June 15 is Nature Photography Day, a day to celebrate the enjoyment of nature photography and to reflect on how photography can be used to further the cause of conservation. NANPA celebrated the first Nature Photography Day (NPD) back in 2006 and, over the years, there have been many ways the day has been observed. This year’s highlight is an iNaturalist Bioblitz and contest.
A history lesson
Shirley Nuhn, a long-time NANPA member is unofficially known as the “godmother of Nature Photography Day,” having been instrumental in getting this observance started. You can learn all about the history of NPD, and the critical role she played, in this article. Over the years we’ve heard many ways of celebrating NPD, from blog articles and hashtags to camera club outings and photo exhibits, from photo walks to photo competitions, exploring a local park or your own back yard. You can find more ideas on NANPA’s NPD web page.
A bioblitz is an event where individuals go out to find and identify as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. For example, a group of volunteers could spend three hours one morning exploring a meadow or repeatedly visit a woods over the course of a week. In either case, they’re creating a snapshot of the biodiversity in that place.
Although scientists are often involved in bioblitzes, they aren’t required. The iNaturalist smartphone app (and website) allow you to photograph, identify, and record species of plants, animals, insects, reptiles, and fungi and records that information for the future use of researchers. In that way, a bioblitz is a valuable community science activity that can have value long after the participants have gone home. NANPA Conservation Committee Volunteer David Cook explained how iNaturalist works in this article.
Three $100 VISA cash cards will be awarded: one for the most unique species observed (must be research-grade observations), a special judge’s choice award for an observation deemed most noteworthy and a random prize drawing from among all participants who have submitted at least ten research-grade images. See this page for more information on the contest rules.
And two more things
iNaturalist automatically hides geolocation information from public view for species with a conservation status and users can also hide geolocation for sensitive species or locations.
By default, images submitted to iNaturalist are given a Creative Commons license. Users can turn off that default setting and retain copyright to their images. You don’t need to upload your best images or high resolution files to participate but the photos do have to be good enough to easily identify species.
Of course, you don’t have to do a Bioblitz to mark Nature Photography Day. There are many other ways to mark the occasion, from tagging the photos you share with #NaturePhotographyDay to organizing (and photographing) a stream cleanup, to working with a conservation organization. See NANPA’s NPD web page for more ideas.
Frank Gallagher is a landscape and nature photographer based in the Washington, DC, area who specializes in providing a wide range of photograph services to nonprofit organizations. He serves as NANPA’s Interim Marketing and Communications Coordinator and manages NANPA’s blog. He can be found online at frankgallagherphotography.com or on Instagram @frankgallagherfoto.