A drone, flying over prohibited territory in Southern California, crashed in the middle of a nesting colony of elegant terns, frightening the seabirds and causing them to abandon 1,500 or more eggs, as reported by AP and New York Times. Although this species is not endangered and, in the long term, will probably not be threatened by a loss of this magnitude, it is a troubling reminder of the harm careless or uncaring individuals can do to nature. And of the responsibility we have to be ethical nature photographers.
By Jennifer Leigh Warner, NANPA Ethics Committee Chair
It’s exciting when you decide to make the leap from viewing your image on the back of your camera to publishing that image for the whole world to see. So many thoughts are buzzing around your head, like “What will others think of my image?” and “Will this image impact the way people see the world?” With so much going through your mind, it’s important to not forget the ethical obligation you have to properly caption those photos for viewers.
Great grey owls are elusive, majestic birds that are on many photographers’ bucket lists. Even with a great subject, however, it takes more than an average photo to grab viewers’ attention and evoke a response. Ann Kramer’s image of a great grey owl in Yellowstone sparked nearly a thousand reactions, 85 comments, and 48 shares from members of the NANPA Facebook Group. So, what is it about this photo that connected with so many people, so strongly? What drove social media engagement? Not long ago, Kramer shared some of her thoughts with us.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s certainly worth a good caption. Photos entered in NANPA’s Showcase competition were taken all over the world, of all kinds of subjects, from all sorts of perspectives and show many points of view. A thoughtful caption can help contest judges understand what you were doing and reassure them that you were acting ethically, safely and responsibly. It can be the difference between a winning image and an also ran.
In a photo contest, everybody wants their entry to win. So, what can you do to maximize your chances of having one (or more) of your photos chosen for recognition in NANPA’s 2021 Showcase photo competition or, for that matter, any other photo competition?
Once, in a tongue-tied moment, I used the phrase “photography with a porpoise”, but what I really meant to say was “photography with a purpose”. In the tradition of Ansel Adams, Phillip Hyde, George Masa (yes, you may have to look him up) and a long list of photographers who have utilized their photography to advocate for conservation of wildlife and landscapes, NANPA photographers continue to use photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation, and environmental protection – yes, part of our mission statement.
It was 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday in May—the
wind was biting cold and the sky a deep royal blue. All bundled up, I hoist my
heavy camera case into the truck and my husband and I head straight west out of
the small town of Meeker, Colorado. The sun wouldn’t rise until 5:50 a.m., so
we had plenty of time to get into position. But first, we had to find them.
George Lepp reflecting on his career in a keynote at the 2019 Nature Photography Summit.
Last month’s Nature Photography Summit is over. Images from the trip have been processed. Gear and clothes have been cleaned and suitcases put away. Fortunately, there’s always something exciting we can look forward to. So, what’s next on NANPA’s hit parade?
At the Summit, NANPA announced that the next Nature Photography Celebration will be in Asheville, NC, April 19 – 22, 2020. The previous Celebration, in Jackson, WY, in 2018, featured location shoots, workshops, informative presentations, gear demonstrations and much more. Circle the dates on your calendar. More information will be coming.
NANPA celebrates Nature Photography Day on June 15th with a variety of events, from a photo contest to local workshops. This annual event encourages people to explore with a camera the natural world around them, whether that’s their own backyard, a local stream or a national park. Nature Photography Day promotes the enjoyment of nature photography and shows a wider public all over the world how images can be used to advance the conservation and protection of plants, wildlife and landscapes close to home and far away. Stay tuned for more information.
This year’s Showcase Competition kicks off August 1st. Exclusively for NANPA members, Showcase is your opportunity to win prizes, get your photos featured on NANPA’s website, blog and printed in Expressions, NANPA’s annual publication. You can see the top 250 images from last year’s competition, browse back issues of Expressions, or order your copy of this year’s Expressions. Get inspired and get out there shooting!
Throughout the year, NANPA offers several Regional Events, two- to four-day field tours led by outstanding photographers with intimate knowledge of the area and photographic opportunities. Attendance is limited. The June astrophotography in Arches National Park workshop is already sold out but you can still register for October’s workshop in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
NANPA also hosts a webinar series, open to members. The next webinar, VisionQuest Photography presented by Shane McDermott, will be on March 29th. Registration is free. You can also visit the webinar archives and view past recordings that cover a wide array of subjects. Have a nature photography topic you’re passionate about? Maybe you should contact us to present a future webinar!
NANPA’s Ethics Committee recently released guide to Ethical Field Practices. You can download a pdf of the guidelines or request cards pre-printed with the guidelines. In addition to helping us ensure we follow the best ethical practices, these documents make great handouts for camera clubs, Meetup groups and at other opportunities to spread the word about ethical nature photography. NANPA also has statements on Access to Public Lands and Truth in Captioning.
NANPA’s Conservation Committee has been busy, too. They recently launched the NANPA Citizen Science initiative, a database of science and conservation projects that welcome and can use the help of a nature photographer. Check it out. You, too, could be a citizen scientist! Know of a local citizen science project? Let us know so we can add it to the database. Coming soon is a Conservation Handbook.
NANPA sponsors a number of Meetup groups which bring people in the same area together to photograph nature. Check for one in your area and follow NANPA on the social media platforms of your choice.
As you can see, there’s always a lot going on at NANPA, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of NANPA’s member benefits. Are you taking advantage of all NANPA has to offer? One way to be sure is to check the New Member Resource Center, for an up-to-date listing of all the benefits and opportunities that come with your NANPA membership.
Volunteers are the life blood of membership organizations. At NANPA and the NANPA Foundation, volunteers serve on committees, help plan conferences, present webinars, judge competitions and evaluate grant applications. Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors and play other key roles in keeping NANPA vibrant, relevant and growing.
This is the second of an occasional series of volunteer profiles, saluting those whose hard work, ideas, passion and commitment benefit NANPA and its members.
NANPA recently had the opportunity to ask NANPA volunteer John E. Marriott a few questions about his volunteer experiences.
The end of a year signals a time for reflection of the past months as well as anticipation of what’s ahead. As I review 2018 for NANPA, I’m amazed at the variety and number of events and services offered for a relatively small organization. Everything we do is coordinated by a handful of part-time contractors and around 100 volunteers.