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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Happy Spring!

Photo of mule deer fawn. Now that spring has arrived, it won't be long before wildlife babies will be bouncing around.
Now that spring has arrived, it won’t be long before wildlife babies will be bouncing around.

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

It is the season of spring flowers, wildlife babies, and green landscapes. It is also the season of growth and new beginnings.

So, what new beginnings can you start? Maybe learn a new skill to improve your photography? Maybe you could try some new piece of equipment for a different type of photograph. Or maybe you could visit a new location and explore what photo options it has. Or maybe you can evaluate your impact and how you can make a difference? There are endless options.

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Welcome to Women’s History Month!

Hey girls! Don't be afraid of getting a little dirty or looking a little less than feminine. I may not look the prettiest in my mud-stained waders, but I sure do like staying dry when getting low-angle shots in water. © Dawn Wilson
Hey girls! Don’t be afraid of getting a little dirty or looking a little less than feminine. I may not look the prettiest in my mud-stained waders, but I sure do like staying dry when getting low-angle shots in water. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

There have been numerous female photographers who have paved the way for other photographers by taking thought-provoking and emotional images from the early days of photography.

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Happy New Year!!

A young moose pops up to watch some people along a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. As a resident of Estes Park, just outside of Rocky, this national park became my escape during Covid. It also became an easy place to escape to for the growing population along the Front Range during 2020
A young moose pops up to watch some people along a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. As a resident of Estes Park, just outside of Rocky, this national park became my escape during Covid. It also became an easy place to escape to for the growing population along the Front Range during 2020

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Wow, it felt great to say that. 2020 was a very long year but we made it through the challenges and hopefully came out with new knowledge and perspective.

Now let’s look forward to a new year with new opportunities.

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Happy Holidays!

Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.
Two brown bears play along the beach of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska on my 2019 brown bear photo workshop. My 2020 workshop was canceled and I am hopeful the 2021 workshop will go as planned.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and opted to be outside for Black Friday.

As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect back on the ups and downs of the year.

Because of the coronavirus, our lives came to a standstill early in the year and plans significantly changed and evolved. They still keep changing, and planning for 2021 remains difficult.

All of my workshops were canceled or postponed to 2021, as were many for our members. All of my in-person classes were canceled, but Zoom provided an alternative that opened up the ability to teach to a larger audience (and reconnect via happy hours with my sorority sisters back in New Jersey and other states).

We were ordered to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID, yet it became a business opportunity to sell masks with my photos.

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Being Thankful

Estes Park experienced its first scare when the Cameron Peak Fire, seen creating an eerie red glow in the sky above the historic Stanley Hotel, marched just a couple of miles from the town's northern border.
Estes Park experienced its first scare when the Cameron Peak Fire, seen creating an eerie red glow in the sky above the historic Stanley Hotel, marched just a couple of miles from the town’s northern border.

Story and photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

As I write this, I am evacuated in the desert of Utah from my home in Estes Park, Colorado. Several wildfires are burning near this gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park—the Cameron Peak Fire to the north, which became Colorado’s largest wildfire in history at more than 200,000 acres, and the East Troublesome Fire to the west near Grand Lake, Colorado. Both fires are burning within Rocky Mountain National Park, including much of the Kawuneechee Valley on the west side, a portion in the northern wilderness, and more than 4,300 acres on the east side in the popular Bear Lake corridor and Moraine Park regions.

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Staying Relevant

Photo of a male moose running. Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson
Even though we heard that campsites were hard to come by and the hotels were sold out, we headed to Grand Teton National Park to photograph moose. We drove all night, arrived at the campground at 4:30 a.m. and were rewarded with one of only 14 campsites that opened that morning. The effort paid off with lots of great moose photos, including this one of a running bull in fall colors. © Dawn Wilson

Story and Photos by Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

As most of you—hopefully—did as well, I read the latest NANPA handbooks, Bird Photography and Contest Secrets, this past month.

In Contest Secrets, Karen Schuenemann makes a valid point in her article “Getting from No to Yes.” Ms. Schuenemann said, “If you sit back and don’t put in the effort, you already have a NO. If you don’t try something that you dream about doing, you already have a NO. If you don’t attempt to do anything at all, you already have a NO.”

This is a twist on something I frequently say to people: “If you don’t ask for a yes, you already have a no.”

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Networking, Lessons in Life and Nature Photography on Tap for New Podcast

In a few short weeks, NANPA will officially launch The Nature Photographer Podcast in collaboration with the cast of Wild and Exposed, so we asked one of the co-founders and co-hosts to tell us what he’s gained from hosting and participating in nature photography podcasts, and what he hopes the new NANPA podcast brings its listeners.

Photos and story by Ron Hayes

I’m all about networking in wildlife photography. Networking is critical to being able to find good locations to shoot, but it’s also how you find people you respect to review your work and give you honest input. You might not want to hear the feedback, but it will help you improve your image quality.

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