Photographing Elk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Where, When and Why

Bull elk bugling during rut
Bull elk bugling during rut

Story & photos by Tom Croce

As a nature photographer, one of my favorite things is showing someone a picture of a beautiful elk bull, and then asking them where it was taken. They usually guess the Rocky Mountains or somewhere out west. It’s fun to see their expression when I tell them no, it was taken in North Carolina!

Perhaps one of the most important things we do as nature photographers is educate and help bring awareness to the plight of animals in the wild. Equally important is highlighting the programs where thoughtful, patient intervention has helped ensure that these wild places remain wild for future generations. One such program is the United States National Park Service’s reintroduction of the majestic elk to the Great Smoky Mountains. That’s the why. But where are the best places to photograph elk and when are the best times?

Continue reading

Finding Community in NANPA

Sunset over water. Photo by Mark Kreider.
Photo by Mark Kreider.

Story and photos by Mark Kreider

I have been a NANPA member for a year and a half. Even in that short time, NANPA and its supportive community have influenced me in many meaningful ways. Life seems to be full of wonderful flukes, and my introduction to NANPA was one such instance. One morning in November of 2012, when I was a high school senior, I received word from a fellow photographer of a great photographic opportunity that existed for high school students. Though just three days away from the deadline of NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program application, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I quite honestly remember thinking it looked too good to be true – a chance to spend a week in the field and at the NANPA Annual Summit, all the while learning and being inspired. I wondered to myself a little incredulously, How could I not have heard of NANPA before? It looks awesome!

Continue reading

Wanted: Future Nature Photographers

Students at work during Photo from 2019 High School Scholarship Program at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. © Tom Haxby.
Photo from 2019 High School Scholarship Program at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. © Tom Haxby.

By NANPA President Tom Haxby

Do you know a high school student who will be between the age of 14-19 and a rising sophomore, junior or senior during the dates of July 6-11, 2020, who might be interested in exploring nature through nature photography while having fun too? Perhaps this might be one of your children, grandchildren or even a non-relative.

Please consider encouraging eligible students to apply to the NANPA High School Photography Scholarship Program in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). Applications are available at http://nanpafoundation.org/high-school-scholarships/ and must be submitted online by January 31, 2020.

If you know an educator who might interact with interested students, please inform them of this program. You can download a flyer to share.

Continue reading

From the President: Come to Asheville in the Springtime

Foothills Sunrise view.
Foothills Sunrise

Story & photos by Tom Haxby

Winter will soon be upon us and while many photographers revel in the unique opportunities for winter photography, I always look forward to spring in the southern Appalachian Mountains with my camera in hand. My annual visits there quite literally put a spring in my step. Birds sing for mates from the newly green trees, waterfalls flow from spring rains, flowers bloom in profusion and it seems that the whole world is new again.

Continue reading

Weekly Wow! Week of November 18, 2019

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: " I Wanted to Show the Way an Osprey Carries a Fish, Fort Myers Beach, Florida" © Sankha Hota.
Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: ” I Wanted to Show the Way an Osprey Carries a Fish, Fort Myers Beach, Florida” © Sankha Hota.

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 18, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. 

Continue reading

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Bump: Autumn in the Smokies paints these venerable mountains with a riot of brilliant colors.
Bump: Autumn in the Smokies paints these venerable mountains with a riot of brilliant colors.

Story & photos by Jerry Ginsberg

The Basics

It doesn’t have the granite domes of Yosemite or the geysers of Yellowstone, but Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts over 11 million visitors each year making it the most popular in the nation. That’s more than Yosemite, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks combined.

Continue reading

From the President: NANPA Upper Peninsula Regional Event

Colorful fall foliage in the UP.
Colorful fall foliage in the UP.

Story & photos by NANPA President Tom Haxby

On the first evening of the NANPA Regional Event from October 3-6 in the Munising area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, 22 NANPA members met as strangers with a common interest in photography. By the end of the event we were no longer strangers. 

Continue reading

Weekly Wow! Week of August 12, 2019

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

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "Cottonweed," High Ridge Scrub Natural Area, Lake Worth, Florida. © Kevin Barry.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Cottonweed,” High Ridge Scrub Natural Area, Lake Worth, Florida. © Kevin Barry.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 12, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.  The period for entering your best shots in this year’s Showcase began August 1st and runs  through September 16th.  What are you waiting for?  Let’s get shooting!  Your best shot might be your next one.

Continue reading

From the President: Tom Haxby

Bears, Salamanders and Snakes – Oh My!

NANPA High School Scholarship Program participants at Spruce Flats Falls. Photo by Tom Haxby.
NANPA High School Scholarship Program participants at Spruce Flats Falls. Photo by Tom Haxby.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”  I thought about that proverb a lot during the NANPA High School Scholarship Program in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where I was one of the instructors. A month ago, ten high school students from around the country spent a week learning about photography, conservation, ethics, biodiversity and a whole lot more through this annual program, made possible by your donations to the NANPA Foundation.

Continue reading

Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – Hector Astorga

Showcase 2019: First Runner-up, Mammals: Silverback Mountain Gorilla at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda © Hector Astorga.

Showcase 2019: First Runner-up, Mammals: Silverback Mountain Gorilla at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda © Hector Astorga.

Bio:

Hector D. Astorga is a professional nature photographer based in South Texas. His love of nature and the outdoors began as a child in his native country, Honduras. He is the ranch manager at the Santa Clara Ranch, a photography ranch that hosts nature photographers from all over the globe.. He leads and conducts photography tours & workshops at multiple locations in North America, Central America, Europe and Africa.

Continue reading