Set Goals, Be Intentional

The Nature Photographer episode #23 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Editorial images must meet the photo editor’s requirements while also delivering something unique and intriguing for the publication. Consider having just one or two subjects for the year, like getting more and/or better photos of ducks, so you can offer a wide array of images of one subject to photo editors. © Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Jason Loftus share their goals for the year ahead, helping us think about how to be better photographers and have better photography businesses. Hear what these three are doing to narrow their focus, make intentional choices, and avoid the temptation to chase subject matter—from RED Ranger Helium cameras to camera trap setups, waterfowl portfolios, American dippers, field journals, and not undermining the value of their work. Get tips and ideas to help you set a goal and see it through—no matter what time of year you begin. 

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2021 Year in Review: Perfect Moments, Missed Photographs, and New Opportunities

The Nature Photographer episode #22 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft recount their favorite moments in the field in 2021, including the times they had their equipment and everything was perfect as well as a few almost moments. From a perfect elk rut morning to a BBC project, winter in Yellowstone to a brilliantly colored cross fox, a bucket list image of caribou swimming in well lit blue water to unexpected weasels and a wolf with a haunting, somber howl 90 minutes after sunset, these special moments prove not only that it’s not always about taking the photo but also that it’s possible to feel jealous and happy for another photographer at the same time. Plus: highlights of NANPA’s 2021 and a preview of what’s to come from NANPA and Wild and Exposed in 2022.

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Seize Every Moment, Every Day featuring Lee Hoy

The Nature Photographer episode #21 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Sun Rays, Clouds and Storms, Study Butte and Terlingua, Big Bend National Park © Lee Hoy

At the age of 48, Lee Hoy asked, “How old do you have to be before you finally say, ‘I’m ready to be what I wanted to be when I was growing up’?” Life had already taught him once that he was capable of starting all over again if he lost everything, so he moved to the Davis Mountains of north Texas, just outside of Big Bend National Park, and built a new career on decades of photographing and birdwatching. In this episode Lee tells Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, and Mark Raycroft about his adventures traveling 61 of the last 67 days, how to use Olympus’ live composite mode to photograph lightning, and why playing with your gear in your backyard or local park is the best way to prepare for a trip.

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Be the Change, Make a Difference

A least tern feeds a fish to his young while the mate watches and broods another chick under her wing. 1200mm, 1/1000, f/8, 1/3 EV, ISO 250 © Mary Lundeberg
A least tern feeds a fish to his young while the mate watches and broods another chick under her wing. 1200mm, 1/1000, f/8, 1/3 EV, ISO 250 © Mary Lundeberg

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Are you a change agent? Do you want to make a difference? Now’s your chance! In honor of its 25th birthday, the NANPA Foundation set an ambitious goal to raise $25,000 and is well over half way there. This week, an anonymous donor offered to match, dollar for dollar up to $2,500, all donations to the NANPA Foundation.

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The Beauty of Autumn

Photo of a colorful sunset over a distant mountain, will fall color in the trees in the middle ground and a beaver pond in the foreground. An abundant summer monsoon season and warm temperatures kept Colorado’s fall colors vibrant and extended the season late into October throughout the state. © Dawn Wilson
An abundant summer monsoon season and warm temperatures kept Colorado’s fall colors vibrant and extended the season late into October throughout the state. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

Where did fall go? How many of us have said that?

Autumn is probably a favorite season for most nature photographers. We love to capture the vibrant colors, the activity of mating animals, and fleeting visits of migrating birds. I know that is the case for me, and it was another great season in Colorado. Although the bighorn sheep rut has just started to ramp up and the deer rut is just around the corner, the colors are almost finished after a spectacular show across the Centennial State.

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Plains, Cranes and Watersheds featuring Michael Forsberg

The Nature Photographer episode #20 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Platte Basin Timelapse Project is a long-term documentary project that helps build community around a shared watershed. © Michael Forsberg

Nebraska-based conservation photographer Michael Forsberg started with a simple question, Where does your water come from? More than 10 years and 3 million images later, the Platte Basin Time Lapse project continues to produce stories and inspire undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Nebraska and beyond. Hear how Mike and his partners are building community around a watershed. Plus, hear about Mike’s journey to document the migration path of sandhill cranes, a new project on whooping cranes, and other fun things he loves to photograph in the Great Plains.

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North Carolina Photographer Wins NANPA Nature Photography Day Bioblitz Grand Prize

Photo of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in flight © Sam Ray
Ruby-throated Hummingbird © Sam Ray

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Back in June, many photographers joined in the NANPA Nature Photography Day Bioblitz, an eleven-day citizen-science project. A bioblitz is an event created to find and identify as many species as possible in a given area over a limited period of time. All observations are uploaded to an iNaturalist project. During the NANPA event, participants made close to 10,000 observations of over 3,000 species, 97 of which were threatened species. All this data is now available to scientists and researchers. To add a little excitement, several of NANPA’s generous sponsors contributed to prize packages. North Carolina-based nature photographer Sam Ray won the random drawing for a Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens.

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Be a Better Naturalist featuring Alyce Bender

The Nature Photographer episode #19 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Alyce loves photographing mustangs in fall and leads photo tours to help others discover and photograph these living legends of the American West © Alyce Bender

Full-time nature photographer Alyce Bender reveals her secret to better wildlife images and to traveling safely alone: be a better naturalist. Hear how observing animal behavior helps Alyce stay aware of her surroundings and anticipate a great action photo. Plus, find out how boredom in the field and a desire to make the best of an imperfect opportunity—like a pronghorn in harsh light—inspire Alyce’s most creative imagery. This expert car camper and military veteran has lived all over the world, including 10 months traveling the U.S. in an RV with her two dogs. Hear about some of her favorite locations, including where she went this summer—logging 12,000 miles in just 11 weeks!

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Get Your Story Out There featuring Morgan Heim

The Nature Photographer episode #18 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Image from conservation and adventure film Deer 139 © Morgan Heim

Conservation photographer and filmmaker Morgan Heim knows how to tell a story. It might take climbing 25 feet up the Astoria-Megler Bridge at slack tide to attach two time lapse cameras over the Columbia River—known as “the Graveyard of the Pacific”—or following a mule deer on an 85-mile migratory path over the Wyoming Range and Salt River Range, but getting the story and getting it out into the world are two of Morgan’s specialties. The keys, she tells co-hosts Dawn Wilson, Michael Mauro, Ron Hayes, and Jason Loftus, include finding the collaborators who can do what you can’t and building buy-in for yourself as an individual, not just the product you’re trying to produce. Learn more about her conservation filmmaking class, her “half-assed ideas” notebook, and the double-crested cormorants project that she’s working on now. 

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Are You Physically Prepared for Field Work?

The Nature Photographer episode #17 on Wild & Exposed podcast

There are lots of ways to prepare your body for field work, even a simple daily walk on uneven terrain can help. © Jason Loftus

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft talk about daily hikes, canoeing, cycling, or even hiring a personal trainer for targeted HIIT training to prepare for the unique demands of a specific trip. How do you prepare for rugged terrain, high elevations, heavy camera gear, or simply staying hydrated? Hear how these photographers build endurance and strength and reduce the risk for injury for those grueling days when the pedometer hits 20,000 steps. “The more fit that you can be and the more prepared that you can be, the better your opportunities are.”

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