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?
Dewdrops quivered under my breath as I knelt down, my face but a couple inches away. Like sapphires, emeralds, and canary diamond they glistened, reflecting the vibrant organisms beneath. Like tiny, round mirrors, or tiny magnifying glasses, each micro detail was brought to prominence. Upon closer inspection, even my face, upside down, reflected back at me in as many copies as there were dewdrops. They jiggled and jostled, yet resisted the force of my breath and persisted in perfect cupola-shapes held together by cohesion.
As mesmerizing as the water drops were, I was here to photograph what lay beneath the transparent molecules. I drew a breath and blew. The water bubbles rolled away and revealed my intended subject. Tortuous as brain tissue, crusty as a scab, yet as significant as any other organism: lichen.
What is the state of photography today? The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts have good news and bad news for photographers in general.
The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that the employment of photographers will decline by six percent over the next ten years. However, that number masks some major variations in prospects that depend on the type of photography. Demand for portrait and wedding photographers is projected to remain strong, but staff photographer positions, especially in the publishing world, will continue to decline. The Bureau projects that photographers employed by newspapers will drop by a stunning 34% over a decade. On the other hand, projections show the ranks of free-lance and self-employed photographers increasing by 12%.
This photo of a rainbow on the beach at Bandon, Oregon, is pretty much the perfect picture of me. My image is small enough to be totally unrecognizable, and it captures the way I feel about myself—the treasure at the end of the rainbow. Unenlightened photographers tend to see me as a distracting picture element, but that’s another story. One thing is certain. Putting a person at the end of the rainbow makes the image different, and making images look different may be important to you.
There are as many reasons to enter Showcase 2019 as there are photographers. For some, winning Best in Show or Judge’s Choice serves as an endorsement of their skill, and can be added to their bio and marketing materials. To others, recognition by the judges is a validation of their devotion to nature photography, a payoff for the years of effort they put into improving their skills. And, for still others, selection of their photo is both a personal triumph as well as a challenge; applause for how far they’ve come and a challenge to continue getting better.
From the Editor: Award-winning landscape and nature photographer Carl Johnson has been living in Alaska for almost 20 years and is an expert on shooting auroras. On Friday, August 17th, at 2 PM EDT, he will present a NANPA Webinar, “Chasing & Photographing the Aurora Borealis.” This webinar covers the science behind the aurora, the tools available to predict and plan for it (including websites and apps that provide real-time and forecasting information), tips on when and where to photograph it, and what gear and techniques to use. For more information or to sign up, click here.
Editor’s Note: While spring 2018 is struggling to make its appearance through much of the United States, we can already look in our backyards and see the early signs that it’s on the way. Our backyards are always one of the best places to look for flowers, birds, and occasionally, something larger. This post by Amy Shutt appeared in 2014, and what she describes sounds like the ultimate back, front, and side yards for observing wildlife.
Story and Photography by Amy Shutt
We live on 7.5 acres of land in a little town in Louisiana. Although I’ve only been here for a few years, my husband, an ornithologist, has been living here for quite some time. It’s 95% woods. He gardens the area around the house exclusively for hummingbirds and the rest is untouched. Yep, we are the eccentric neighbors with the overgrown yard with signs designating the ditch in the front as a ‘Wildflower Area’ so the city won’t cut or spray.
I see swamp rabbits almost daily. We have deer…and deer ticks. I have heard foxes in the darkness just off the driveway in the woods. We have enjoyed listening to coyotes howling in unison. Barred owls belt out their crazy calls nightly. Prothonotary Warblers nest in boxes we make for them around the house and in the woods. Point is, it’s pretty cool out here and we share this land with a lot of critters and plants. Continue reading
Story by Mary Jane Gibson, NANPA Foundation Vice President
Whether new to NANPA or an original charter member, you probably have little understanding of the NANPA Foundation – what it does, why it exists, and why it is asking for money. Continue reading
Story and photos by John Gerlach
Landscape photographers are exhilarated when a prominent portion of the landscape becomes illuminated with golden sunshine, especially when the sky directly behind it is a stormy dark gray. Unfortunately, these incredible displays of spectacular light are unpredictable and usually fleeting. Fifteen years ago I decided to use my Canon Speedlite to provide the blast of light I needed to light a rock ten meters across a raging river. My first flash attempts were futile since the Speedlite didn’t add any additional light to the rock. I pondered the situation for a while and finally realized I had “murdered” my Speedlite. Using ISO 100, a polarizer, stopping down the lens to f/22, and allowing the camera to set the zoom on the Speedlite’s flash head to 24mm to match the lens being used all conspired to make it impossible to light an object only ten yards away. Continue reading