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Spring is one of the busiest times of year for any wildlife photographer. This red fox kit was one of five originally born to the vixen. © Dawn Wilson

By Dawn Wilson, NANPA President

There are so many wildlife species to photograph on this planet — from the deep depths of the ocean to the highest peaks of rugged mountain ranges. I admire wildlife photographers who can really narrow down their niche to just one or two subjects or to one type of animal. I have tried, and failed miserably, as I just truly enjoy being in nature and spending time learning about the behavior of animals. I have certainly narrowed my focus down to animals of the Rocky Mountains but then spring comes along, and I find I am back to being drawn to the unique birds of the Gulf Coast, the baby animals of Yellowstone National Park and migratory birds of all shapes and sizes.

This year was no different as I found myself traveling to new and favorite locations to enjoy the abundance of the spring season. I went back to Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi to photograph cattle egrets, little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, and many other species in rookeries as well as shore birds beginning their courtship along the Gulf Coast. I traveled to Yellowstone National Park to catch the beginning of the baby season, which is marked by the birth of dozens of bison calves, also called “red dogs”, throughout the park. I have plans to visit Washington state and New Jersey for more bird photography in the coming weeks. And of course, I won’t miss two of my favorite seasons at home, the elk calving season, which literally happens right in my backyard, and the birth of moose calves in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Although elk cows can be a little protective of their little calves, dozens are born within minutes of my home, making late May and early June one of the cutest seasons in Estes Park, Colorado. © Dawn Wilson

Busy Month for Photography

May is a very busy month for nature photographers. There are many dates throughout the month to give you inspiration for your photography. And if you run your own business, these dates make great opportunities to share photos and promote your work on social media.

One of the biggest: May is National Photography Month. This monthlong celebration designates a time to celebrate photography as an art form, the history of photography, and learning more about how to improve your own photography. Galleries, studios and schools have events all month long so check your local listings for ideas.

Here are three other ways to celebrate the month dedicated to our favorite pastime:

  • Sign up for a NANPA regional event to network, socialize and learn
  • Watch a NANPA webinar to learn ways to improve your photography
  • Integrate ethical field practices into your photography

Polar bears have taken the lead in being the poster child for endangered species. © Dawn Wilson

Here are several others dates this month for inspiration:

  • May 8: World Migratory Bird Day
  • May 14: Global Big Day (for birds)
  • May 20: National Endangered Species Day
  • May 23: World Turtle Day

And as you prepare for June ideas, keep in mind that next month is Great Outdoors Month and NANPA celebrates Nature Photography Day on June 15. Stay tuned for more details about upcoming events for this annual celebration.

Finding a sit spot near your home during the spring migration is a great way to observe those rarities passing through your area. This hooded warbler was one rarity I found last year in my hometown. © Dawn Wilson

Save the Date

Can you believe it has been almost four years since we gathered in person at a Summit event? Time goes too fast but the first in-person Summit since before Covid-19 arrived on the scene is just one year away!

Save the dates of May 4-6, 2023, to attend Summit in Tucson, Arizona, We are already busy at work preparing a jam-packed schedule of speakers, classes, events and socializing opportunities at a beautiful resort in southern Arizona. There will be many opportunities to get out into the Sonora Desert, with additional field events on May 3 and 7, in addition to the classroom learning. Tucson offers a wealth of photo locations for wildlife, landscape, astro and macro photographers.

Seeking Award Recipients

Do you know someone within NANPA who is deserving of recognition for their hard work? Consider nominating them for the Kinney Legacy Award or Mission Award.

The Kinne Legacy Award, formerly the Russ & Jane Kinne Recognition Grant, is presented to a member of NANPA who has freely and selflessly shared his/her professional expertise for the education and/or betterment of NANPA members. The nominee’s efforts should have made a significant impact upon the nature photography community by mentoring or helping others become successful in some aspect related to NANPA’s mission statement. This can include the advocacy and education in terms of the creative and/or business aspects of nature photography.

The NANPA Mission Award recognizes outstanding efforts of accomplishment(s) by one of our members. This award exemplifies what NANPA is really about, and the recipient should epitomize NANPA’s principles in accordance with NANPA’s mission statement.

Hurry! Nominations are due by May 31.

Get Involved

Do you want to get involved? Consider volunteering for a committee. There are numerous options available for a variety of interests. For more info about volunteering, visit http://www.nanpa.org/membership/built-by-volunteers/

Keep letting our membership and marketing teams know about your projects. There may be ways to share the news, like writing a blog or being interviewed on the podcast.

Do you have ideas for events or topics you want to learn more about? Reach out to us through our contact form.

And be sure to recommend NANPA to your nature-loving friends and fellow photographers. Word of mouth is the number one way people learn about NANPA. New members can join online at nanpa.org.

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Bees and Butterflies in the Beartooth Mountains Regional Event Ad