The Wonders of Water Plants

Water lily with Cokin diffractor filter effect.

Water lily with Cokin diffractor filter effect.

 

Story and Photography by F.M. Kearney

One subject I always look forward to photographing during the summer months is the water lily. Native to the temperate and tropical parts of the world, there are over 50 species of these freshwater plants. However, it isn’t always easy to shoot them creatively. Unless you have access to a natural lake or pond (and are willing to get very wet), you will most likely have to shoot from the sidelines of a reflecting pool in a local park or botanical garden. A long lens will allow you to zoom in for a tight close-up, but you certainly won’t have any options to create those dramatic macro or wide-angle perspectives that are commonly used on other types of more accessible flowers.

Continue reading

Weekly Wow! Week of September 3, 2018

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner. Mother leopard and cub tender moment , Botswana

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner. Mother leopard and cub tender moment , Botswana. © Adolfo Rapport

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, September 3, 2018.

Continue reading

Top Five Tips for Choosing Winning Images for Photo Contests

NANPA Showcase Competition

2019 NANPA Showcase Competition. Entries due by September 17, 11 PM Eastern.

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 2019 Showcase Photo Competition or, for that matter, any other photo competition?

Continue reading

From the President: Gordon Illg

Galapagos flycatcher landed on my finger because I was the tallest shrub around, Santiago/James Island, Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

Galapagos flycatcher landed on my finger because I was the tallest shrub around, Santiago/James Island, Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.

I love being close to animals. Their proximity reaffirms the fact that we are a part of nature, another thread in the tapestry of life, rather than something separate or apart from it. If my youth is any indication, this is an affinity we are all born with, but it gets lost if it’s not exposed to the right stimuli, wild stimuli. The first wild stimulus I’m aware of in my own upbringing was bears. My family was visiting Yosemite when I was three, and in those days the park had an open-air dump where bears would scavenge. Upon seeing the large animals, I set off running towards them, yelling, “Doggie, doggie!” My parents managed to overtake and control me before the bears could be traumatized by an overly enthusiastic toddler, but it was a near thing.

Being close to animals remains an incredibly precious experience for me, and it makes no difference what the species is—butterflies or bighorns, sea turtles or snakes, mice or moose (they’re all doggies to me). In Baja, I laid in the path of an approaching tarantula just to see what it would do, and to get some wide-angle shots, of course. After a few tentative steps on my arm, which was dry, flaky and hairy, the spider decided it did not care for the terrain and retreated to walk around me. Now approaching any creature closely is not something to be taken lightly. There is an element of danger involved any time you are near a wild thing, more for the subject than the photographer, for even if it’s the photographer who is injured, the animal will almost certainly be killed. And that’s one of the reasons NANPA decided to come up with some guidelines to help photographers make wise choices, ethical choices.

My degree is in Wildlife Biology, and I have worked at getting close to critters of all kinds for more than 50 years—50 years! Boy that makes me feel old—but even with that background, I know I would’ve benefitted from projects the Ethics Committee has tackled. In my early days as a nature photographer, the images I was trying to capture often took on a life or death level of importance to me. I’m sure I stressed subjects more than I should’ve and trampled things under my boots that I should’ve been more aware of. Three decades ago, there was rarely another person anywhere around me, so the impact I had was relatively light. Today, where one photographer goes, hordes are likely to follow, and our potential for disturbance and disruption is correspondingly greater. It’s been 20 years since NANPA first came out with a code of ethics for nature photographers, but the game has changed. And not only because there are so many more of us, but because newer research shows some of the old practices have the potential to harm the landscape or the creatures that live there. The original code of ethics is kind of paltry compared to the guidelines listed in the latest Ethical Field Practices, another indication of how much things have changed. Check it out. It’s worth looking over regardless of how experienced you are and how many covers you list on your resume. An ebook on ethical nature photography is also scheduled for release in the near future, and, with any luck, it will be out before the summit next February.

Another issue the Ethics Committee has worked on is the accurate captioning of images. At one time, this was something that pretty much only applied to editorial photography and contest entries. It was important to know if an animal or plant was captive, and if the photo had been manipulated in some way. There was a definite temptation to fudge the truth a bit just to get published or win a prestigious contest, and that temptation is still there. Not too many years ago, the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest was caught using a captive subject for his winning image. At a time when we could have used both the money and the fame, my wife, Cathy, and I passed up an opportunity to have the cover of Defenders magazine by letting the editors know the wolverine they wanted had been photographed at a game farm. Not only was it the right thing to do, it wouldn’t have looked good for the person who wrote the original Truth in Captioning article for NANPA, as well as sitting in on the Truth in Captioning panel at the 1997 summit, to be caught cheating. Those were the early days of Photoshop, and its limits were still being tested. Today there is literally nothing that cannot be done to an image during processing. Between the incredible possibilities in photo manipulation and a new awareness of the nuances that exist between wild and captive, the Truth in Captioning Document is considerably more detailed than the one we arrived at back in 1997. Again, this something all of us should check out and be aware of.

These issues were not approached with the idea that NANPA is going to be a policeman or play referee, watching over all of our work to slap us down if we cross the line. The completed projects are there to help nature photographers better understand some of the implications of what they’re doing. We did not get into nature photography for the money or fame (if you did, you’re really barking up the wrong tree). We picked up a camera because we love nature, we love wildlife, and any help we can get is welcome, especially if it makes life easier for the wild landscapes and wild things that mean so much to us.

 

From the Executive Director – Susan Day

Susan Day at NANPA board meeting, Jacksonsville, FL.

Susan Day at NANPA board meeting, Jacksonsville, FL. Photo by David Small.

Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings…

Meetings are a necessary evil.  Few people will confess to liking them, but for groups like NANPA with members who, at any given time, are scattered throughout the world; meetings are a means of keeping us connected to one another.  To keep in touch, NANPA’s board, committee members, contractors, membership, and the nature photography community rely on virtual, teleconference, social media, and in-person meetings to function and flourish.

Continue reading

Weekly Wow! Week of August 27, 2018

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

Bald eagles , Haines, AK. © Arash Hazeghi

Showcase 2018 Top 100 winner. Bald eagles , Haines, AK. © Arash Hazeghi

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 27, 2018.

Continue reading

Grants and Awards Recognize the Work of Nature Photographers

Photo by Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner

“Candlight Grow”
All that glitters is not gold. Each light represents marijuana plants that once grew within this stretch of the High Sierra National Forest in California. A single grow can range from a thousand to tens of thousands of plants. © Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner.

If a nature photographer clicks her shutter in the wilderness, and no one else is around to hear it, can it still make an impact? It sure can! The work of professional and aspiring nature photographers can save ecosystems, species and beautiful landmarks. NANPA understands the important work you’re doing.

And better than the sound of one hand clapping, NANPA and the NANPA Foundation have many ways to recognize and support the work, career or budding potential of nature photographers. All during the year, there are opportunities to apply or nominate someone for an award, a grant or other recognition.

Several are running now or about to start. Let’s take a look. One could be tailor made for you!

Continue reading