Japan in Winter with Art Wolfe

Japan in winter is one of the most majestic locations you could ever imagine. A slight dusting of snow turns the regularly bustling streets into a proverbial winter wonderland. The colder temperatures also tend to cut down on the amount of crowds, which makes photographing the iconic sites much more appealing.

We will embark on an eleven-day intensive photography workshop covering the most photographic sites, from buzzing cities to the calm atmospheric landscapes, stretching the length of Japan. First we’ll visit the snow macaques that live in the mountains about two hours west of Tokyo. Here in an isolated steep cut valley with an amazing mountain lodge are three extended families of macaques, numbering around 50. Because they are the most northern primate on earth, they have the longest, luxuriant fur of any primates, particularly in the winter months. They come down from the pine and oak forests and for a couple of hours a day they hang around a natural hot spring. They have been habituated to people visiting them there, so you can photograph from within inches without interrupting their behavior, which is very animated and fun. It is a photographic bonanza.

After visiting the macaques, we will travel to the northern island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido reminds me a bit of Alaska, full of forests of birch, pine and fir with a back drop of beautiful volcanic mountains. There are also large lakes and wild running rivers, and hosts three species of bird wildlife that are extraordinary to photograph. The Japanese Crane has been symbolized in Japanese culture for thousands of years due to its grace and beauty. Giant whooper swans come in the winter months from nesting in Siberia. They have been fed by locals for years, helping them sustain thru the winter, as well as creating an easy and wonderful photographic opportunity for us! And often Steller’s sea eagles will swoop around the same area. They are massive black and white raptors that winter over on the icy shores of Hokkaido.

Yellowstone in Winter with John Slonina

Join us on a photo tour or workshop to photograph winter in Yellowstone. Photograph one of the world’s greatest snow covered ecosystems. Winter is magical in Yellowstone, when visitors are few and wildlife viewing is outstanding. In the chilled air, see bubbling mud pots and gushing geysers eerily veiled in steam.

World famous Yellowstone is one of the most exciting places in the world to photograph landscapes and wildlife. This is a must see on any nature photographer’s and wildlife lover’s list. Join us as we explore this winter wonderland and the surrounding areas. Discover the phenomenal photography opportunities of Yellowstone’s quiet season. Explore the park by snowcoach deep into the wilds of Yellowstone.

The Black Bear Project

How do you live safely around bears? Ask the Black Bear Project.

How do you live safely around bears? Ask the Black Bear Project.

Something interesting is happening in the wooded hills of northern Georgia. Thanks to the Black Bear Project, people and bears are learning to peacefully live together and avoid dangerous situations.  NANPA member Mary Jo Cox has been involved in this project and gave us the story.

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Volunteer Profile: Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson at Quandary Peak , Colorado.

Dawn Wilson at Quandary Peak , Colorado.

Volunteers are the life blood of membership organizations.  At NANPA and the NANPA Foundation, volunteers serve on committees, help plan conferences, present webinars, judge competitions and evaluate grant applications.  Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors and play other key roles in keeping NANPA vibrant, relevant and growing.

This is the second of an occasional series of volunteer profiles, saluting those whose hard work, ideas, passion and commitment benefit NANPA and its members.

NANPA recently had the opportunity to ask NANPA volunteer Dawn Wilson a few questions about her volunteer experiences.

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America’s Better Idea: National Wildlife Refuges

The National Wildlife Refuges were created to manage, conserve and restore fish, wildlife and plants and the ecosystems that sustain them.

The National Wildlife Refuges were created to manage, conserve and restore fish, wildlife and plants and the ecosystems that sustain them.

Story and photographs by Jeff Parker

The National Parks have famously been called “America’s best idea”.  I have visited many of our National Parks and they ARE awesome.  However, I tend to think that our National Wildlife Refuges are “America’s Better Idea”.

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Death of Moose Prompts Calls for Safe Wildlife Photography

News report of drowned moose.

New England Cable News report on a moose that drowned because it was frightened by excited tourists. (Screenshot)

Earlier in September, a moose drowned in Lake Champlain, Vermont, because of tourists.  Not directly: people didn’t go up and kill it.  Rather, it died as a result of what people did, or didn’t do.  After swimming from the New York shore to Grand Isle, in the middle of the lake, the moose came ashore.  Unfortunately, it came onto the island near a road and tourists, excited at the sight of a moose so close, got out of their cars and started snapping photos with their phones.  Sadly, the commotion frightened the moose back in to the lake.  Tired from its swim over from New York, the moose didn’t have enough energy left to cope with wind and waves and drowned shortly thereafter.

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Jaguars in the Pantanal with Morgan Heim and Michele Westmoreland

You are floating quietly on a river in the dawn light. A chorus of birds fills the air, and then on silent paw, a jaguar, her pattern of gold and black spots, emerges from the jungle across from your boat. Your instinct says to take as many photos as you can before she disappears. But she doesn’t disappear. She has come to the river to swim, hunt, and give her young some playtime. You don’t have to absorb it all in a second. You can revel at the moments, be present, and come away with photos and a wildlife experience absolutely unforgettable in memory and reality.

I invite you to join me on this Visionary Wild adventure to Brazil’s Pantanal, where we are so assured to see jaguars that we designed the trip specifically around seeing these majestic big cats. You will get to see tons of other wildlife as well. The Pantanal is one of the most diverse, densely populated (in terms of animals), wildlife accessible destinations on the planet. Expect to see animals including hyacinth macaws, toucans and ocelots — occupants of the largest inland wetland in the world.

We’ve designed to trip to be intimate — only six slots per trip. That’s a one to three ration for instructor to attendee. You have two opportunities to get on board. I will be leading one trip with Visionary Wild founder Justin Black in early August, followed immediately by a second trip with the extraordinarily talented Michele Westmorland, another iLCP senior fellow. Both trips promise to be grand adventures! Sign up soon. Slots are filling up fast.

Dates: August 9-18 with Morgan Heim and Justin Black
August 18-27 with Morgan Heim and Michele Westmorland

From the Archives: Secrets for Capturing Stunning Photographs of Birds

Editor’s Note:  With spring finally making an appearance across the United States, birds are very active; building nests for their young, looking for food during much of the day, and treating us to their beautiful songs and chirps.  This piece by Melissa Groo appeared in 2016 and is very worthwhile reading for this season.  DL

Story and Photos by Melissa Groo

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© Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, teacher, and speaker. She writes a regular column on wildlife photography for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and her photos have been published in many magazines, including Smithsonian, Audubon, and National Wildlife. Issues of conservation and ethics in photography are passions for her, but more than anything, she loves revealing the soul of her wild subjects and sharing that with others. Continue reading

St. John’s River FL with Mike Army

The ‘Florida Spring Break Tour’ is a private all inclusive tour for individuals who are looking for a unique experience by boat in the pristine back waters of the Ocala National Forest that can be booked by the day or by the week. This is an annual tour I have been conducting each spring since 2001 at this location. I have been exploring this area since the late 1960’s as my Grandfather lived in Ocala and first showed me the beauty and wonders that the Ocala National Forest has to offer to anyone that appreciates Nature, Wildlife and the excitement of the pristine Florida Wilderness. This is not a tour of a national or state park in a group taking standard pictures at standard locations that are available to anyone. This is an expedition into unspoiled wilderness environments only accessible by boat where not seeing another person all day long is common. I conduct the tour for 5 weeks from a rental house with a private dock on the St Johns River that is our base camp for the duration of your stay.