Danae Wolfe shows how you can do “Macro on a Budget” in an upcoming NANPA webinar.
Have you made your resolutions for 2019? What will you be doing to grow as a photographer and improve the quality of your work?
We all can find ourselves in a rut. Maybe you’re shooting the same subjects, in the same way, at the same places. Maybe your inspiration or creativity feels tapped out. Maybe you’ve hit a plateau and your photography isn’t improving like it used to.
January is a purely arbitrary time to reassess your photography, but it’s something we should all do every so often. So, why not a set of New Year’s resolutions?
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.
Is there a photographer on your gift list this holiday season? Perhaps people are still asking you what you want?
Holiday gift guides for photographers are a dime a dozen, and most highlight the same things, whether sublime or ridiculous. How many times do you need to see a travel mug that looks like your 70-200 lens? Cutesy t-shirts with bad puns about photography? Have you seen enough instant cameras, clip-on smart phone lenses and mini portable printers to last you a lifetime?
If you’re looking for your standard photography stuff, you can check out the guides from your favorite camera store. But there are many more options. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few NANPA-related gifts, so we’ll start with those. Then I’ll follow with a few weird items that might make you laugh, but are things you can probably live without. Finally, I’ll conclude with a few items that you just might want to buy.
Nature Photography Summit: Great opportunities for photographers you won’t find anywhere else.
NANPA: the sublime
How about a year of NANPA membership? A great way to introduce a photographer friend to the benefits of our association. Or, perhaps some nice person could extend your membership for another year! There are a lot of great member benefits that make joining well worth your while.
A generous friend or relative could spot you a registration to the 2019 Nature Photography Summit, February 21-23, in Las Vegas, NV. Great speakers, timely workshops, options for Super Sessions and location shoots as well as opportunities to make connections with fellow nature photographers, photo editors, vendors and potential clients.
NANPA Regional Events are led by NANPA members with special knowledge of and expertise in the area.
Have a bighearted benefactor? Maybe they could send you off to photograph birds in Florida, fall foliage on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or starry night skies in Arches National Park at one of NANPA’s Regional Events.
If you haven’t hit your charitable contributions goal for the year, consider donating to the NANPA Foundation. Your money goes towards high school and college scholarships and grants that “allow photographers at all levels of experience to explore special nature-related photographic projects in their communities.”
The Photorito, a lens wrap that looks like a burrito.
Among the weird items for photographers, PHOTOLEMUR’s gift guide has a couple of my favorites: The Photorito Lens Wrap and the Go Pro Fetch. The former is a padded lens wrap that looks like a tortilla and makes your wrapped lens look like a burrito. And who doesn’t need that? The latter is a dog harness for a Go Pro, allowing your pooch to record a dog’s eye view of the world. Just in case you were curious how Fido experiences life.
Salt and pepper shakers in the form of 35 mm film canisters might be cute but does anyone really need a set that includes toilet paper, paper towel and tissue dispensers mimicking film canisters? Or a toilet paper dispenser shaped like a Polaroid instant film camera? Someone must, because you can buy each of them.
Another item of questionable utility is the Moman Cell Phone Clip, a bottle cap tripod for a smart phone. While one might appreciate the ability to use an everyday object to stabilize your iPhone or Android, the opportunity to not only knock them over but also get them wet does not appeal to an occasional klutz me.
Paper towel dispensers, a GoPro harness for Fido, and a water bottle tripod head are among the holiday gifts available this year.
I’ll leave you with one cool, yet more sensible, gift idea. Take a look at LenzBuddy lens caps (shown at the top of this article), which are customizable front and rear caps for a variety of lenses. If you’ve ever opened you bag and couldn’t distinguish between one lens and another, these might be just the ticket. You can even customize with your business name and logo! Better than a lens burrito!
PhotoPills and Photographer’s Ephemeris are photography planning tools that I simply must have on my phone. They’re $10 or less (there’s even a free desktop version of Ephemeris) so, if you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out.
Whatever you give or receive this holiday season, we hope the past year has been full of great nature photography and that the year ahead will be even better. Next year, I’m hoping for a camera bag shaped like a taco.
It all started back in October 1993, when ornithologist, artist and nature photographer, Roger Tory Peterson invited a group of nature photographers to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York. This was the first time that an organized group of nature photographers had assembled in one place, and more than 100 photographers showed up for panel discussions, networking, and presentations. This meeting was so well received that everyone wanted to do it again—and thanks to a ton of work and great organization—by April 1994, NANPA had a founding board, president, bylaws and mission, with plans underway for their first annual conference, which took place in Florida in January 1995. NANPA’s first awards were also bestowed at the 1995 conference when Roger Tory Peterson received NANPA’s first Lifetime Achievement in Nature Photography Award, and Outdoor Photographer Magazine was honored with our first Community Recognition Award.
Traditionally, October is a relatively slow time in the NANPA office because so many photographers are out searching for fall color and wildlife. It’s also when people take vacations or squeeze in another workshop while the weather is cool, but not yet bitterly cold and blustery. For whatever reasons, this October was different – and busy – with member activity, phone calls, and questions.
In this month’s column, I’ll give a brief status report on what’s happening with NANPA’s events and programs.
2019 Showcase Competition
The 2019 Showcase Competition closed on October 17, and judging started soon thereafter. We received more than 3,600 entries from nearly 400 photographers, which is our highest participation since 2009. Judging has been completed, and winners have been notified and are now sending us their hi-res photos that will be published in Expressions 2019. Production of Expressions 2019 is underway, and barring any unforeseen delays, will be available in February. Members who submitted images in the competition can view the results by logging into the members area of the website. The Top 250 Winning Images will be displayed on the NANPA website beginning in January. Thank you to all who entered the competition; to judges Melissa Groo, George Lepp, and Joe and Mary Ann McDonald; Showcase Coordinator, Wendy Shattil; Showcase Web Developer, John Lock; and Project Manager, Teresa Ransdell.
We do have a few spots left for advertising in Expressions 2019. If you’d like to place an ad, contact Gina Head for rates and availability. Or download ad info here.
2019 Nature Photography Summit & Trade Show
Registrations opened in early October for the 2019 Nature Photography Summit & Trade Show which will be held February 21-23, 2019 in Las Vegas. As usual, members wanting to ensure spots with their top choices of portfolio reviewers and to make sure they get in for Super Sessions and pre/post photo outings, registered early. Take a look at the speaker lineup and schedule for this Summit, check out the reviewer openings (A bargain at only $60 for 20 minutes one-on-one time with a pro!), and consider adding a Super Session (only $75 for a 3-hour class on a variety of great topics). We’ve heard of some great airfare sales to Vegas, and you can’t beat the room rate at the Westgate! NANPA will be emailing a series of Summit Snapshots to you in the coming weeks with announcements of any changes or additions to the program. Be sure to bookmark the Summit website and check back periodically because we’ll be making updates as they come up.
A few exhibitor booth spaces, advertising, and sponsorships are still available. More info.
NANPA Regional Events are almost full for 2018 and 2019. As of November 1, there are two spots left for the Bosque del Apache event with Cathy Illg in December and one spot left on the Florida Birding Workshop with Maresa Pryor Luzier in January. We still have spaces left for the fall 2019 Fall in Upper Peninsula of Michigan with Richard Day and Hank Erdmann. The Yellowstone Snowcoach Tour and the Arches Astrophotography Workshop are both sold out.
We took a short break from webinars this fall while photographers were traveling, but have a great lineup ready for the next few months. Topics include power marketing, video nature photography, timesaving tips with Adobe ACR or Lightroom, macro on a budget, and more.
Remember that all NANPA members can view past webinars in the members area of the website—including the latest in our Town Hall Series on Ethical Field Approaches for Nature Photography.
Those are the highlights from October, and we’ll continue to share new information on events, programs, and projects when it’s available.
Susan Day at NANPA board meeting, Jacksonsville, FL. Photo by David Small.
Choices and Goals
Everyday we make choices. What to eat. What to wear. What to do. Nature photographers make choices on new equipment, how to pay for it, where to use it, how to compose an image, which tweaks to make during post-processing; and for some, how to make a living. Everyone’s bucket list is unique, and we take different paths to reach them–whether you’re a big-time goal-setter with spreadsheets and planners or a seat-of-the-pants winger.
Passion, planning, and drive play big parts in whether (and when) we take those fall landscape photos in the Rockies or photograph wildlife on an African safari.
In the old days, not only did we have to walk through two feet of snow on our way to school (which was really tough for me because I lived in Tucson), but we didn’t have access to all the species and landscapes that photographers do today. If one has the money, there is now almost no place on Earth that cannot be reached and photographed with only a couple of days travel. Nature photography has indeed changed over the last 30 years, and I’m not just talking about technological advances in photo gear. I’m also referring to our subjects, our relationships with them, and our access to them. Most, if not all, of these changes have resulted from an exploding human population and the fact that we are increasingly mobile. Have these changes been good or bad? The answer is yes. The immediate conclusion most of us jump to is that a hordes of people are bad for the natural world, and this conclusion is not wrong. But, and this is a big but, lots of people can make nature photography better.
NANPA’s Board terms end on June 30, and new directors take office on July 1, which is also the date that presidents change. I had the privilege of working with Don Carter for a year as president, and on July 1, Don passed the gavel to Gordon Illg. To say that Gordon jumped in with both feet would be putting it mildly.
NANPA Members Colin Hocking and Don Brown will be leading a NANPA Regional Event at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia from November 16-19, 2017. All the details about the event, including cost, registration, and other information can be found on the NANPA website at www.nanpa.org/events/regionals/chincoteague-national-wildlife-refuge–va/ Here, Don offers a preview of the beauty of Chincoteague, and shares some great images from his previous visits there.Continue reading →