Happy New Year!

First edited photo of the New Year, a black-bellied whistling duck in southern Louisiana © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Well, 2021 is finally in the books. I am not sure about everyone else, but I am very happy to see it in the rearview mirror. It was a tough year for many, including myself, and in my home state of Colorado it ended with another horrible wildfire. Events like that put life in perspective to remember to spend time with those you love, don’t worry about things and stuff, and treat every moment like it is the most special of your life.

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Another Year Comes to a Close

Photo of a bighorn sheep looking at the camera. Late November and early December mark the peak of the bighorn sheep rut. It is usually accompanied by snow but so far in Colorado it has been a dry, brown season. © Dawn Wilson
Late November and early December mark the peak of the bighorn sheep rut. It is usually accompanied by snow but so far in Colorado it has been a dry, brown season. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends.

I can’t believe it is now December, and another year is coming to a close. When I reflect on last year at this time compared to this year, and what I expected for this year, it is hard to believe we are still in the middle of a pandemic, climate change is more prevalent than ever, ships with Christmas goods are stacked up along the West Coast, and the economy is showing signs of, well, let’s hope that doesn’t become a struggle too. In the last month I saw polar bears waiting for ice that was at least two weeks later than the average freeze up. And just last week Denver broke a record of 223 days without measurable snow, and there is no snow in the 7-day forecast.

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A Thankful Photographer

While the heron is thankful for a meal, I’m thankful for places like Huntley Meadows Park where I can photograph wildlife. © Frank Gallagher

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, I am reminded of a relative who used to make each guest at her holiday table say what they were thankful for. But, in year two of a pandemic that’s taken so many lives and disrupted travel and business, are there things we’re still grateful for? Yes, Virginia, there are many things for a nature photographer to be thankful for. Vaccines, for one, that are gradually helping life, travel, and our businesses return to a more normal state, and, in no particular order:

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The Beauty of Autumn

Photo of a colorful sunset over a distant mountain, will fall color in the trees in the middle ground and a beaver pond in the foreground. An abundant summer monsoon season and warm temperatures kept Colorado’s fall colors vibrant and extended the season late into October throughout the state. © Dawn Wilson
An abundant summer monsoon season and warm temperatures kept Colorado’s fall colors vibrant and extended the season late into October throughout the state. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Where did fall go? How many of us have said that?

Autumn is probably a favorite season for most nature photographers. We love to capture the vibrant colors, the activity of mating animals, and fleeting visits of migrating birds. I know that is the case for me, and it was another great season in Colorado. Although the bighorn sheep rut has just started to ramp up and the deer rut is just around the corner, the colors are almost finished after a spectacular show across the Centennial State.

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Being Different, Being Powerful, Being you

Photo of a horse galloping across a hill covered with small bushes and brush. This wild palomino stallion running free in Sand Wash Basin, Colorado was one of the last horses I photographed before the roundup. © Dawn Wilson
This wild palomino stallion running free in Sand Wash Basin, Colorado was one of the last horses I photographed before the roundup. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

First, my apologies for this late blog post this month. It seems every year I get to the end of summer and freak out about all the things I didn’t finish on my to-do list or wish list before the leaves start turning gold and orange. This year was no different.

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Mark Lukes Receives NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award

Mark Lukes holds up his Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award presented by NANPA at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado. Photo credit: Jeff Lukes
Mark Lukes holds up his Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award presented by NANPA at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado. Photo credit: Jeff Lukes

Mark Lukes received NANPA’s Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award on July 17th at a barbeque organized by his wife, Linda, and daughter, Lauren, at his home in Colorado. NANPA President Dawn Wilson presented the award and both Francine Butler and Wendy Shattil spoke before an audience of about 40 of his friends, neighbors, family, and former employees.

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Olympics Shed Light on Pressure to Succeed

Photo of a female moose crossing a body of water. The water comes up to her knees. There is a forest background. Moose are one of my favorite animals to photograph, and I spend quite a bit of money and time while racking up miles on my truck looking for them. Is it worth it? It is for me personally. © Dawn Wilson
Moose are one of my favorite animals to photograph, and I spend quite a bit of money and time while racking up miles on my truck looking for them. Is it worth it? It is for me, personally. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

A couple of weeks ago, I had a very personal conversation with a friend and fellow photographer about photographer burnout. We discussed where she was with her photography, why she was feeling like she wasn’t achieving her goals, the pitfalls of comparing your own work to other photographers, the thoughts of walking away from photography, and the source of all this stress and concern.

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Travel has returned!

Two brown bear cubs play in a field of grass and flowers just outside the lodge where I stayed in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska. © Dawn WIlson
Two brown bear cubs play just outside the lodge where I stayed in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

It had been a long year without being able to fly to some of my favorite locations.

I’ll be honest; I still traveled. I couldn’t help myself, but I did it via my truck and camped whenever I could to stay as safe as possible.

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Welcome to Great Outdoors Month!

Photo of a pastel-colored sunrise over undulating terrain, A quick visit in late May to Theodore Roosevelt National Park to celebrate the beauty of the outdoors produced this sunrise image at Painted Canyon. © Dawn Wilson
A quick visit in late May to Theodore Roosevelt National Park to celebrate the beauty of the outdoors produced this sunrise image at Painted Canyon. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I never pass up a chance to travel, and I am behind on my goal of visiting all of the national parks by my birthday this year. (I currently have visited and photographed 43 of 63 national parks.) Part of that is due to the pandemic, partly due to the addition of five new parks, and partly just due to a busy schedule.

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Spring Flowers

Photo of the Estes Valley outside of Rocky Mountain National Park after a spring snowstorm. ©  Dawn Wilson
A view of Estes Valley outside of Rocky Mountain National Park after a spring snowstorm. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Welcome to the month of spring flowers!

Well, for most people it should be. As I type this blog post, it is snowing again here in Colorado. The snow is a welcome weather occurrence as we desperately need the moisture, but it does do a number on those flowers people plant before the recommended planting date of Mother’s Day in Colorado. Much of Colorado, like the West, is still under severe drought conditions, bringing with it the fear of yet another difficult wildfire season. Fingers crossed that is not the case.

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