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How I got the shotShowcase

2023 Showcase Winner: Belinda Bridwell

By April 18, 2023No Comments
Photo of a bear clamming on the mudflats, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska © Belinda Bridwell

Clamming on the Mudflats, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, 2023 Showcase Judges’ Choice, Mammals © Belinda Bridwell

Judges’ Choice: Mammals

Why is this photo special?

This photo stood out because of the beautiful sky and reflection and the lone Coastal Brown Bear digging in the mud to find a clam.  I feel like the scene has a calm and dream like quality.

This shot would have been extremely difficult without the latest in cameral technology.  My camera and lens weighed almost 12 lbs.  I shot the scene at a very low angle, hand held with the retractable screen of my camera folded out.  My focus was set on 3-D tracking with animal eye detection.  I was able to look at the screen and touch the screen when I wanted to shoot the camera.  And in addition to the difficulty in hand holding a heavy camera and lens at a low angle for an extended period of time were the physical difficulties and challenges of trying to not sink into the mud, fall, and get sand and water in the camera and lens.

The technical stuff

I used my Nikon Z9 with a Nikon f-mount 400mm f/2.8  lens using a FTZ II lens adapter. The image was shot manually using ISO 450, f/2.8, at 1/2000 second. I used 3-D tracking with animal eye detection for my auto focus area mode.

About me

I live in Jonesborough, a small town in Northeast Tennessee in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I am retired and am an enthusiastic hobbyist.  I have been shooting landscapes for about 16 years and started photographing wildlife six years ago. Birds are my favorite subjects.  My favorite locations are my front yard, Florida, Bosque del Apache, and Alaska.

During a trip to Texas where I visited High Island and Big Bend National Park, I first saw a roseate spoonbill and a scissor-tailed flycatcher.  These birds are my trigger birds that got me interested in birding.  I also saw some wonderful wildlife in Big Bend and loved photographing them.  I love the outdoors and observing and capturing the behavior of wildlife. I feel the most alive and at peace when I am in nature.

I have two mentors. Lisa Langell and Tin Man Lee.  Lisa for her beautiful artistry and creativity and Tin Man for getting me out of a photographic rut and instructing how to make an image create an emotional response.

I joined NANPA in 2019 and then joined again this year. This year was the first time I had entered the NANPA Showcase.

Memorable moments

Any time I am nature is memorable, but visiting Lake Clark and watching and photographing the bears will always be one of the most exciting and memorable experiences in my life. Winning the Judges Choice Award in Mammals from the 2023 NANPA Showcase will always be very special to me.

Instagram: @belindabridwell
Facebook: @belindabridwell

See all of the Top 26 winning images from NANPA’s 2023 Showcase nature photography competition.

Top 26