A compilation of resources to help you create and submit the best photo contest entries
By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator
If you’re a seasoned NANPA member, you know that August brings warm weather and the beginning of Showcase, NANPA’s annual photography competition. And if you’re new to NANPA or haven’t entered Showcase before, now’s your chance to enter your best shots and compete for $6,000 in prizes, a variety of promotional opportunities to build your brand, and recognition from not just your peers, but also from some of the top names in the business. So, head for your photo catalog and start selecting your best images. One could be a winner, but you’ll never know unless you enter!
How well do you know NANPA’s Summits? Whether you’ve gone to only a few or have attended all of them, there are facts and just plain trivia you might have forgotten or never realized. For part three of my blog on Summit history, I’ve put together a fun 20-question quiz with the help of my husband, John. When you click on an answer, if it turns green, you’re right! If it turns red, well, try again.
NANPA has a rich and interesting history spanning more than a quarter century. Members who joined more recently might not know some of the unique individuals and memorable events that came before them, so we asked Shirley Nuhn, who serves on NANPA’s History Committee, to share some of her memories. Those who have been members longer may enjoy these trips down memory lane, too.
For Part Two of my blog on NANPA Summit reflections, (see Part One here) I’m turning the spotlight on long-time attendees. Joe and Mary Ann McDonald are the recipients of NANPA’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s what Mary Ann recently told me:
Each year NANPA recruits a panel of outstanding judges to evaluate Showcase entries. If you’ve entered before, or read a copy of Expressions, you’ve seen the exceptional caliber of the judges. So, it should come as no surprise that this year we have another stellar group. Some are familiar names to NANPA members, others may not be. Regardless, they constitute a highly-qualified collection of experts in nature photography, as you’ll see from their bios.
What books have impacted your photography? Did Ansel Adams change how you photographed nature? Did Galen Rowell make you see differently? Did George Lepp or John Shaw make the complex easy to understand? If you were giving a fellow photographer a book this holiday season, what would it be?
The New York Times Book Review recently printed an article on the best photography books of 2019. It didn’t feature any nature photography, but it still got me thinking about what books really impacted my photography and the way I experience both nature and the art of nature photography. What book changed how you photograph and experience nature?
Maybe it’s not even a photography book. Did the writing of John Muir, Bill Bryson or Henry David Thoreau change the way you experience nature? Did an exhibit of Monet’s or Van Gogh’s paintings affect how you see the world? Maybe it’s a video or a Ted Talk.
Dewitt Jones really helped me become fully present and “in the moment” when I’m out in the natural world. My senses become keener. I see, hear and feel more acutely than in day-to-day life. In turn, that impacts what I notice, what I decide to photograph and how I shoot it, as well as the mood I wish to convey. You might have seen his columns in Outdoor Photographer magazine. Those were my first exposure to him and I enjoyed his writing. Then I saw him as a keynote speaker at a conference I was attending and gained a whole new appreciation for his approach to photography. Check out his Ted Talk.
So what’s your ideal gift, to give a photographer or receive as a photographer? (Of course, a NANPA membership always makes a fabulous gift!) Tell us about it. Send us a short review explaining what the book/video/whatever is about and what resonated with you. Email your recommendation to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll publish recommendations in a future blog.
Paddling in Baja California Sur. Photo by Cathy Illg.
Based on their reputations alone I knew the keynote speakers at last month’s Summit in Las Vegas were going to be good, but their presentations surpassed my wildest expectations—brought tears to my eyes a couple of times. Of course, that might not be much of an endorsement. My wife, Cathy, says I’m a big crybaby at the best of times, while I maintain I’m just sensitive.
President Gordon Illg cuts into NANPA’s 25th birthday cake at the close of the Summit. Photo by Frank Gallagher.
NANPA’s 21st Summit and Trade Show ended today, and as I sit in my hotel room, I’m tired, but still feel the high of another great event. Long days of pre-summit board meetings, short nights with little sleep, early morning coffee to prop my eyes open, seeing old friends, making new ones, and dealing with inevitable glitches that pop up, no matter how much we plan for the unexpected. After two long years of preparation, it’s hard to believe that the whirlwind is gone. Kaput. Just like that. A few short days ago, we were checking people in at the registration desk, hugging friends we hadn’t seen in a few years, and picking up where we left off on conversations from our last meetings. We were watching presentations by some of the world’s greatest photographers—Joel Sartore, James Balog, Sue Flood, Florian Schulz, John Shaw, and George Lepp. OMG! Where else but NANPA can you see all those people in the same room? I hadn’t seen John Shaw since the mid-90s and he saw me first in a hall and reached out to me. I have to admit to being a little starstruck that he would even know who I am, much less be so gracious and friendly to me, like an old friend!
Pre-Summit activities included an evening trip out to Nelson Ghost Town for a light painting workshop, sponsored by B&H and led by Chris Nicholson and Gabriel Biderman. After an enjoyable couple of hours lighting up old cars and abandoned buildings, the snow started and accompanied our intrepid photographers back to the conference hotel.
Yesterday, Summit attendees participated in Super Sessions presented by Todd Gustafson and Kathy Adams Smith, sat down with great photographers, editors and publishers for portfolio reviews, checked out the exhibit hall for new gear, greeted old friends and made new ones. Meanwhile, first-time Summit attendees got to know each other in a meet and greet.
Yesterday’s activities were capped by the opening general session. Three iconic photographers, George Lepp, John Shaw and Joel Sartore, received NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Sartore then delivered a fabulous keynote about his career and his Photo Ark project.
During the rest of the information- and education-packed weekend, we’ll be hearing from more world-renown photographers, learning new skills, checking out new gear, making new friends, applauding top photographers from NANPA’s Showcase competitions, seeing the work of NANPA’s Summit College Photography Scholarship Program, and having a grand time.
There’s a buzz in the air and that special feeling of camaraderie you get when you’re among friends. Coupled with the excitement of learning from the best and growing your own photography knowledge, there’s an electric atmosphere in the Summit rooms that can match anything glitzy Las Vegas can offer.
To nature photographers and his long-time fans, Lepp needs no introduction. As the awards committee noted, he is “one of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers. His passions for natural beauty, technical precision, cutting-edge technology, and environmental responsibility are revealed in his beautiful and compelling photographic images. He is also widely recognized for his unique dedication to sharing his photographic and biological knowledge with other photographers through his seminars and writing. In both realms, George Lepp is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of digital imaging.” Continue reading →
It all started back in October 1993, when ornithologist, artist and nature photographer, Roger Tory Peterson invited a group of nature photographers to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York. This was the first time that an organized group of nature photographers had assembled in one place, and more than 100 photographers showed up for panel discussions, networking, and presentations. This meeting was so well received that everyone wanted to do it again—and thanks to a ton of work and great organization—by April 1994, NANPA had a founding board, president, bylaws and mission, with plans underway for their first annual conference, which took place in Florida in January 1995. NANPA’s first awards were also bestowed at the 1995 conference when Roger Tory Peterson received NANPA’s first Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award, and Outdoor Photographer Magazine was honored with our first Community Recognition Award.