24 Inspirational Nature Photos for These Trying Times

Showcase 2020 Best in Show, Birds: “Sandhill Cranes at Sunset in Central New Mexico” © Keith Bauer.
Showcase 2020 Best in Show, Birds: “Sandhill Cranes at Sunset in Central New Mexico” © Keith Bauer.

Stuck at home with schools, parks and restaurants closed?  Tired of practicing “social distancing” during the COVID-19 outbreak?  Give yourself a break from the chaos and anxiety and spend a few minutes with spectacular images that were judged the top 24 photos in North American Nature Photography Association’s (NANPA) Nature Photography Showcase.

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Membership Has Benefits Beyond the Obvious

Photo of a bird in a tree by Tom Haxby.
Photo by Tom Haxby.

By NANPA President Tom Haxby

Fellow board member Lisa Langell recently shared with me a member survey from another photography organization which had been used to assess their member benefits and services. Serendipity, perhaps, because lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the benefits of being a NANPA member.

More than Pretty Pictures

When I joined NANPA just over 10 years ago, I did so because I was interested in nature photography and believed membership could help me improve my photographs. But I discovered that NANPA is about more than just taking better nature photos.

At the NANPA Summit in Jacksonville in 2017, and again in Las Vegas in 2019, I learned that nature photography is about more than just pretty pictures. It’s also about using photos to affect change.

In Jacksonville, Clyde Butcher spoke about efforts to save Florida’s natural areas and shared his own conservation work. His presentation was complemented by a video, created by NANPA’s Summit College Photography Scholarship Program participants, about attempts to connect these areas to create greenway corridors.

Several of the presentations in Las Vegas on conservation challenges in the Arctic were really eye-opening. Other Summit presenters like Clay Bolt and Andrew Snyder inspired me with their work on rare, threatened and endangered species through the Meet Your Neighbours technique. Because of them, I now have my own Meet Your Neighbours setup. 

I’ve seen how conservation photography can make a difference. Want to get started? NANPA’s recently-published Conservation Handbook is available to anyone interested in learning how. Find it in the Members’ Area of the NANPA website or click below.

Cover of the NANPA Conservation Photography Handbook

Ethics and Advocacy

Speaking of handbooks, we currently have available on our website a guide to the Principles of Ethical Field Practices. But that is just the beginning! NANPA has undertaken a much more extensive project to create a handbook on the ethics of nature photography. Your membership helps support large undertakings such as this that will allow NANPA to take a leadership role in educating photographers on ethics. Quite frankly, this is very much needed as the overzealous pursuit of nature and wildlife photos threatens both scenic places and the plants and animals we love photographing. And bad behavior threatens continued access to these places by photographers.

Your membership has also helped support our work on behalf of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (CASE Act of 2019). If passed by Congress and signed into law, the CASE Act would provide photographers with the option of pursuing infringers in a small claims-type of process instead of federal district court. Read more about how the CASE Act will help photographers

Friendship and Networking

I will always remember the NANPA Regional Events that I attended in the Smokies and Upper Peninsula of Michigan—for the great images and friendships made. It will be my great pleasure to now be a regional event leader, myself, in the Smokies this spring with Hank Erdmann. NANPA has many more Regional Events scheduled for all levels of photographers in various parts of the country.

There are larger events, too, that offer many of the same benefits but on a bigger scale. Just around the corner is our second Nature Photography Celebration in Asheville, NC, April 19-21. These Celebrations provide opportunities for shooting, interaction with vendors, learning, networking and more. Asheville is a great place to be in April.

Travel and Equipment Insurance

As I move about the country with my photo gear in airports, cars, and on location, I am thankful that I have insurance on my photography equipment underwritten by Chubb in association with NANPA. You can find information about this and all the other NANPA member benefits in the Members’ Area of the website.

And Taking Better Pictures, Too

All that being said, my membership has also helped me improve my nature photos, just as I originally anticipated when I joined.

During my time with NANPA, I have entered the Showcase Competition, and I have been fortunate to have a few photos published in Expressions. (It’s a great source of ideas and inspiration so order your copy now!) This gave me confidence that I could get great images because, the reality is, if you want to be taken seriously as a nature photographer, quality matters.

I have attended many memorable webinars, both live and recorded. These sessions are free for members and a great way to learn or refresh photography skills. Best of all, you can participate at your own convenience, from wherever you are. Our next webinar, sponsored by Tamron on February 13 is Getting the Most from Your Long Lens with Bob Coates. Sign up or watch a recording of a previous webinar in the Members’ Area.

Sandhill Cranes flying together © Bob Coates.
Sandhill Cranes © Bob Coates.

Portfolio reviews, offered at each Summit hosted in odd-numbered years, provide another opportunity for learning from industry professionals including but not limited to agents and editors. We are currently working on logistics for our next Summit in Tucson in 2021, so stayed tuned for that.

Blog articles are yet another source of education and inspiration, and I especially enjoyed the recent article by Bill Palmer on Chasing Spring Warblers. There will be plenty of warblers—and photographers—at this year’s Biggest Week in Birding Festival at Magee Marsh in Ohio at which, by the way, you can find the NANPA booth. Note that our blog is separate from our regular member and non-member news lists, so if you do not already get NANPA blog posts in your email, you can subscribe on the right hand side of any of them (including this one).

Perhaps you might be interested in submitting a blog post too. What a great chance to expose your photos (pun intended) and stories to fellow NANPA members. Just send a note to publications@nanpa.org. That’s what we mean when we talk about “sharing” within NANPA. Everyone is both a teacher and student here.

That’s true regardless of age. As I highlighted in last month’s blog post, young nature photographers are becoming members and getting opportunities through NANPA’s high school and college scholarship programs, both of which are made possible in part due to your support of the NANPA Foundation. By the way, the Foundation’s Online Auction has some great items up for bidding starting February 3rd.  All proceeds go towards funding Foundation programs.

What Will You Do?

Gordon Illg has been known to tell me that I ramble, so I need to wrap up. But there really is a lot going on at NANPA, and I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities. We are working hard to make NANPA a place for nature photographers to achieve all of their nature photography dreams. What will you do this year to help you reach yours?

Exclusive opportunity for NANPA members

Laptop on desk showing NANPA website

NANPA members are encouraged to share stories, tips, and how-to articles on our blog. Not as gifted at writing as you are photography? No problem. We can help you craft a post.

NANPA Weekly Wow: July 25-31

Starry Night in trees, Shenandoah NP © Joyce Harman

Starry Night in trees, Shenandoah NP © Joyce Harman

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the 2016 NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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NANPA Weekly Wow: July 18-25

Great Blue with Snake, Green Cay, Palm Beach County, FL © Michael Cohen

Great Blue with Snake, Green Cay, Palm Beach County, FL © Michael Cohen

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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NANPA Weekly Wow

Giant Clam Detail, Banda Sea, Indonesia © Peter Hartlove

Giant Clam Detail, Banda Sea, Indonesia © Peter Hartlove

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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NANPA Weekly Wow

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) stops for a portrait in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming © Dawn Wilson

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) stops for a portrait in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming © Dawn Wilson

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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NANPA Weekly Wow

Pink Poppies, Weatherford, TX © Denise Remfert

Pink Poppies, Weatherford, TX © Denise Remfert

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

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NANPA Weekly Wow

Showcase9

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by: Continue reading

NANPA Weekly Wow

Showcase8
(scroll down for this week’s images…)

Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

James Heupel – “3 Humminbirds trying to feed on flower, Pichincha Province, Ecuador”

Christopher Gray – “Milky Way at Dead Vlie, Namibia, Africa”

Diane McAllister – “Kodiak bears, Uganik River Kodiak AK”

Mark Hayward – “Arctic Fox, Nanuvat Territory, Canada”

William Tyler – “Pholcid spider holding eggs in her jaws., La Selva Beach, California”

Bill Klipp – “Brown Pelican Diving, Varadero Cuba”

Cindy Goeddel – “Fox Mousing Jump:Peter Pan and His Shadow, Yellowstone National Park”

This Week’s Images

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This Week’s NANPA Showcase Images

 

Showcase7Each week www.nanpa.org highlights 7 images from the top 100 submissions of the NANPA Showcase competition. This week’s images are by:

David Francis – “Intergalactic lens zoom of the Milky Way, Acadia State Park, Maine”

John Norvell – “Waterfall in heavy rain, Davis, WV”

Marie Read – “Cedar Waxwing eating crabapple, Ithaca, New York”

Stephen Weaver – “Mammatus clouds over the prairie, El Paso County, Colorado”

Jerry Bauer – “Olive ridley sea turtle, Playa La Flor National Wildlife Refuge”

Mary Louise Ravese – “Himalayan Blue Poppy flower close-up, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA”

John Trone – “Polar bear rim light portrait, Svalbard” Continue reading