Outer Banks with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

Join our photography workshop on our own wild and pristine North Carolina barrier islands. We will show you special gems along this untamed coastline we love so well. The sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular, the patterns along the seashore and in the marshes inspirational, and the sights and sounds of the wild Atlantic pounding the coast intoxicating. We’ll even visit a beautiful garden where the spring blossoms are stunning. You’ll love photographing here, and you’ll be able to celebrate your passion for photography, hone your seeing and imaging skills, and learn about the magic of light to make wonderful photographs…

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount to NANPA members.

Charleston with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

Charleston has many faces. Not only is she a southern belle, complete with handsome architecture, famous charm, beautiful tree-shaded streets and squares, wonderful wrought iron, old cemeteries, and an interesting waterfront, but nearby, there are historic plantations, the ocean and estuaries, and and we must not forget the wonderful, magnificent swamps with their graceful cypress trees, knees rising out of the water, and reflections amongst spring flowers. There is much to explore and inspire your artistic eye …

Landscapes may be found in the wilderness as well as in urban environments.

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount to NANPA Members.

New Orleans with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

New Orleans, The City of New Orleans, NOLA, The Big Easy … call it what you will, this is an amazing city with incredible music and photo ops. We will return to our favorite haunts and introduce you to several sides of this wonderful place. Here, you will have no problem seeking your own vision, whether wandering the historic streets or sitting in a bar, taking in the various scenes, eating oysters, and listening to the beat of blues, zydeco, jazz, etc.

Many nature photographers like to challenge themselves by photographing in an urban environment. After all, the principles of photography transcend subject matter.

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount for NANPA members.

Joshua Tree NP with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

We are returning to the park where its nearly 800,000 acres have seen human habitation for at least 5,000 years. From the earliest-known Pinto Culture to the ranchers, miners, and homesteaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there is a wealth of archeological and historic sites protected by the park. Not only are there the iconic park namesakes, the Joshua trees, but there are wonderful rock formations created by early volcanic and tectonic action and sculpted by erosion. This is a location where the light creates all sorts of surprises and patterns, and you will find plenty to photograph ….

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount to NANPA members

“Bosque Wildlife” at Bosque del Apache NWR with Sandy Zelasko and Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

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 November, 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 at the sanctuary.

Outer Banks Lighthouses with Margo Taussig Pinkerton

The Outer Banks are a long, thin strip of barrier islands that protect the North Carolina Coast. Preserved to a large extent by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, it is a visual feast of historic lighthouses spaced between long stretches of wild beaches and pristine sand dunes. The Outer Banks are part of our own back yard that we know so well, and we will go to great locations where you can seek your own vision and make wonderful photographs …

With workshops limited to 12 participants (a maximum 6:1 ratio, students to instructors), you can be assured of nearly as much one-one time as you want/need. We also welcome those whom we affectionately call our “Spousal Units,” those spouses and SOs who return so often to our workshops.

More details. Discount for NANPA members.

 

How to get published

Story and photography by Budd Titlow

So…you’ve been an avid nature photographer for several years. Your shots always win compliments from family and friends and ribbons at local camera club competitions. Now you want to move up to the next level and start selling your work. How do you do this?

A reflection of fall foliage in a lake in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Settings were 1/30th of a second at f/16 using a 400mm lens to isolate the scene 100 feet away. © Budd Titlow

Getting Started

Be realistic.  Don’t even think about quitting your day job—at least for a while. The romantic allure of traveling the globe—camera in hand—is very enticing. But unless you’re living off a trust fund, just hit the lottery, or have one‑in‑a‑million shots of mutant pygmy crocodiles in Borneo, it’s not going to happen. You simply aren’t going to suddenly start making a living from nature photography. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Gerrit Vyn on Multimedia Storytelling in The Sagebrush Sea

Strutting male Gunnison Sage-Grouse. The display of this speceis differs significantly from that of the Greater Sage-Grosue and led researchers to declare it a unique species in 2000. Gunnison County, Colorado.  Photo by Gerrit Vyn.

Strutting male Gunnison Sage-Grouse. The display of this speceis differs significantly from that of the Greater Sage-Grosue and led researchers to declare it a unique species in 2000. Gunnison County, Colorado. Photo by Gerrit Vyn.

Story by Andy Johnson; Photos by Gerrit Vyn

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Multimedia Production team has spent the past three years producing an hour-long documentary about the iconic sagebrush steppe of the American west. On May 20th, at 8/7c, The Sagebrush Sea aired nationally on PBS, as part of the award-winning series, NATURE. Check your local PBS station for future viewing times. You can also stream the film online for free on the PBS / Nature website.

Gerrit Vyn, photographer and producer at the Cornell Lab and iLCP fellow, has spent much of the past few years documenting the sagebrush steppe for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Sagebrush Project included a magazine article in Living Bird, educational web interactives, and an hour-long documentary for PBS / Nature, The Sagebrush Sea. In today’s shifting media landscape, increasingly rooted in web and multimedia, conservation itself (in turn, rooted in communication and education) is also expanding its media toolbox.

I recently sat down with Gerrit to discuss how the intersection of conservation photography with filmmaking and web production can benefit a core message. Continue reading

Low Light Visions by Nevada Wier

© Nevada Wier 2014. Kerala, India: Fire dancer, Theyyam Festival. Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 1/125sec at f/3.5, ISO 1600 Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash not fired.

© Nevada Wier 2014.
Kerala, India: Fire dancer, Theyyam Festival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 1/125sec at f/3.5, ISO 1600
Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash not fired.

 

Nevada is one of the featured keynote speakers at the 2015 NANPA Summit taking place in San Diego, California from February 19th – 22nd. To learn more about the Summit and to register for this exciting and inspirational event, please visit  www.naturephotographysummit.com

 

Images and Story by Nevada Wier

Photographing in low light is particularly challenging, but immensely satisfying — if you can overcome the difficulties. However, it is these kinds of situations that stimulate me as a photographer. I know that it is these times when it is more possible to create what I call a “snowflake photo”: one that no one else has in his or her portfolio. So I seek out the difficult light and perspectives. Of course, that also means that the chance of failure is high; I have to work extra hard in these situations. I am on alert, paying attention, anticipating the action and seeking out whatever light is available.

One is definitely constrained by the quality of their equipment. Sorry, an iPhone is not going to be the camera of choice for photographing at night or inside a hut lit by a candle – unless you are going for an abstract with high noise. Many digital camera sensors are not able to produce a relatively noise-free image at an extremely high ISO. Unless you have a top-of-the-line camera that can handle 1600 ISO or more, the highest exploitable ISO for most cameras ranges between 400–1600 ISO. Another limiting factor is the lens. If you are using a zoom lens that has a minimum aperture of f/4.5, it is going to be problematic. Not only will you not have a fast enough shutter speed, the lens will not be able to quickly and accurately focus in dim light. And, it is critical to pay attention to the focusing. During the day in strong light focusing quickly is easy and accurate; it only takes a quick press of the focus button to be accurate (I use the back * button on my Canon for focusing and to set a specific focal point). In low light it is important to squeeze the focus button until you see the focus alert signal in the viewfinder. Sometimes I have to use manual assist. Occasionally I need to shine a flashlight on my subject so I can focus.

Sometimes I use flash but not for a primary source of light, rather to pop color or stop the action with a slow shutter speed. A flash is always a secondary source of light. I usually go to the highest ISO that I am comfortable using and on my Canon 5D MarkIII I rarely go above 1600 ISO; if I can I much prefer to stay at 800 ISO or lower. I photograph primarily on Shutter Priority, but in low light I sometimes switch to Aperture Priority when I want to stay at a wide-open aperture. However, I do like slow shutter speeds (and I’m not afraid to hand-hold at ½ sec. or slower) in combination with flash, either for panning or having a flash stop the action within a blur, so there is sharpness within a sense of motion. I carry a number of different gels for my flash so the flash outputs blends seamlessly with the ambient light. I usually keep my white balance on Daylight unless there is an abundance of red, and then I use Auto (red is a difficult color to desaturate, it tends towards purple).

I make sure my exposure is absolutely perfect; better too light than too dark. I constantly check my histogram. At a high ISO you do not want to have to lighten your image in post processing and expose ugly noise. Honestly, I rarely use a tripod. I don’t like to walk around with them. The photographs I’m showing you on this blog are all hand-held. In fast moving situations it is difficult to use a tripod, and in crowds – forget about it! Knowing how to use flash appropriately is a big key to success.

© Nevada Wier 2014. Barranquilla, Colombia: Carnival. Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/50sec at f/3.2, ISO 1600. Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

© Nevada Wier 2014. Barranquilla, Colombia: Carnival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/50sec at f/3.2, ISO 1600.
Shutter Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

I mentioned earlier that it is important to anticipate so that one can be in the front of a crowd. I am used to “wiggling” myself into a good location. There is a fine line between being assertive and aggressive, but I don’t want to end up in the back of a huge crowd.

I expect a lot of failures; in fact I mostly have failures in these kinds of situations, as they are technically and often socially difficult. However, all I need is one great image! I try as many shutter speeds as possible; depth of field is not a critical concern to me at these times. I try slow shutter speeds with or without panning, usually with the flash on. I turn the flash off and work with natural light. I try everything! I always say, “If you don’t try, you don’t get”. And, often what one gets is that magical snowflake image.

© Nevada Wier 2013. Bagan, Myanmar: Ananada Festival. Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/100sec at f/4, ISO 1600. Aperture Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

© Nevada Wier 2013. Bagan, Myanmar: Ananada Festival.
Canon 5DMarkIII, Canon 24 f/1.4, 1/100sec at f/4, ISO 1600.
Aperture Priority. Evaluative Metering. Daylight White Balance. Flash Fired.

 

Nevada Wier is a multiple award-winning photographer specializing in the remote corners of the globe and the cultures that inhabit them. Her journeys have her crisscrossing the world in search of compelling travel experiences and images. To read more about Nevada, view her extraordinary photography and get information about her photo workshops and tours, visit her website at www.nevadawier.com.

 

Flip Nicklin: A Life Among Whales

Flip Nicklin is one of the featured keynote speakers at the 2015 NANPA Summit taking place in San Diego, California from February 19th – 22nd. Flip will also lead of one of the Pre-Summit Boot Camp sessions. To learn more about the Summit and to register for this exciting and inspirational event, please visit  www.naturephotographysummit.com. Early bird registration ends on October 31st! 

 

Humpback whale mother and young; Hawaii. © Flip Nicklin

Humpback whale mother and young; Hawaii. © Flip Nicklin

Forty feet below me she hovers quietly. She’s 45 feet long and 80,000 pounds, and her bulk hides her 15-foot-long calf. The calf makes his way out from under her chin to take a few breaths at the surface. On his way back to his mother, the young humpback spots me near the research boat and gives me a good look. After 35 years of photographing cetaceans professionally, situations like this still bring a smile to my face.

The lives of whales aren’t always serene, though. Only a few days after I spot the mother with her calf, our research team finds a dozen male humpbacks fighting over a female. The battle is brutal; many of the whales have open bloody scrapes on the tops of their bodies. Despite whales’ occasional reputation as “gentle giants,” I would never use the word “gentle” to describe these violent, occasionally fatal encounters in the winter breeding grounds off the coast of Hawaii. Continue reading