Eye Tracking or Single-Point AutoFocus?

The Nature Photographer episode #15 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft tackle another listener question in this short episode. With newer mirrorless cameras, do you still use single-point autofocus and anticipate the location of the animal’s eye? Hear which mirrorless cameras have the best eye tracking functions and in which situations it works best. Plus, find out why Mark is a late adopter of new technology and what even the mirrorless users in this group are doing in high risk/high reward situations in the field. You’ll also hear about a Canon April Fools’ Day joke that actually came to fruition.

Sometimes the camera chooses a bit differently than I would…it’s still just a tool for the photographer.

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No Better Time: Tips for Finding Locations and Subjects to Photograph

The Nature Photographer episode #13 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Using Google Maps is a great way to find nearby wildlife refuges when traveling, like Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, which Dawn Wilson visited while visiting southern Louisiana. © Dawn Wilson

Why does Mark Raycroft keep saying there’s no better time to be a nature photographer than right now? Because in this short episode, the crew answers a NANPA member/listener question about how to find locations to photograph a particular subject in a specific timeframe. Find out what tools and strategies Mark, Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Jason Loftus use to find a desired subject, or identify potential subjects in a desired area. Plus, hear why your attitude about the trip and the language you use when reaching out to other photographers may make all the difference in the outcome.

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The Things We Do for Love featuring “The Grebe Whisperer” Krisztina Scheeff

The Nature Photographer episode #12 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Krisztina Scheeff is known as “The Grebe Whisperer” around her home base of Lake Hodges in San Diego County, California, where she’s been studying and photographing Western and Clark’s grebes’ elaborate courtship rituals that include “rushing” or walking on water. Krisztina offers Dawn, Mark, and Michael insight into bird behavior, how workshops have changed since COVID 19, and how she chooses destinations for her photography tours—like her regular trips to rural Scotland and Ireland for dramatic landscapes, puffins, and, admittedly, the local pubs. She’s also got some packing advice, including why she travels with a tarp to lay on when working around birds. 

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Wildlife and Wild Lives featuring Joe and Mary Ann McDonald

The Nature Photographer episode #11 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Bengal Tiger © Joe and Mary Ann McDonald

2021 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award winners Joe and Mary Ann McDonald have been studying, photographing, and writing about wildlife together for nearly 35 years. They’ve photographed the Seven Big Cats of the World four different years, and both have won in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. In this episode, Joe and Mary Ann talk candidly with NANPA’s Dawn Wilson and Wild & Exposed‘s Mark Raycroft and Ron Hayes about their 107 treks—”so far,” Mary Ann is quick to add—to photograph mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Plus, hear what they’ve been photographing at home in Hoot Hollow during the pandemic and why they like Olympus gear.

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Not Losing Hope featuring Suzi Eszterhas

The Nature Photographer episode #10 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Endangered mountain gorilla (gorilla beringei) mother holding 5-month-old twin babies, Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda © Suzi Eszterhas

Wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas may occasionally get to choose from two dream jobs: jet off to Costa Rica to photograph a baby sloth born in a wine bar or jet off to Botswana to photograph a litter of newborn meerkats. But most of the time she’s waiting, putting all the pieces in place, and quietly nurturing something to fruition—whether that means staring at a termite mound for 10 days waiting for a baby to appear, working a big cat subject for two months straight, or building a book project over the course of several years.

Now she’s set her sights on making change in the nature photography industry, mentoring young female photographers through Girls Who Click, supporting gender and racial diversity in the field, and raising more than $200,000 to support conservation projects throughout the world. Join Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Suzi to hear more about these projects, how Suzi maintains her motivation, and why, as she puts it, “If you’re not learning, your career is done.”

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Get Your Eyes On featuring Steven David Johnson

The Nature Photographer episode #9 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Now that Steven David Johnson’s Vernal Pools e-book is published, the conservation photographer has been closely observing jumping spiders near his home along the Shenandoah River in Virginia © Steven David Johnson

Trained in studio art and digital media, Steven David Johnson is driven by curiosity to closely observe the natural world right outside his door. His work includes macro and ultra macro (2.5-5x magnification) conservation photography, including documentation of vernal pools where biodiversity is largely hidden from the uninformed eye in daylight. Steve tells NANPA’s Dawn Wilson and Wild & Exposed’s Ron Hayes and Mark Raycroft how he stumbled upon these temporary spring ponds while documenting salamander life in Virginia—on a personal blog largely for the benefit of family back home in New York. Find out what’s so special about a vernal pool, what you’re likely to find living in one, and how to photograph it. Plus, learn why Steve’s vintage Star Wars Hammerhead figures are key to getting a great image.

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What’s the Impact of that Photo? featuring Jennifer Leigh Warner

The Nature Photographer episode #8 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Grizzly 399 crosses a highway in Grand Teton National Park with dozens of photographers attempting to get a picture. © Jennifer Leigh Warner

What happens an hour, a month, a year, or a decade after we get our image and go home? How is that animal, wildflower, or habitat changed as a result of our actions in the field? What do the photographers around us that day perceive? And what conclusions do viewers make when they see the final published image? These are the questions that guide Jennifer Leigh Warner’s work as Chair of NANPA’s Ethics Committee—not a black and white list of rights and wrongs—and this is what Jennifer hopes we’ll keep in mind when deciding what’s the right photo for us—and the right way to get it and share it.

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Conservation Begins in Your Backyard featuring Andrew Snyder

The Nature Photographer episode #7 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Gladiator tree frog on a tree limb near camera, image by Andrew Snyder
Gladiator Tree Frog © Andrew Snyder

For biologists like NANPA Conservation Committee Co-Chair Andrew Snyder, a beautiful image isn’t everything. Nature photographers can contribute to scientific understanding of wildlife and ecosystems, support publication-quality research, and effect change in environmental issues like biodiversity loss, but only if we share our images—even the imperfect ones—with scientists. Andrew introduces Dawn and Ron to a handful of tools to help us do that. He also tells about discovering a new species of tarantula in the uplands of Guiana Shield, photographing grizzly bears with Art Wolfe and a team of young photographers in Katmai, and what he’s doing at home to nurture a love for nature in his 1-year-old daughter.

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No Such Thing as Competition featuring Jaymi Heimbuch

The Nature Photographer episode #6 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

Coyote (canis latrans) adult female, San Francisco, California © Jaymi Heimbuch

Conservation photographer Jaymi Heimbuch leads several initiatives that support the professional development of conservation photographers—and sometimes specifically female conservation photographers—across a wide range of age and experience levels. Dawn Wilson of NANPA and Mark Raycroft and Michael Mauro of Wild & Exposed talk with Jaymi about these projects and what drives her to devote so much of her time supporting others in her field. Hear how and why Jaymi is bolstering up her colleagues, plus why she’s optimistic about the time we’re living in right now.

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Seeing It Differently featuring Lisa Langell

The Nature Photographer episode #5 on Wild & Exposed Podcast

“Heads or Tails” images by Lisa Langell

Reverse engineering a nature image, giving people what they can’t get somewhere else, and creating educational experiences are just a few of the ways that Lisa Langell practices seeing things differently. Langell, a NANPA board member and ambassador for both Tamron and Fotopro, joins Dawn Wilson, Jason Loftus, and Ron Hayes to talk about creating nature images for use as high-end wall art and letting go of the expectations that limit what you get out of workshops, tours, and your camera. The goals is never to duplicate someone else’s image or workshop but to find your own niche, Lisa explains.

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