America’s Covid Cleanup, Driftwood Beach, Coupeville, Washington, 2023 Showcase First Runner-up, Conservation © Jann Ledbetter
First Runner-Up: Conservation
Why is this photo special?
This photo was shot not far from my home, in a bird & wildlife rich area I visit regularly. I see eagles there quite often and, truthfully, rarely stop to photograph them anymore unless they are exhibiting unique behavior of some sort. When I saw this bird, I thought he was pulling on something that he was eating so I drove closer to see what it might be. When I saw that he was pulling on the strap of a COVID mask, I knew I had a special shot.
One of the things that makes this image so special to me is that it was taken close to my home in an area where I spend quite a bit of time. I have a heart connection with this location! I was thrilled to come upon the opportunity to capture this Bald Eagle exhibiting a behavior with such powerful meaning. A true sign of our COVID times. I am overjoyed to be receiving this award in the Conservation category as, while considering just what I want to DO with my photography, I have felt a pull towards conservation photography. The idea of any of my photos having a meaningful impact on their viewers and perhaps changing their behavior or increasing awareness of an issue, feels doubly rewarding.
The technical stuff
I used my car as a blind and shot this handheld out the car window.
I shot this image with my Canon R5, Canon RF 100-500mm lens at 500mm. The settings were ISO 500, f/8.0, 1/2500 second.
I am a passionate amateur photographer, currently living on Whidbey Island in Washington State. I have been shooting nature for over a decade, starting with the birds and other wildlife that visited my yard. I enjoy the challenge of getting a good shot of a bird, and they are always accessible, so many of my wildlife photos are of birds. I am delighted every time I get a chance to photograph other wildlife, especially large mammals such as bears and whales. My favorite places to view and photograph wildlife are Whidbey Island, British Columbia, Alaska, Yellowstone, and the Tetons.
I feel most alive when I spend time in nature, so I seek out opportunities to experience tumbling waterfalls, towering trees, dramatic shorelines, and mountain vistas. However, while out in the natural world, I find myself always tuning into the birds and wildlife I find there. My true passion! My camera is my “purposeful companion”, taking me to all these special places in nature. If I get a good shot while there, that’s a bonus!
When I first got serious about photography, I committed to doing something every week to advance my skills. I have also participated in several photography workshops. I recently challenged myself to create one postable photo each day. That challenge kept me out in nature looking for photo opportunities, practicing both using my camera and processing my images. These days I have my camera in my hands every day.
I have been a NANPA member since 2017. I have not been recognized in any previous Showcases.
It’s almost impossible to pick just ONE memorable moment! But one that comes to mind happened during a night photography workshop in Arches National Park. Our group was shooting the Milky Way over Delicate Arch until about 2:00 a.m. While we were packing up to leave, our group leader, Darren White, took one last panorama from the viewpoint. What he discovered was that there was an intense Aurora display happening behind us with visible pillars and all the colors. He yelled out “Aurora to the North” so we quickly scrambled to get our cameras back out and continued to shoot for another hour or so. An amazing experience, especially for as far south as we were. The moral of the story: don’t forget to turn around to see what’s happening behind you!
See all of the Top 26 winning images from NANPA’s 2023 Showcase nature photography competition.