Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In December, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present on the refuge. Includes orientation, instruction in the field, and image review. Limited to 6 participants.
Story & photos by John Pedersen
Sometimes we just have to make lemonade from lemons. We don’t control the weather, the sun or clouds, or even the subjects we like to shoot. There are those occasional days when we show up on location and the variables beyond our control just don’t seem to want to cooperate. So, what do we do? Turn around and go home and wait for better conditions? No! We stay, adjust our expectations and dig into our bag of photographic skills to make the best of the situation, making the best lemonade we can from the lemons that are given to us.
The world has changed a lot in the twenty-five years since NANPA was formed. Back in 1994, the first commercially-successful web browser, Netscape Navigator, was released. “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was renamed Yahoo. Google was four years away and Facebook wouldn’t launch until 2004. If you had internet access, it was probably dial-up at 56kbps through Compuserv or AOL. Photoshop 3.0 had just come out and introduced layers. Microsoft Windows was new but your Pentium computer probably ran MS-DOS and had 4 MB RAM. Mobile phones didn’t have cameras and certainly weren’t smart.
Photographers choose workshops and photo trips months, sometimes years, in advance. Even though it’s early spring now, it’s not too soon to start thinking about fall. In October, Hank Erdmann and Richard Day will be leading a NANPA Regional Event in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In this article, first published last September, Hank reveals his thoughts about fall photography, why he loves autumn in the upper Midwest, and the photographic opportunities that come with the changing colors of leaves. He also includes tips that will help you find and take advantage of the fall photo possibilities in your region. Details about this NANPA Regional Event, including costs, registration and other information are posted on the NANPA website, at https://www.nanpa.org/event/nanpa-regional-workshop-up-mi/ . Places are filling up fast, so reserve your spot now!
Last month’s Nature Photography Summit is over. Images from the trip have been processed. Gear and clothes have been cleaned and suitcases put away. Fortunately, there’s always something exciting we can look forward to. So, what’s next on NANPA’s hit parade?
At the Summit, NANPA announced that the next Nature Photography Celebration will be in Asheville, NC, April 19 – 22, 2020. The previous Celebration, in Jackson, WY, in 2018, featured location shoots, workshops, informative presentations, gear demonstrations and much more. Circle the dates on your calendar. More information will be coming.
NANPA celebrates Nature Photography Day on June 15th with a variety of events, from a photo contest to local workshops. This annual event encourages people to explore with a camera the natural world around them, whether that’s their own backyard, a local stream or a national park. Nature Photography Day promotes the enjoyment of nature photography and shows a wider public all over the world how images can be used to advance the conservation and protection of plants, wildlife and landscapes close to home and far away. Stay tuned for more information.
This year’s Showcase Competition kicks off August 1st. Exclusively for NANPA members, Showcase is your opportunity to win prizes, get your photos featured on NANPA’s website, blog and printed in Expressions, NANPA’s annual publication. You can see the top 250 images from last year’s competition, browse back issues of Expressions, or order your copy of this year’s Expressions. Get inspired and get out there shooting!
Throughout the year, NANPA offers several Regional Events, two- to four-day field tours led by outstanding photographers with intimate knowledge of the area and photographic opportunities. Attendance is limited. The June astrophotography in Arches National Park workshop is already sold out but you can still register for October’s workshop in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
NANPA also hosts a webinar series, open to members. The next webinar, VisionQuest Photography presented by Shane McDermott, will be on March 29th. Registration is free. You can also visit the webinar archives and view past recordings that cover a wide array of subjects. Have a nature photography topic you’re passionate about? Maybe you should contact us to present a future webinar!
NANPA’s Ethics Committee recently released guide to Ethical Field Practices. You can download a pdf of the guidelines or request cards pre-printed with the guidelines. In addition to helping us ensure we follow the best ethical practices, these documents make great handouts for camera clubs, Meetup groups and at other opportunities to spread the word about ethical nature photography. NANPA also has statements on Access to Public Lands and Truth in Captioning.
NANPA’s Conservation Committee has been busy, too. They recently launched the NANPA Citizen Science initiative, a database of science and conservation projects that welcome and can use the help of a nature photographer. Check it out. You, too, could be a citizen scientist! Know of a local citizen science project? Let us know so we can add it to the database. Coming soon is a Conservation Handbook.
NANPA sponsors a number of Meetup groups which bring people in the same area together to photograph nature. Check for one in your area and follow NANPA on the social media platforms of your choice.
As you can see, there’s always a lot going on at NANPA, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of NANPA’s member benefits. Are you taking advantage of all NANPA has to offer? One way to be sure is to check the New Member Resource Center, for an up-to-date listing of all the benefits and opportunities that come with your NANPA membership.
Story and photos by Kika Tuff
The world of online education is a new frontier for nature photographers and one that can be quite lucrative. But making money isn’t as simple as building an amazing course and setting it free on the internet. Plenty of thoughtful, well-designed courses go undiscovered every day.
So, before you invest your time and energy into building a course, I wanted to offer some ideas on how to ensure you don’t get lost in the ocean of internet content.
First: know what you offer.
Still debating whether you should come to NANPA’s Nature Photography Summit and Trade Show, February 21-23 in Las Vegas? Here are five compelling reasons to pull out your credit card and start making reservations. And, hey, there’s still time to get pre-conference pricing . . . but only ‘till midnight, Sunday, January 20th.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Photographers choose workshops and photo trips months, sometimes years, in advance. Whether you already have a fabulous fall photo experience lined up for this autumn or never got around to planning one, it’s not too early to start thinking about fall 2019. Next October, Hank Erdmann and Richard Day will be leading a NANPA Regional Event in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In this article, Hank reveals his thoughts about fall photography, why he loves autumn in the upper Midwest, and the photographic opportunities that come with the changing colors of leaves. He also includes tips that will help you find and take advantage of the fall photo possibilities in your region. Details about this NANPA Regional Event, including costs, registration and other information are posted on the NANPA website, at https://www.nanpa.org/event/nanpa-regional-workshop-up-mi/ .