Weekly Wow! Week of June 29, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Leaping Lechwes” © Carol Grenier.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Leaping Lechwes” © Carol Grenier.

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, June 29, 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!

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A Visit to a Marshland

Gull on a Stump, Mill Creek Marsh
Gull on a stump, Mill Creek Marsh. 500mm, 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 560.

Story and photos by Sastry Karra

During February 2020, before the pandemic started, I went out with my camera on a cold but sunny day to Mill Creek Marsh. The marsh is a nature preserve in the New Jersey Meadowlands, near Secaucus, and is an interesting oasis of nature in an urban setting.

Photo of mallard ducks floating among the stumps in the marsh.
Mallards are among the year-round residents. 500mm, 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 450.

The Jersey Turnpike goes through the marsh, and it’s near shopping malls and subdivisions. Just across the Hackensack River is the Meadowlands Sports Complex. The skyline of Manhattan is visible in the distance. You wouldn’t expect to find a nature preserve here, but there it is. The 209-acre property was going to be drained for a housing development but, instead, was acquired by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in 1996.  Beginning in 1998 efforts were made to return the marsh to a more natural state, with the tidal flow reestablished and native plants and grasses replanted.  A 1.6 mile loop trail takes you through part of the wetlands.

Twisted Roots and Stumps of an Old Forest of Atlantic White Cedar Trees
Twisted roots and stumps of an old forest of Atlantic white cedar trees. 175mm, 1/1000, f/5, ISO 400.

Back in the 18th century, large portions of this area were covered in a forest of Atlantic white cedar trees, most of which were cut down to make roads and houses. Hundreds of stumps were uncovered in marsh enhancements since 1998. The marsh is on the Atlantic Flyway and more than 280 species of birds have been spotted here.

Photo of several gulls in the marsh, one of which is preening.
Preening. 500mm, 1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 400.

The unique vegetation in the marshland, reflections in the still water and the birds that rely on these wetlands combine for an impressive array of photographic choices. I’m looking forward to returning when it’s safer and as the region starts reopening.

The day I was there, the light was good and, as usual, I emphasized a fast shutter speed and allowed the camera to decide the aperture and ISO settings.

Aerial Reconnaissance: photo of a gull flying over the wetlands
Aerial Reconnaissance. 500mm, 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 400.

Jaganadha “Sastry” Karra was born in India, but left when he was 24 years old. For the past 27 years, he’s worked as an IT professional, and has been living in NJ since 2004.

During his spare time, he goes outdoors and takes nature photos, especially waterfalls. Along with his wife (who loves hiking), they go to many nearby state parks where he can experiment with different compositions. In the summer, when his friends play cricket, he’s been experimenting with sports photography. Find him on instagram at #sastrykarra, where he posts most of his pictures. On Facebook, he’s active in some photography forums, like NANPA. “Maybe I’ll see you there!” he says.

Weekly Wow! Week of June 22, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Female Anhinga Emerges From the Swamp” © Kelley Luikey
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Female Anhinga Emerges From the Swamp” © Kelley Luikey

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, June 22, 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!

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Weekly Wow! Week of June 15, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Spider Wasp with Spider” © Tom Myers
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Spider Wasp with Spider” © Tom Myers

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, June 15, 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!

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Stan Bysshe

Red-winged blackbird perched on a branch with breath visible on a cold morning. Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: " Red-winged Dragon” © Stan Bysshe
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: ” Red-winged Dragon” © Stan Bysshe

How I Got the Shot

Early spring in my local Northern Virginia wetlands park is a great time to shoot these territorial male Red-winged Blackbirds. At first light, the displaying birds are backlit and, if it is cold enough and bright enough, you can see the breath of the singing bird.  The problem is a black moving subject, backlit, in low light, so there is always a tradeoff between shutter speed and ISO. For me, there is a lot of trial and error involved. The good news is that the blackbirds are relentless in defending their territory. For the 15-20 minutes that the light is perfect, there are usually multiple photo ops.

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Nature Photography Day: We need it now more than ever

Backlit baby bird at dawn. Nature Photography Day: Reconnecting with nature near home. 2019 second place image: "First Sunset"  © Teri Franzen.
Nature Photography Day: Reconnecting with nature near home. 2019 second place image: “First Sunset” © Teri Franzen.

NANPA has been celebrating Nature Photography Day on June 15 every year for 15 years, to promote the enjoyment of nature photography and increase awareness of the role images play in promoting conservation and protecting plants, wildlife, and landscapes. Enthusiasm for Nature Photography Day continues to grow worldwide.

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Wiebe Gortmaker

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: "Bighorn Huddle” © Wiebe Gortmaker
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Bighorn Huddle” © Wiebe Gortmaker

How I Got the Shot

In late January, on the way from Denver to Yellowstone National Park, some friends and I stopped in Jackson Hole for the night. Driving up the east side of the National Elk Refuge just out of town we came across a herd of 30 – 40 bighorn sheep. In late afternoon diffused light I found these four rams about to do some head-butting. Quickly setting up my new 600mm lens on my tripod I was able to grab a few frames before two of them separated and began jousting. The other two went back to grazing.

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Weekly Wow! Week of June 8, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Green and Black Poison Dart Frog” © Hector Astorga
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Green and Black Poison Dart Frog” © Hector Astorga

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, June 8, 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!

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Weekly Wow! Week of June 1, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Cattle Egret in the Boragaon Landfill” © Carla Rhodes
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Cattle Egret in the Boragaon Landfill” © Carla Rhodes

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, June 1, 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!

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Weekly Wow! Week of May 25, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "The Magnificent Tail of a Violet-tailed Sylph” © Scott Trageser.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “The Magnificent Tail of a Violet-tailed Sylph” © Scott Trageser.

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, May 25, 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!

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