I photographed Grizzly 399 crossing the highway with a horde of photographers watching in the background as part of a project involving ecotourism and the pressure that it puts on wildlife. I had envisioned this image for some time now and, while I was in Wyoming for the NANPA Nature Celebration, I got the opportunity I was looking for. Grizzly 399 is famous for spending much of her time close to the road. I knew she would make for the perfect subject for this project. I created the image by making sure I was on the opposite side of the road as the rest of the crowd and then when the moment she crossed I lined myself up in the middle of the road to focus on the crowd.
In late January, on the way from Denver to Yellowstone National Park, some friends and I stopped in Jackson Hole for the night. Driving up the east side of the National Elk Refuge just out of town we came across a herd of 30 – 40 bighorn sheep. In late afternoon diffused light I found these four rams about to do some head-butting. Quickly setting up my new 600mm lens on my tripod I was able to grab a few frames before two of them separated and began jousting. The other two went back to grazing.
Most of my weeks are filled with board tasks, committee meetings, and writing and studying reports; but lately, I’ve been reminded of the essence of NANPA—nature photography.
I talked to a relatively new NANPA member recently who had looked at his first issue of Expressions, the annual journal of our Showcase winners. He commented on the amazing images that won the competition and how inspired he was viewing them. I’m probably not alone as a charter NANPA member who has seen and been involved with the world-class photography of our members for many years; and even though I still appreciate seeing an outstanding photo, I had forgotten about that sense of wonder of looking at hundreds of extraordinary images in one sitting. My conversation with that member made me see those images with fresh eyes. Expressions 2018https://www.nanpa.org/learning/publications/expressions/ was delivered to the Showcase winners this week, and the office received quite a few emails and comments about how much people enjoyed it and that they are proud to be a part of it.
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.
Why should you go to the Nature Photography Celebration?
As the April 9 early registration deadline nears for the Nature Photography Celebration in Jackson, Wyoming, I thought I’d write about questions we’ve been answering lately in the NANPA office.
First of all, it’s a NANPA event; and anyone who has ever attended a summit or regional event knows that they’re fun, educational, inspiring, and you get to hang out with a bunch of friendly nature photographers. Summits are primarily inside at a convention center or hotel, and regional events are outdoor field trips or workshops. Celebration combines the two—indoor presentations plus our schedule allows for free time each morning to photograph and spend time with other photographers and vendors in the field. Or have coffee or drinks together after hours in some of the cool watering holes in downtown Jackson.