What’s This Picture For? Different Approaches to Conservation Photography

Not all conservation photographs are taken for the same reasons and purposes. Your particular goal will determine what sort of approach you use for each shot.

Not all conservation photographs are taken for the same reasons and purposes. Your particular goal will determine what sort of approach you use for each shot.

Story and photos by Dave Huth

When people learn I’m a “conservation photographer,” they may form many different ideas about what my pictures look like.

No matter what they’re thinking, they’re probably right!

Photography can support the work of conservation in many different ways. Each makes good use of a certain kind of photograph. When I’m in the field, I try to keep in mind the particular ways my pictures might meet a conservation goal — and I set up my shots accordingly.

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In the Frame of Things: Using Natural Frames to Emphasize Your Subject

Snow-covered branches frame urban landscape of Central Park, New York, NY.

Snow-covered branches frame urban landscape of Central Park, New York, NY.

Story and photos by F. M. Kearney

Making a subject stand out is the primary goal of all photographers. There are a number of ways to accomplish this and your subject matter will usually dictate the best method. Common techniques may include special lighting, subject placement, extreme angles or contrasting colors. If you delve into the world of digital imaging, your choices will be virtually unlimited. But, if you prefer to keep your images looking as natural as possible, you may want to stick with the in-camera methods.

One of my favorite ways to highlight a subject is to place it within a natural frame. This might consist of leaves, flowers, bushes … just about anything nearby that you can find to encircle your subject. In the opening photo above, I used the snow-covered branches to frame the distant buildings in this Central Park winter scene. Besides serving as decorative foreground elements, they were a great way to cover up the dead space of a white, featureless sky.

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NANPA Member in the News: Cindy Miller Hopkins and Five Penguins

The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project interviews NANPA member Cindy Miller Hopkins.

The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project interviews NANPA member Cindy Miller Hopkins.

What’s so special about a photo of five penguins?  You could get that at a local zoo.  Certainly, during NANPA member and travel and photographer Cindy Miller Hopkin’s trip last year to the far reaches of the South Atlantic, she had plenty of photos of penguins.  But one shot, from off the South Sandwich Islands, turned out to be unique.

As she was editing and captioning her shots, Cindy noticed that there were five different species of penguins in one frame.  That seemed unusual and she brought it to the attention of an ornithologist on the tour who told her he’d never seen an image with five species in the same place, at the same time.  Further research revealed that no one else had either.

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Weekly Wow! Week of February 11, 2019

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

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "Fully Winter-coated Wolf Pups Playing in the Snow, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming" © Scott Dere.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Fully Winter-coated Wolf Pups Playing in the Snow, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming” © Scott Dere.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, February 11, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.

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How I Got The Shot: Ezo Red Fox in Hokkaido

Ezo red fox on patrol, Eastern Hokkaido, Japan.

Ezo red fox on patrol, eastern Hokkaido, Japan.

Story and photos by Alyce Bender

Early morning, when the roads were still frosted over and there were more deer than people awake, I rolled out my warm hotel on the eastern coast of Hokkaido to visit a place I had never been. This is par for the course with me, but this was a bit of a different situation as I was heading for a relatively unheard of location that a new friend told me about. She had promised there would be Steller’s sea eagles and White-tailed eagles feeding on the leftover fish guts that ice fishermen discard on a frozen lake. Too good a potential photography opportunity for me to pass up, so I made the hour-long drive along the coast on a cold, wintery morning. It could not have been a better choice!

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Photographing the Canadian Rockies

Just one of Canada’s innumerable peaks, the last light of day shows this one to its best advantage.

Just one of Canada’s innumerable peaks, the last light of day shows this one to its best advantage.

Story and Photos by Jerry Ginsberg

Overview

Our American West is sprinkled with many spectacular national parks. Even a quick glance at the map will reveal that these preserves of nature are just islands in a sea of a burgeoning population surrounded by spreading towns and cities that often press against many of the parks’ very borders.

In sharp contrast, our Canadian neighbors have a nation of almost exactly the same size as the U.S., but with only about one tenth of our population. As a result, they enjoy roughly ten times more elbow room. With the exception of relatively small pockets of people, western Canada enjoys lots of wide open spaces. As long as we bring our passports along, those fine folks will let us share their pristine parks and vast wilderness.

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Weekly Wow! Week of February 4, 2019

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

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "Rufous-crested Coquette Defending Its Perch, Moyobamba, Arena Blanco, Peru" © William Pohley.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Rufous-crested Coquette Defending Its Perch, Moyobamba, Arena Blanco, Peru” © William Pohley.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, February 4, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.

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NANPA 2019 Outstanding Photographer of the Year: Florian Schulz

Outstanding Photographer of the Year Florian Schulz.

Outstanding Photographer of the Year Florian Schulz.

The Outstanding Photographer of the Year Award goes to an individual who has demonstrated unquestioned skill and excellence as a nature photographer through his or her past work and who has produced extraordinary recent work of significance to the industry.  That would be a pretty good description of the career of Florian Schulz, the 2019 Outstanding Photographer of the Year.

Schulz is a photographer, filmmaker, speaker and teacher, specializing in wildlife and conservation photojournalism. He is a Senior Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and serves on the iLCS board. He’s been published in publications like National Geographic magazine and is an in-demand speaker.

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From the President: Gordon Illg

Hiker leaping over the rising sun, Mt. Evans, CO.

Hiker leaping over the rising sun, Mt. Evans, CO.

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien  The Fellowship of the Ring

When we think of outstanding sites for nature photography, most of us tend to think of places like Tanzania, the Pantanal, Costa Rica…you know, places that cost a fortune to visit. And these locations do indeed have wonderful photo opportunities, but some of the best images are captured by people who never wander far from home. Yes, there are wild things right in our neighborhoods, hiding secrets that are just begging to be photographed. Keep in mind my livelihood is dependent upon photographers traveling to distant destinations, but I feel it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that there is beauty everywhere. Even without money to travel, there are photographable worlds available to you.

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Weekly Wow! Week of January 28, 2019

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

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "King Penguins Enjoy Early Morning Swim, South Georgia Island" © Carl Henry


Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “King Penguins Enjoy Early Morning Swim, South Georgia Island” © Carl Henry

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, January 28, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.

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