The world has changed a lot in the twenty-five years since NANPA was formed. Back in 1994, the first commercially-successful web browser, Netscape Navigator, was released. “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was renamed Yahoo. Google was four years away and Facebook wouldn’t launch until 2004. If you had internet access, it was probably dial-up at 56kbps through Compuserv or AOL. Photoshop 3.0 had just come out and introduced layers. Microsoft Windows was new but your Pentium computer probably ran MS-DOS and had 4 MB RAM. Mobile phones didn’t have cameras and certainly weren’t smart.
As I’ve been flipping through past issues of NANPA’s first newsletters, Currents, I’m impressed with how forward-thinking our boards and management teams were as they formulated our organizational documents, Mission Statement, bylaws, and basic structure. Much of those basics are still relevant and just as important today—ethics, education, conservation, inspiration as they relate to nature photography—as they were 25 years ago.
The birding community lost a treasure on March 25 with the passing of Bill Thompson III. Bill was Co-Publisher and Editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine for years where many NANPA members licensed their photos. Not only was Bill instrumental in helping photographers and writers, he also worked tirelessly devoting his life to creating awareness of and conservation of birding worldwide. I was privileged to know Bill as a friend for nearly 30 years. He was a NANPA member in the early days and attended summits to find photographers and writers for the magazine. At the 1995 NANPA Forum in Ft Myers, Florida; Bill, Richard Day, and I were hanging out together and planned to eat together at the closing banquet. The Forum organizers were not prepared for the number of people that showed up for that historic meeting, and there weren’t enough tables or food that night. We waited a long time while the hotel set up more tables; and we finally ended up crammed in front of the room at an angle partially behind the stage –which didn’t really matter, because by that time everyone in our new group of friends had made the most of the situation and were having a great old time. While we waited for our food, which ran into the evening festivities on the stage after everyone else had finished eating, Bill entertained us by balancing a spoon on his nose and asking how many others could do it. I know I have a photo somewhere (probably on a 35mm slide buried in a box) of our entire table playing “Spoon Bill” with Bill Thompson. That’s the kind of guy he was, and those are the kinds of stories and memories that are born at NANPA meetings.
As we celebrate NANPA’s 25th Birthday #happybirthdayNANPA this year, our hope is that everyone associated with NANPA has fond memories and stories. We started off with a big birthday cake at the Las Vegas Summit; and this month, in keeping with the “25th” theme, we selected the 25th new member to join NANPA in 2019—Alyssa Kline. Alyssa’s gift for NANPA’s birthday is a print copy of 2019 Expressions, which features photos of this year’s Showcase winners. Welcome to the NANPA family, Alyssa!
It’s hard to believe, but NANPA’s 26th election of our board of directors is taking place now. You have until April 20 to vote to fill vacancies of Sean Fitzgerald and Ted Moreno, whose terms end on June 30. Five candidates are on the ballot: Ted Moreno (who is eligible for a second term), John Reed, Alice Robertson, Trent Sizemore, and Dawn Wilson. Login https://www.nanpa.org/members/members.php to the members’ area of the website, read their bios and nominations questionnaires, and cast your vote.
We’re proud to announce the completion of NANPA’s Conservation Handbook this month. This is first in a series that will be ongoing, and we are grateful to the Conservation Committee for developing, producing, and introducing this series. Check it out here. https://www.nanpa.org/members/members.php
On June 15, NANPA will observe its 14th Nature Photography Day. We’ll be holding a photo contest with some nice prizes, but Nature Photography Day is not just about contests. It’s about getting as many people outside as possible to enjoy nature through photography. We’ll be sending media releases and doing a big social media push to let everyone know. In past years, National Parks, nature centers, camera clubs, and civic groups have organized events around Nature Photography Day. Many of these festivals and celebrations use local speakers and instructors to teach attendees how to photograph nature. You can help spread the word in your area too (and maybe pick up a teaching gig!) so watch your emails for more information in the coming weeks.
As we enter a new season, I hope you’ll have many opportunities to explore and experience the rebirth of life after a long winter. As nature photographers, seeing and documenting the natural world is part of who we are. Cherish those special moments and the people you meet along the way.