Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Sha Lu

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: “White-tailed Kite Food Transfer" © Sha Lu.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: “White-tailed Kite Food Transfer” © Sha Lu.

How I Got the Shot

This photo shows the food exchange between a parent and a juvenile white-tailed kite. Their nest was on a tree at the parking lot of a local park. After photographing and observing their daily behavior for many days, I had a good educated guess of where such exchanges might happen. When this juvenile fledged, it performed one of its very first food exchanges right in front of my position, giving me almost full frame shots, resulting in a great amount of details in the photos.

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Weekly Wow! Week of May 4, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Gull Emerging From Fog at Dawn” © Leonard James.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Gull Emerging From Fog at Dawn” © Leonard James.

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

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, May 4, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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Connections

A Roseate Spoonbill landing on a tree.
Roseate Spoonbill

Story & photo by Tom Haxby, NANPA President

NANPA recently held two online town hall meetings with our members; one with professional nature photographers and the other with enthusiasts. These meetings and a recent e-mail discussion thread among our board members are part of our ongoing search for the answer to one question: How do we better connect with our nature photography community, both professional and enthusiast? 

The reality is that this pandemic crisis has given members of the board of directors and staff time to slow down and think about where we are as an organization and where we are headed, and maybe that is not a bad thing.  And, much like the photo of the roseate spoonbill landing, it may be awkward, but we will get it done.

Questions

How can we stay connected with nature through our photography when our ability to safely venture outside of our homes has been curtailed? How do we connect with other nature photographers who share our passion and inspire us when our opportunities to meet through regional events, meetups and nature photography celebrations have been suddenly swept away? 

Eventually, we will get beyond this crisis and will again be able re-establish our connection with nature, cameras in hand, as well as network in-person with our fellow nature photographers.  By this time next year (April 28-May 2, 2021), many of us will be finally gathering in Tucson, AZ, at the NANPA Summit to again meet and greet our fellow nature photographers. 

Beyond the short term, there are longer-term questions, such as how can NANPA engage a wider audience in sharing and caring about nature through photography?  And especially, how can NANPA successfully connect with the younger generation faced with living most of their lives in an increasingly stressed natural world?  These long-term questions are the ones that are the most difficult to answer.

A few particular questions in the town hall meetings resonated with me. From the enthusiasts’ town hall meeting:

Does NANPA have a mentoring program? While NANPA does not have an official mentoring program, NANPA members often network to find others with similar areas of interest who may be willing to share their skills and experience. During these weeks that we’re unable to network in person, you may want to explore the member directory to look for nature photographers near you. Find a few and look at their websites. Follow them on social media and/or subscribe to their email lists. Meeting virtually in this way can put yourself in a good position to introduce yourself in person when restrictions are lifted. If you aren’t sure how to use the member directory in this way, this tutorial can help:

Does NANPA have a way for those with limited mobility to participate in photography events? This is something that the board has discussed, and I believe we can and should find a way to accommodate those who may have physical limitations. Our regional event in Badlands National Park, May 31-June 3, 2021, is wheelchair friendly, and that’s moving in the right direction.

And from the town hall meeting for professionals:

How can professionals increase their visibility? Our reach in several programs goes well beyond our members, making these excellent opportunities to get noticed. For example, anyone who belongs to NANPA’s Facebook Group can post images there, but NANPA members can also share promotional posts once a week when their membership number is included (check the group rules for specifics).

Host an Instagram takeover of NANPA’s account, and/or tag your Instagram photos with #NANPApix for an opportunity to be featured in our Instagram feed.

Write blog posts, give a webinar, and submit photos for the Showcase competition. Showcase winners are featured throughout the year on our website and social media accounts and are published in Expressions.

Why NANPA?

Unlike other photography organizations, NANPA is solely dedicated to nature photography.

Perhaps you enjoy using your photography to further conservation. Personally, NANPA has opened my eyes to how photography can tell a story about a conservation issue. That is why we published our Conservation Handbook and why we added a category in our Showcase competition for conservation photography. 

Maybe you believe in our advocacy efforts to protect the rights of photographers or that educating photographers about ethics in nature photography is needed now more than ever.

Perhaps being a member means that you can purchase good insurance for your valuable photography gear. Improving your photography skills is a common desire of NANPA members, and there are many opportunities to improve your photography skills through online webinars, regional events, summits and our blog posts. 

Perhaps as a professional, being a NANPA member increases your visibility. Publications such as our soon-to-be published handbook Make It Work: The Business of Nature Photography, helps established professionals reach new audiences and will give every photographer ideas and tools for improving your nature photography business.

Maybe the biggest benefit you get is just being part of a network of photographers with a passion for being out in nature and sharing the beauty and awesomeness of nature in photographs.  Could it be that you just love nature and photography, and that is reason enough to want to join with NANPA in celebrating and promoting the joy and satisfaction of nature photography?

Whatever your reasons for belonging to NANPA, the board of directors, staff and many volunteers are working hard to make NANPA the place where you can connect with nature while connecting with a community of nature photographers.

Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – David Bates

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Puma Targeting a Large Guanaco” © David Bates.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Puma Targeting a Large Guanaco” or “Did somebody say it was time for dinner?” © David Bates.

How I Got the Shot

Living in South Florida and spending countless hours in the Everglades hoping to catch even a glimpse of a panther, I could not resist the opportunity to travel to Chile where the odds of actually photographing a puma are excellent. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I would have the opportunity to observe and photograph a puma actually hunting a guanaco. I was amazed by the confidence of this puma in targeting such a large guanaco. Of course, I must also thank SouthWild and our guide, Maurico Montt, and their amazing trackers that provided me with many amazing puma encounters.

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Weekly Wow! Week of April 27, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Parts of a Whole: Two Nautilus Halves, Still Life at Home” © Janet MacCausland.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Parts of a Whole: Two Nautilus Halves, Still Life at Home” © Janet MacCausland.

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

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, April 27, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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Seven Tips for a Successful Meetup Photography Group

Group of photographers spread out on a flower-covered hillside.

Story & photos by Donald Quintana

Our headlights cut through the darkness as we wind down the Blue Star Memorial Highway through the Lapanza Range of mountains. Just before nautical twilight ascends onto the earth, we pull into the parking area marked with an old vintage American water pump windmill. It’s good to have a landmark for our location. Out of the blackness, barely visible to the naked eye, carpets of Gold Fields speckled with Tidy Tips and patches of Baby Blue Eyes, glisten with the newly-dropped dew. Arriving 30 minutes before the scheduled meet up time, Bob and I set up and prepare to greet the members of our 367 strong NANPA Meetup Group of the Central Coast of California. Usually we have about 40 people RSVP, around 30 will actually make an event. Goodness knows what we would do if all 367 members showed up. Today we are gathering to photograph the wildflowers along Highway 58 and Carrizo Plain super bloom. Distant headlights begin to appear down Highway 58 coming in our direction. Members are beginning to show, and soon our meet up will begin.

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How are Photo Stores and Manufacturers Adapting to COVID-19? Part 3

Screen grab: Fotopro home page
Fotopro is offering educational videos, product discounts and (soon) a photographer’s marketplace.

The COVID-19 restrictions are slamming photographers and our businesses, presenting us with many challenges. That’s also true of the companies that provide the products and services we use on a near daily basis. We wondered how they were adapting, retooling and managing this crisis. Today, in part three of this series, we got in touch with Fotopro.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Carla Rhodes

Endangered Adjutant Storks atop a landfill.
2020 Showcase, First Runner-up: Conservation. “Beautiful Scavengers, Boragaon landfill, Guwahati, India” © Carla Rhodes.

How I Got the Shot

During my first trip to India, I saw a striking 5-foot-tall bird standing by the roadside. I was told it was a Greater Adjutant stork. The next day, I was taken to the last place I expected to see a mass population of endangered birds: the sprawling Boragaon landfill. With no prior knowledge of my subjects and limited time, I had to think fast while shooting from a stationary vehicle. I’ll never forget the smell, which clung to my gear for days. The scene was heartbreaking yet beautiful. At that moment, I knew I had to pursue wildlife conservation photography.

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Weekly Wow! Week of April 20, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "A Black Bear Fishes for Salmon” © Jennifer Smith. A black bear fishing in a stream under a waterfall.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “A Black Bear Fishes for Salmon” © Jennifer Smith.

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

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, April 20, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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How are Photo Stores and Manufacturers Adapting to COVID-19? Part 1

Home Page of Tamron's Website

The precautions taken to reduce the spread of the novel corona virus have hit the photography business hard. While the impact on us photographers has been immediate and painful, what about the companies who make the products and services we love and rely on? How has the virus affected them? What are they doing to survive, to continue to service customers and, eventually, thrive?

It’s tough for them, too. Even the companies with quality products, great customer service and smart business operations are being tested.  Supply chains are disrupted. Sales are down. Some have had to temporarily close stores, offices or repair facilities and attempt to work from home. But they’re not just hanging tough, they’re also adapting. They’re adding education, training, support features and more. Still providing value to customers and taking care of employees.

We started by speaking to three of the companies (Tamron, Hunt’s & Fotopro) that have been supporters of NANPA. Over the next few days, you’ll hear what they said.

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