Story & photo by Jennifer Leigh Warner, NANPA Ethics Committee Chair
As I drive down the Colorado mountain road searching for wildlife, I spot a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) foraging off the shoulder of the road. I pull off to see if I can get a picture before it darts back into the woods, but as soon as I open my car door, I realize something is very wrong. The normally shy fox is approaching my vehicle.
Getting started in wildlife or nature photography can be overwhelming, with gear to select, locations to identify and scout out, and numerous new skills to learn. Many photographers look to photography workshops or guides to help them build skills or capture a “dream shot.” But how do you know if the person you’re hiring for a photo workshop is ethical? Are the shots you see on Instagram truly wild animals, not manipulated in any way? Are they taken at game farms, where animals are bred specifically for photography? Are they lured in with bait? Are they captive animals simply not disclosed as such?
NANPA member Wendy Shattil is a full-time professional wildlife photographer with a list of accomplishments as long as your arm. She’s no stranger to awards and photo competitions, having won her first (of many) awards back in 1972. But did you know she was one of the people most responsible for creating NANPA’s Showcase photo competition, which grew out of a member photo slideshow at the 1999 NANPA Summit? She continues to be involved in the competition and administers the entire process. So, who better to give you some tips for selecting your best images, insight into the judging process and the critical role that good captions play.
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.
Screen shot of The Times (UK) article about a film crew intervening in nature.
If you saw an animal in the wild that appeared to be in distress, would you try to help? Would you report it to the authorities? Would you leave it alone, since it’s just nature being nature? As nature photographers, we are interested in conservation and generally love the animals we photograph. Is it our responsibility to let nature take its course, even if an animal dies? Is it our responsibility to save the animal? Or, does it depend on the specific situation?
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 first 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 Jennifer Leigh Warner a few questions about her volunteer experiences.