How the NANPA Program Impacted Me

Story and Photography by Jorel Cuomo

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 9.52.49 PMWhen I attended NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program (NHSSP) in 2004 in Portland, my eyes opened to exploring wildlife photography as a medium. I greatly benefited from the one-on-one instruction and support of fellow photographers, both peers and mentors. Before attending this program, I never knew all this support existed; I felt that I was exploring nature and my camera by myself. Being a scholarship winner gave me the opportunity to harness my potential. Being surrounding by world-class photographers that shared their knowledge and experience opened my eyes to the possibilities that awaited me in our magnificent world.

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© Jill Stanley Leach

© Jill Stanley Leach

John Nuhn is the former photography director of National Wildlife magazine, the flagship award-winning publication of the National Wildlife Federation. He also served as photo editor of NW’s sister publication, International Wildlife, until its demise in 2002. The two magazines earned 35 photography awards during John’s tenure. John left NWF in 2013 to pursue personal projects. Early in his career, he was assistant editor, associate editor and later managing editor of a small Wisconsin book publishing company. A self-taught photographer and former U.S. Navy officer, John holds a degree in journalism from Marquette University. He is a founder of NANPA and served as its president. He also served as president of the NANPA Foundation and continues on that board as a trustee. John is a charter affiliate member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and a past national board member and chapter president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He has been a speaker, panelist and judge at numerous forums, including many NANPA Summits and the NANPA Showcase competition, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s conference on nature photography, Maine Photo Workshops, Valley Land Fund competitions, Photography at the Summit, Guilfoyle Report Photo Awards, International Wildlife Film Festival, Images for Conservation Fund’s Pro-Tour competition, FotoWeekDC, the Lucie Awards, Photo District News competitions and Outdoor Writers Association conferences.

Do you have a “day” job? What do you do?

Some people can say I’ve retired, but since leaving NWF, I’ve been pretty busy. My day job now consists of working on my own projects and continuing volunteer efforts for NANPA and iLCP. One of my big personal projects is scanning and adding metadata for the thousands of transparencies, negatives and prints currently sitting disorganized in my closet. Most of these go back to my junior high days, and my university is interested in those from my college years. But there are also hundreds of images made by my father and other relatives, essentially the family archives. The earliest images I’ve come across are prints of my maternal grandfather as a one-year-old in 1891, and my paternal grandmother with her family in 1894. My hope is to have these images available for current and future family members, assuming tiff files will still be readable then.

Also, I now have a role as househusband since Shirley continues to teach and do freelance jobs. I’m getting work done around the house that I couldn’t do when I was on the magazine staff. And I’m enjoying more outdoor activities during the week, not just on weekends.

How have you been involved in NANPA or the NANPA Foundation?

Over the years I’ve served in many roles, because I wanted NANPA to be a success. In October 1993, I was invited to participate as a panelist in the first-ever nationwide gathering of nature photographers, editors, agents and enthusiasts. The conference was organized by Roger Tory Peterson and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York. At the meeting’s conclusion, a group of us met to discuss starting a nature photography association.

Through some conference calls and a constructive meeting in Denver over the next few months, NANPA was formed. I was one of the founding board members and also served on the first elected board. Following Mark Lukes and the late Jane Kinne, I was named NANPA’s third president.

At the Summits I’ve been a major speaker and an emcee, as well as serving as a panelist or moderator numerous times. Portfolio reviewing was an important part of my job, and I’ve been a reviewer at every Summit except 2010 in Reno, when the mid-Atlantic received a number of back-to-back snowstorms and I couldn’t get out of my neighborhood. It’s the only Summit I’ve missed.

In 1998, I served as acting editor of Currents for a few issues, and I’ve been a judge for the Showcase competition.

In the early days of NANPA, one of the roles of the past-president was to join the NANPA Foundation’s Board of Trustees so that the Foundation could benefit from the experience of past presidents. I became a trustee in 1999 and remain on the board today. I was elected the Foundation’s third president, once more following Mark Lukes and Jane Kinne. I believe the Foundation, as a 501(c)3 organization, can have a real impact on NANPA’s educational efforts through funding from corporations and individual donors such as all of us members.

What NANPA committees have you served on–when, and what positions and responsibilities have you assumed?

Many of the founding board members also served as chairs of the newly formed committees, and I was the first chair of the Membership Committee. I also joined the Ethics Committee, helping to draft the Ethics of Field Practices and the Truth in Captioning statement. And I joined the Communications Committee at the time, and later the History Committee, which I currently chair.

As president, I was very involved in the 1999 San Diego Summit. I joined the Summit Committee the following year to help in planning and in putting together brochures. I stayed on the committee for 12 years. I took on the task of pre- and post-Summit chair for the 2002 Summit, and was program chair for the 2003 Summit and co-chair for the 2004 Summit.

What was it about your involvement in NANPA that interested you most?

The nature photography industry in North America sorely needed an organization to promote and advocate for nature photography, to educate those interested in improving their photography, and provide better communication among the various parts of the industry. None of this existed prior to 1994. I also saw NANPA as a means to establish some standards regarding business, marketing and ethics.

What were your greatest accomplishments for NANPA?

Two of the earliest decisions made by the founding board during our discussion in Jamestown were to call it a “photography” association, because it was not meant to be only for photographers, and that it include all of North America. The idea was to make NANPA inclusive. I’ve watched it evolve through the years, surviving financial and other problems that face nearly every new organization. It has attracted attention and members outside North America. I hope that my efforts have helped it grow.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

I’m a charter member, joining in 1994.

Do you have a goal as it pertains to NANPA or a committee you work on?

As a student of history, I believe NANPA’s Oral History Project may well be its lasting achievement. Members of the History Committee have completed 22 oral histories thus far, including interviews with industry legends and leaders such as Jim Brandenburg, Ann Guilfoyle, Philip Hyde, Jane Kinne, George Lepp, Les Line, David Muench, Boyd Norton, Leonard Lee Rue and Art Wolfe. Their oral histories represent an important legacy of their work and impact on nature photography.

VOLUNTEERS: Joe and Mary Ann McDonald


Mary Ann and Joe McDonald are professional wildlife photographers who, together, lead photography tours around the world and teach photo workshops at their home, Hoot Hollow, in central Pennsylvania. Their images appear in many national and international nature magazines, calendars and books. Mary Ann is the author of 29 natural history children’s books. She has gone to many elementary schools as a visiting author and has written a coffee table book on the Amish. Joe is the author of six how-to photography books. He is co-author of a book on digital nature photography with Mary Ann and fellow photographer Rick Holt, and he and Mary Ann have written a book and produced a video for Photographing on Safari. Joe has written several coffee table books on jaguars and tigers and is currently writing books on Indian wildlife, creatures of the night, world’s deadliest creatures and camouflage in nature. Mary Ann’s photography awards include two first-place awards and several other awards in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, first place in the Nature’s Best Photography competition and first place in the old AGFA competition in South Africa. Joe has won first place in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition as well as several second and third places. This will be Mary Ann and Joe’s 28th year leading photo safaris to East Africa, and next year they will celebrate 100 treks to Rwanda to photograph the mountain gorillas. Joe became a NANPA Fellow in 2002 and Mary Ann in 2010. (Note: The following questions were answered by Mary Ann.)

Do you have a “day” job? What do you do?

We are full-time professional wildlife and nature photographers who have been doing this together for 28 years now. We teach photo workshops at our house, Hoot Hollow, in central Pennsylvania. We lead photo tours around the world. We sell images both through photo stock agencies and out of our office. We give evening lectures to different organizations as well as public lectures on wildlife photography, ecotourism and conservation issues, such as saving biodiversity. We write magazine articles as well as photography how-to books, coffee table books and natural history books for children. As you can see, wildlife and nature photography is our passion, our life, our career and just about everything for us.

How have you been involved in NANPA?

Joe is a founding member of NANPA and we are both NANPA Fellows. Joe has been on the Board of Directors and has taught workshops at some of the Summits. We were keynote speakers at one Summit, and I was the Master of Ceremonies at several. I’ve hosted both a live auction and a silent auction at the Summits, and I’ve had the privilege to auction off Jane Kinne’s favorite jacket. Both Joe and I helped to mentor the high school students by spending a day with them at several different Summits. We also worked with the college students by volunteering to look over their portfolios at a Summit. I helped to research and draft a proposal for NANPA way back when the airlines were changing their checked luggage policies. We both helped with a regional event in San Diego a few years back.

What were your greatest accomplishments or the highlights thus far of what you have done for NANPA?

Even though we were never on a committee (due to our hectic travel schedule), we’ve helped with projects throughout the years on a more unofficial level. Working with the high school kids was a highlight for us. We both love teaching, so we felt that working with the students was one of the most rewarding things we have ever volunteered to do with NANPA. Their talent was unbelievable and their ideas were so refreshing, so real and so passionate. It was fun to teach them different photography techniques and watch the light bulb go off and then for them to take the concept, the new technique, and take off with it to make it their own by creating some unique images. We usually worked with them in regards to flash photography. It was challenging but very rewarding as well.

MA-lucy-choc_COLOR-450x300Give me a stage and I am happy! It was fun emceeing the Summits and getting to meet some of my photography idols and then to introduce them to the crowd. I loved getting crazy and doing whatever it took for the cause. I played Marilyn Monroe at the silent auction, and for $100 I sang Happy Birthday to the highest bidder just like Marilyn did to JFK. I wore 22 or so items of clothing for the live auction and for every $500 we made, I took off an item. Luckily I didn’t have to go down to my bathing suit, but it was close. And of course there was the time I channeled some of Lucille Ball’s best comedic moments for my introduction.

Another of Joe’s accomplishments was serving on the Board of Directors.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

Joe is a founding member and I joined either in year two or three.

Do you have a goal as it pertains to NANPA?

As I said, we love to teach and want to continue to share our knowledge. Joe and I hope to be able to help with more regional events. We would like do a workshop at the next Summit or, wishful thinking, another keynote speech. We are hoping to have the time to do a webinar for the NANPA membership. And yes, I would love to emcee again sometime. It’s so much fun to get everybody revved up for a great Summit and to keep that energy going throughout. Who knows, maybe someday one of us will serve on the board again.

NANPA VOLUNTEER: Danita Delimont

VOLUNTEER-Danita-Delimont-2-2011-213x300Danita Delimont is a photo agent representing worldwide travel, nature and culture from 300 globally based photographers. She is CEO and founder of Danita Delimont Stock Photography. Danita brings more than 25 years of experience in licensing stock images to a broad base of editorial, travel and advertising clients. Owning and evolving a specialist library on her own terms—and being able to make sound decisions based on her experience in the industry—has been a win-win for anyone working with Danita. She received the prestigious Jane Kinne Picture Professional of the Year Award in 2009 by the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP), and NANPA honored her with a Fellows Award in 2007. Danita has served as a judge in various photo competitions and as a guest instructor at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and Seattle Central Community College. The agency website is

Do you have a “day” job? What do you do?

Yes, I do! In addition to working with photographers and clients worldwide through my stock agency, I also have many image partners in different global markets. We offer them our image content (and vice versa in some cases). By doing this, we reach customers who might never know us otherwise. Our international agents license the images in their time zones, in their languages and at price points appropriate for their parts of the world. While the U.S. market is huge because there are so many people here, other countries have far fewer “eyes” that will see the work. Rates vary with circulation numbers.

On any given day I converse with photographers, colleagues and clients in many different countries on a myriad of topics. The internet and Skype capabilities without question have made the photo industry a global market. Today, for instance, I’ve talked to people in Brazil, Poland, Germany, France, Japan, Korea and Australia, not to mention the United States. Every day is different, and in-between it all, I’m editing thousands of incoming low-res submissions and reviewing way too many contracts. (They take forever.) I also interact with my staff to make sure that everything gets done in a timely manner and we’re on top of things. I travel to trade shows and conferences throughout the year, so I’m thankful for my capable staff who keep everything organized and under control. I couldn’t do it without them.

How have you been involved in NANPA?

I served on the Foundation Board for nine years and was grateful for the mentorship and experience of Jane Kinne throughout. Raising money for the student programs has never been easy, but we did our best. I think keeping the photo blinds program alive was especially significant. So many photographers can now shoot in the blinds located on national wildlife refuges throughout the country and get up close with the animals.

I’ve presented material at different programs over the years, usually in the capacity of a photo agent. In San Diego this year, I presented a program on the Advance Your Business Pro Day that covered the realities of licensing images in 2015 and how (and why) the different licensing models have changed so much over the last few years. Flexibility is key in this business.

I was honored to judge the 2014 Showcase competition and delighted to see so many fantastic images from NANPA members. Because judging for that competition is blind and there are other judges, it was fun to see what the overall winning pictures turned out to be.

Over the years I’ve written various articles for Currents, based on the stock industry and the role I’ve played or offering advice on how photographers can be better organized, license their work, etc.

I’ve also reviewed portfolios at every Summit since 1999 in San Diego. That was a turning point in my life. It was then that I resigned from working with Wolfgang Kaehler, a worldwide travel and nature photographer, after 18 years and began the path I am on now.

What was it about the work you’ve done with NANPA that held your interest?

Working with like-minded people is always inspiring. Because I’ve had a home office for more than 35 years (!), it’s important to get out of the office and gather with industry colleagues on all levels. Working with ASPP (national president 2000-2001 and West Coast president for many years) and DMLA (formerly known as PACA, now called the Digital Media Licensing Association), as well as NANPA, has given me a wider perspective on the overall industry and how we all need to work together in as much harmony as possible. Working for Wolfgang prior to starting my agency gave me the photographer’s perspective and an understanding, from a business perspective, of what it takes to travel the world and be a successful photographer.

What are the highlights thus far of what you have done for NANPA?

I think sharing my agency knowledge with members is one thing that I’m especially proud of. Since I work for myself, no one can fire me. This has freed me up to speak openly and let people know what’s really going on out there in the world of stock photography.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

I’m a charter member. I knew when NANPA was first established that it would be a great organization to be a part of.

Do you have a goal as it pertains to NANPA ?

My goal is to continue sharing my knowledge on whatever level I can. Getting information on licensing stock images isn’t so easy for photographers these days. It’s also tough to know why images sell as they do and how to price them for different kinds of uses. This is the information that I can help with. We can always learn something new. Maybe I’ll become a photographer someday, but I doubt it. I know the composition, I can see the light, but I just don’t have the patience to take the time to learn how to handle a camera. To sit in the bush waiting for wildlife would probably drive me crazy, too! I was a Girl Scout and spent years camping in national parks with my family and wandering the trails. “I love to go a-wandering. Along the mountain track….” That’s me!

VOLUNTEER: William Jaynes

Bill-JAYNES-pikFor 11 years Bill Jaynes managed the Inner Reflections engagement calendar, which specializes in publishing superlative nature photography. During those years, many of the best nature photographers in the world said that each year Inner Reflections set the standard for nature photography. The Calendar Marketing Association has stated that Inner Reflections won more gold, silver and bronze awards in its annual competitions than any other calendar in its history. This includes all types of calendars from around the world. In 2006 alone, Inner Reflections won four gold and four silver CMA awards.

Bill has given generously of his time to NANPA by doing portfolio reviews, judging the Showcase competition and sharing his expertise in writing and editing as an integral part of the Communications Committee. He received a Fellows Award at the 2003 Summit for “…outstanding contributions to the field of nature photography.” Continue reading


RobSheppardMany people know Rob Sheppard as the long-time editor of Outdoor Photographer. While still associated with that magazine as a contributing editor, Rob is also a photographer, author, naturalist and nature photographer, speaker, workshop leader, editor and videographer. He has worked to hone his craft to best present the natural world he loves to others. That world includes everything from a bee in his native plants garden to a visit to a national park. Rob has written and photographed a lot of books and magazine articles. What is most important to him about these projects is knowing that he has helped people become better photographers and gain an improved connection to nature. Rob has received a NANPA Fellow award. A short list of some of the books Rob has authored: Landscape Photography: From Snapshot to Great Shot, Magic of Digital Landscape Photography, The Magic of Digital Nature Photography, National Geographic Field Guide to Digital Photography, The Power of Black-and-White in Nature Photography and Reports from the Field (an iBook). See more on Rob at his website, and his blogs, and Continue reading


Conrad Obregon

Conrad Obregon

Conrad Obregon was born in Chicago and raised in New York City. He started taking photographs in 1951 and bought his first Nikon SLR in 1961. “My principal genre is birds,” he says, “and while I have had a few shows and sold some images, I consider myself an amateur.” Conrad photographs in New York City’s Central Park every week of the year, but he’s also traveled as far as Japan and Central America for photography. Continue reading


Don Carter

Don Carter

Don Carter is a fine-art nature and wildlife photographer from Illinois. His hope is that his images cause the viewer to wonder about his or her relationship with nature and how the land needs to be shared and the environment protected. Since his retirement from teaching in 2013, Don takes photographs full-time. “My wife and I love to camp,” says Carter. “We are on the road with our springer spaniel several months a year.” Don’s website is Continue reading


Jeff-Botkin-1What is your “day” job?

I am on the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of Utah, where I chair the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities. I am a pediatrician by training, although I no longer see patients.

Much of my time is devoted to ethical issues in medicine, particularly in human genetics, in pediatric medicine and in the conduct of biomedical research. Nature photography has been a long-standing interest of mine, and it has been fun to be involved in the many ethical issues in nature photography through NANPA. Continue reading

Volunteers of NANPA: Mac Stone

MacStone©Eric Zamora-0026

Mac Stone © Eric Zamora

What is your “day” job?

I run a non-profit conservation organization called Naturaland Trust, We protect ecologically important areas in Upstate South Carolina through land conservation.

What NANPA committees have you served on, when and what positions?

I currently serve on the High School Scholarship Committee as the chair.

What was it about this committee that interested you?

My first introduction to NANPA was through the scholarship program. I was an 18-year-old student, and it forever changed my career goals. Now, leading the committee, I’m able to develop a program that leverages the knowledge of its members and gives the students an experience they’ll never forget. I love teaching, and this is a perfect outlet.

What are the responsibilities you assumed?

We develop a week-long program for students at the NANPA summit.

What are your greatest accomplishments or the highlights thus far of what you have done for NANPA?

Leading the last High School Scholarship Program in Jacksonville was probably my most notable accomplishment.

Also, while teaching photography to kids in Honduras, I was able to help one of my students come to the 2008 NANPA Summit in Destin, Florida, where I served as his translator. Still today, he talks of this trip as a major milestone in his life.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

Twelve years.

Do you have a goal as it pertains to the High School Scholarship Committee?

My goal is to train the next generation of photographers and provide them with the same network and skills that have contributed to my professional career.