2021 Year in Review: Perfect Moments, Missed Photographs, and New Opportunities

The Nature Photographer episode #22 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft recount their favorite moments in the field in 2021, including the times they had their equipment and everything was perfect as well as a few almost moments. From a perfect elk rut morning to a BBC project, winter in Yellowstone to a brilliantly colored cross fox, a bucket list image of caribou swimming in well lit blue water to unexpected weasels and a wolf with a haunting, somber howl 90 minutes after sunset, these special moments prove not only that it’s not always about taking the photo but also that it’s possible to feel jealous and happy for another photographer at the same time. Plus: highlights of NANPA’s 2021 and a preview of what’s to come from NANPA and Wild and Exposed in 2022.

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Seize Every Moment, Every Day featuring Lee Hoy

The Nature Photographer episode #21 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Sun Rays, Clouds and Storms, Study Butte and Terlingua, Big Bend National Park © Lee Hoy

At the age of 48, Lee Hoy asked, “How old do you have to be before you finally say, ‘I’m ready to be what I wanted to be when I was growing up’?” Life had already taught him once that he was capable of starting all over again if he lost everything, so he moved to the Davis Mountains of north Texas, just outside of Big Bend National Park, and built a new career on decades of photographing and birdwatching. In this episode Lee tells Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Mark Raycroft about his adventures traveling 61 of the last 67 days, how to use Olympus’ live composite mode to photograph lightning, and why playing with your gear in your backyard or local park is the best way to prepare for a trip.

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Plains, Cranes and Watersheds featuring Michael Forsberg

The Nature Photographer episode #20 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Platte Basin Timelapse Project is a long-term documentary project that helps build community around a shared watershed. © Michael Forsberg

Nebraska-based conservation photographer Michael Forsberg started with a simple question, Where does your water come from? More than 10 years and 3 million images later, the Platte Basin Time Lapse project continues to produce stories and inspire undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Nebraska and beyond. Hear how Mike and his partners are building community around a watershed. Plus, hear about Mike’s journey to document the migration path of sandhill cranes, a new project on whooping cranes, and other fun things he loves to photograph in the Great Plains.

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Are You Physically Prepared for Field Work?

The Nature Photographer episode #17 on Wild & Exposed podcast

There are lots of ways to prepare your body for field work, even a simple daily walk on uneven terrain can help. © Jason Loftus

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft talk about daily hikes, canoeing, cycling, or even hiring a personal trainer for targeted HIIT training to prepare for the unique demands of a specific trip. How do you prepare for rugged terrain, high elevations, heavy camera gear, or simply staying hydrated? Hear how these photographers build endurance and strength and reduce the risk for injury for those grueling days when the pedometer hits 20,000 steps. “The more fit that you can be and the more prepared that you can be, the better your opportunities are.”

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What About Used Gear?

The Nature Photographer episode #16 on Wild & Exposed podcast

In this episode, the team tackles a listener-submitted question. Bob wants to buy a 600mm lens, but the price is steep…should he consider a used one? Find out what criteria our co-hosts use to answer that question for themselves, what kind of research they do on used gear and sellers they don’t know, and why the answer for a glass purchase might be different than a camera body. Plus, how having a solid network helped Ron get a $12,000 lens for $3,000, how “refurbished” differs from used, and other options you might not have considered.

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Eye Tracking or Single-Point AutoFocus?

The Nature Photographer episode #15 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft tackle another listener question in this short episode. With newer mirrorless cameras, do you still use single-point autofocus and anticipate the location of the animal’s eye? Hear which mirrorless cameras have the best eye tracking functions and in which situations it works best. Plus, find out why Mark is a late adopter of new technology and what even the mirrorless users in this group are doing in high risk/high reward situations in the field. You’ll also hear about a Canon April Fools’ Day joke that actually came to fruition.

Sometimes the camera chooses a bit differently than I would…it’s still just a tool for the photographer.

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Giving Pause featuring Clay Bolt

The Nature Photographer episode #14 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Fuzzy-horned bumble bee (Bombus mixtus), Idaho © Clay Bolt

Conservation photographer Clay Bolt tells Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Mark Raycroft how he learned about the rusty-patched bumble bee and why he got involved in efforts to get it added to the Endangered Species list. Find out how this bee stopped the Atlantic Coast pipeline, what you can do in your own community to support native pollinators, and which SNL Weekend Update joke hit close to home for Clay. Plus, hear what happened when Clay and Eli Wyman went to Indonesia in search of Wallace’s giant bee—a species that hadn’t been seen in more than 35 years—and why your mobile phone may be the best conservation tool around. 

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The Things We Do for Love featuring “The Grebe Whisperer” Krisztina Scheeff

The Nature Photographer episode #12 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Krisztina Scheeff is known as “The Grebe Whisperer” around her home base of Lake Hodges in San Diego County, California, where she’s been studying and photographing Western and Clark’s grebes’ elaborate courtship rituals that include “rushing” or walking on water. Krisztina offers Dawn, Mark, and Michael insight into bird behavior, how workshops have changed since COVID 19, and how she chooses destinations for her photography tours—like her regular trips to rural Scotland and Ireland for dramatic landscapes, puffins, and, admittedly, the local pubs. She’s also got some packing advice, including why she travels with a tarp to lay on when working around birds. 

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How Do We Do It Better? featuring Gabby Salazar

The Nature Photographer episode #3 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Common noddy feeding its chick, image by Gabby Salazar
Common noddy, Anous stolidus, feeding a chick on Ile aux Coco, a small nature reserve on an islet off the coast of Rodrigues Island. The noddys breed on this tiny islet.

Special guest Gabby Salazar joins NANPA President Dawn Wilson and Wild & Exposed co-hosts Mark Raycroft and Jason Loftus to talk about her current research studying what types of images influence people to support conservation. Is it the beautiful image of a dolphin in the wild, a dolphin caught in a net, or a dolphin affected by marine plastic? Gabby may not have answers yet, but she has lots of other great questions to share.

This amazing “33-years-young” photographer tells us about her travels in Mauritius, Indonesia, Guatemala, Madagascar, and India—including her work as a Fulbright Scholar—but confesses that her favorite nature photography experience is something much closer to home. 

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