors. If you delve into the world of digital imaging, your choices will be virtually unlimited. But, if you prefer to keep your images looking as natural as possible, you may want to stick with the in-camera methods.
One of my favorite ways to highlight a subject is to place it within a natural frame. This might consist of leaves, flowers, bushes … just about anything nearby that you can find to encircle your subject. In the opening photo above, I used the snow-covered branches to frame the distant buildings in this Central Park winter scene. Besides serving as decorative foreground elements, they were a great way to cover up the dead space of a white, featureless sky.
Sunrise behind “The Wheel” on Steel Pier, Atlantic City Beach, Atlantic City, NJ
Story and photos by F. M. Kearney
Webster defines serendipity as “the faculty of making providential discoveries by accident.” In photography, it’s more like capturing that once in a lifetime shot that could not be recreated again in a million years. The internet is full of these types of images, usually classified as “Photos Taken at the Perfect Moment,” or “Things You Have to See to Believe.” Of course, almost anything you see on the internet should be viewed with a certain degree of skepticism, and even more so when it comes to photos and videos. The old saying, “The Camera Never Lies,” has never been less true than in the digital age in which we live. However, assuming that even if a fraction of these photos are, in fact, real, they truly are serendipitous moments caught on camera.
I recently spent several days in Atlantic City, NJ shooting ocean views. Most of my visits in the past have been day trips lasting only a few hours – just enough time to grab a quick lunch, lose all my money and head back home. On this occasion, I had the luxury of time on my side – time to see the real beauty of this town, beyond the bells and buzzers, and the glitzy flashing lights within its casinos’ walls.
One morning, I took a walk along the beach to The Steel Pier – a 1,000-foot-long amusement park built on a pier of the boardwalk. Its latest attraction is a 227-foot tall Ferris wheel, known as The Wheel, which began operating in 2017. I arrived just as the sun was rising behind it. My main objective was to get the surf in the perfect position – far enough into frame to be a dominant foreground element, but not so far in that it covered up the sun’s reflection on the wet sand. I also wanted to get the rising sun directly between the spokes of The Wheel. The sun’s position changes quite rapidly when it’s this low on the horizon. I took several shots and the photo above was the only one where the sun and the surf lined up in the perfect positions. This was the result of careful timing (and a little bit of luck). However, the serendipitous aspects were the inclusion of the seagull and the woman – things I had absolutely no control over. I saw when the seagull walked into the reflection during the shoot, but I didn’t even notice the woman in the background until I was reviewing the images back home on my computer. She had walked into one of the openings of the pier directly beneath The Wheel at precisely the right moment.
Another serendipitous moment was the inclusion of the honeybees in the daylily image below. I was all set to shoot the flowers when I suddenly found myself surrounded by a small group of bees. Like little helicopters on a mission, they methodically visited each flower in the area – hovered for a few seconds, then landed to pollinate. Since I already had my camera locked down on a tripod and focused on one particular bloom, I decided to wait and see if they would pay it a visit. Eventually, two bees flew into the shot and hovered close enough for my flash to cast a catch-light in their eyes. When they landed, they went down too deep into the flower to be seen, so I was lucky to get this photo of their approach.
Honeybees “photo-bombing” daylily image.
Serendipitous moments in photography are unplanned and often referred to as “lucky shots.” But you can increase your luck if you’re prepared, have a little patience and are aware of specific patterns of behavior – as in the case of the honeybees. Sometimes, however, you just get a pleasant surprise. Careful planning made the image of The Wheel a good shot. Serendipity made it one-of-a-kind.