This has been a very difficult year for all of us. Just as the stay-at-home restrictions of COVID-19 were beginning to lift around the US and overseas, protests following the death of George Floyd put many places under curfew and left many Americans reeling and emotionally drained. It’s no wonder that we photographers look forward to getting back out into nature and experiencing, once again, the sense of calm, peace and wonder that the natural world provides. Perhaps we will appreciate the healing effects of nature even more for having missed it so much lately. In this respect, Nature Photography Day (NPD), June 15th, couldn’t be better timed.
Staying connected to the natural world is the theme for this year’s Nature Photography Day. Since 2006 NANPA has designated this day to “promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images are used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes both locally and globally.” You can learn more about the history of NPD and of Shirley Nuhn, often called the “godmother of Nature Photography Day” here.
Getting out in nature is its own reward but what’s even more exciting are the prizes on offer for the Nature Photography Day contest. Between June 5th and 15th, simply take a photo celebrating some aspect of nature and post it on the contest Facebook page. You might be one of this year’s big winners and walk away with thousands of dollars of cool stuff. The contest is open to everyone but do check the rules so you don’t inadvertently disqualify yourself.
Not a photographer? Not to worry! There are many ways to celebrate NPD. The website has several ideas but the sky’s the limit.
Here in the Washington, DC, area, several nature photographers and I are collaborating with the Rock Creek Conservancy, using NPD as a hook to encourage greater public awareness of, appreciation for and engagement with Rock Creek Park, America’s third oldest national park. We’re contributing articles about how we got a special shot, tips on nature photography and more. And the Conservancy is encouraging people to post all types of artworks about the park, from poems to photos, sketches to songs, TikToks and YouTube videos to posters and paintings.
What will you be doing for Nature Photography Day? Take the opportunity to really appreciate the role nature plays in our lives and whatever you do, post it and hashtag it #NaturePhotoDay.