During 2020 and the COVID-19 quarantines, many of us took the time to think about what is important to us and what truly makes us happy. I am just one of the many people who did some self-reflection and now view my life with a new and different perspective. Like most of us, I realized that we don’t need to travel far to enjoy nature’s beauty. It took a pandemic to show me that beauty is also in my backyard or in a small county park close to me. Before COVID-19, I didn’t really see the beauty that surrounded me or, perhaps, took it for granted. COVID-19 showed me that many different bird species visit my backyard and that the species sometimes change with the seasons; that a wide variety of flowers bloom in my community; and that there are several local animal species that I have overlooked for the past 15 years that I’ve resided in New Jersey.
I have to think I’m not alone. Last fall, after six months of COVID-19 isolation, I found my finger sliding down my bucket list to try to find a destination that didn’t require getting on an airplane. Or driving for three days. Here’s one, the Great Smoky Mountains. Never been there, never done it. I hear they have waterfalls, and I love waterfalls. I think everyone does. They are universally fascinating, conveying both sublime power and at the same time, a sense of peace and serenity. I’ve tried for years to photograph them but my efforts have never been very satisfactory. I had never found the secret to conveying in my images what I was experiencing. It was time to try harder. So, in late October, Jeanne Marie and I headed east from St. Louis. My primary objective was to find and photograph as many waterfalls as I comfortably could, but the fall color would be reaching its peak and there’s a lot of wildlife in the Smokies, so who knew what else would jump in front of my camera?
All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.
The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, November 16, 2020. To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!
Story and photos by Tom Haxby, NANPA Board President
In my opinion there is nothing more wonderful for a nature photographer than to welcome spring in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Local and migrating birds are singing, blooming wildflowers are everywhere, waterfalls abound, and night skies on the Blue Ridge Parkway are amazing.
An unprecedented number of field events—combined with the kind of classroom sessions and vendor demonstrations you’ve come to expect of NANPA’s big signature events—are what make the 2020 Nature Photography Celebration in Asheville, North Carolina, special.
As you may already know, this year’s Celebration features six distinct educational tracks: night photography, birds, landscapes/scenics, flowers, fine art, and conservation. You can attend all of the workshops and field events in one track for deeper understanding of that area, or mix and mingle between tracks for a broader, more general experience of nature photography.
But what I’m most excited about is the field trips. If you’re like me and learn best when the camera’s actually in your hands, then Celebration is for you.