Yellowstone Snowcoach Wildlife and Landscapes

Magical light, geyser steam, snow-covered bison, and more

NANPA’s Yellowstone Snowcoach regional event is back by popular demand. Winter in Yellowstone provides some of the best landscape and wildlife photographs with the park’s magical light, geyser steam, and snow-covered bison. Travel by snowcoach into the park each day to seize photographic opportunities for three full days. Jeff Vanuga (a BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year), Michael Francis, and Mark Gocke will lead this extraordinary tour for NANPA in January 2022—with one professional photographer and one professional driver/guide, both very familiar with Yellowstone in winter, per snowcoach.

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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Eye Tracking or Single-Point AutoFocus?

The Nature Photographer episode #15 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Mark Raycroft tackle another listener question in this short episode. With newer mirrorless cameras, do you still use single-point autofocus and anticipate the location of the animal’s eye? Hear which mirrorless cameras have the best eye tracking functions and in which situations it works best. Plus, find out why Mark is a late adopter of new technology and what even the mirrorless users in this group are doing in high risk/high reward situations in the field. You’ll also hear about a Canon April Fools’ Day joke that actually came to fruition.

Sometimes the camera chooses a bit differently than I would…it’s still just a tool for the photographer.

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The Things We Do for Love featuring “The Grebe Whisperer” Krisztina Scheeff

The Nature Photographer episode #12 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Krisztina Scheeff is known as “The Grebe Whisperer” around her home base of Lake Hodges in San Diego County, California, where she’s been studying and photographing Western and Clark’s grebes’ elaborate courtship rituals that include “rushing” or walking on water. Krisztina offers Dawn, Mark, and Michael insight into bird behavior, how workshops have changed since COVID 19, and how she chooses destinations for her photography tours—like her regular trips to rural Scotland and Ireland for dramatic landscapes, puffins, and, admittedly, the local pubs. She’s also got some packing advice, including why she travels with a tarp to lay on when working around birds. 

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Wildlife and Wild Lives featuring Joe and Mary Ann McDonald

The Nature Photographer episode #11 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Bengal Tiger © Joe and Mary Ann McDonald

2021 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award winners Joe and Mary Ann McDonald have been studying, photographing, and writing about wildlife together for nearly 35 years. They’ve photographed the Seven Big Cats of the World four different years, and both have won in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. In this episode, Joe and Mary Ann talk candidly with NANPA’s Dawn Wilson and Wild & Exposed‘s Mark Raycroft and Ron Hayes about their 107 treks—”so far,” Mary Ann is quick to add—to photograph mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Plus, hear what they’ve been photographing at home in Hoot Hollow during the pandemic and why they like Olympus gear.

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Not Losing Hope featuring Suzi Eszterhas

The Nature Photographer episode #10 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Endangered mountain gorilla (gorilla beringei) mother holding 5-month-old twin babies, Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda © Suzi Eszterhas

Wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas may occasionally get to choose from two dream jobs: jet off to Costa Rica to photograph a baby sloth born in a wine bar or jet off to Botswana to photograph a litter of newborn meerkats. But most of the time she’s waiting, putting all the pieces in place, and quietly nurturing something to fruition—whether that means staring at a termite mound for 10 days waiting for a baby to appear, working a big cat subject for two months straight, or building a book project over the course of several years.

Now she’s set her sights on making change in the nature photography industry, mentoring young female photographers through Girls Who Click, supporting gender and racial diversity in the field, and raising more than $200,000 to support conservation projects throughout the world. Join Dawn Wilson, Ron Hayes, Jason Loftus, and Suzi to hear more about these projects, how Suzi maintains her motivation, and why, as she puts it, “If you’re not learning, your career is done.”

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COVID-19 and Wildlife in Kenya: Crisis and Hope

A white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum) with an enormous horn stands protectively next to her small calf, The Aberdares, Kenya,Africa
A white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum) with an enormous horn stands protectively next to her small calf, The Aberdares, Kenya, Africa

Story & photos by Jami Tarris

Each of us is drawn to nature photography for our own personal reasons. Some for commercial reasons — to make money. Others because they enjoy sitting in the peace and quiet of nature, waiting for beautiful light. Still others who perhaps enjoy the thrill of capturing animal behavior in front of their very eyes. For me, at the beginning, it was all of the above but, as I spent more time in the field and grew older, it became more about being a champion for innocent and beautiful creatures who needed protecting from, ironically, humans like me. In the midst of a pandemic, it’s easy to see the effects of the COVID-19 virus on humans, but it is also significantly affecting the animal kingdom.

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How NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program Impacted Me: A Turning Point

Owl on alert in the forest.

Owl on alert in the forest.

Story and photos by Ashleigh Scully

I was a participant in the 2017 NANPA High School Scholarship Program and spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountains working with some incredible mentors, broadening my interests in photography and learning from some very talented kids my age as well. This program was a turning point for me–it showed me just how much I want to inspire the younger generation to learn more about conservation and photography. Working with and learning from 9 other students from across the country was not what I expected it to be. I had assumed we would all stick to the certain aspects of photography we were comfortable with, but instead we all motivated each other to try a little bit of everything. During that week in the Smokies, I got to experiment with flash and night photography and use some of the cameras, lenses, and flashes that Canon sent to as loaners. I now have knowledge of the settings to use for star and night photography, something that will definitely come in handy for me in the future. We also hiked out to a waterfall and attempted slow motion waterfall photos to capture the blur of the water. Using the loaner flashes, we also found little salamanders and toads and used white backgrounds for the “Meet Your Neighbors” technique that  Andrew Snyder, one of the mentors, taught us. Some of the kids were so in love with this new technique, it was all they did!

Do you know a talented young nature photographer? NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program is seeking 10 high school student photographers to attend a five-day field event where they can learn from the industry’s top shooters. Apply now for this immersive, hands-on education program to be held in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park July 6–11, 2020. Combining classroom and field-based instruction, students will have the chance to improve their nature photography skills, learn about NANPA, meet industry professionals, and gain an appreciation of the Smoky Mountains’ rich natural history. The NANPA Foundation funds this and other educational programs. January 31, 2020 is the last day to apply, so don’t wait. Apply now! This article was originally published in January, 2019.

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Wildlife Photography Around the World: The Secrets Behind the Lens

Photo of a curious bear approaching the camera. © Roie Galitz
© Roie Galitz

NANPA’s members are in for a rare treat next week! On October 10th, at 6 PM Eastern Time, award-winning wildlife photographer and Greenpeace ambassador Roie Galitz will share breathtaking stories and footage from his wild expeditions and will teach us how to get incredible shots in the most extreme conditions. This special event will not be recorded, so make your plans now to attend the live webcast! NANPA members can register through nanpa.org/webinars. Not yet a member? nanpa.org/join

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Documenting the River of Redemption: An update on the Anacostia Project

Sunset over the Anacostia River in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Sunset over the Anacostia River in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Story & photos by Krista Schlyer

In 2010, as part of the International League of Conservation Photographers’ Chesapeake Bay RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition), I found myself on the Anacostia River in Washington DC. The Anacostia is one of the most imperiled watersheds within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, a sprawling eco-region spanning most of the Mid-Atlantic. The Anacostia is also my home watershed, where the water that drains off my house and yard ends up.

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