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Three men standing in conversation with each other. NANPA members were happy to see each other, in person, at Summit. Photo credit: Jake Campos

NANPA members were happy to see each other, in person, at Summit. Photo credit: Jake Campos

NANPA Summit

Like many of our members, I took advantage of the location of our NANPA Summit in Tucson earlier this month to explore and photograph the Southwest. In many ways, our timing could not have been better for weather and for photographing spring desert wildflowers although we missed some of our pros who had workshop and travel commitments. We missed you, but the Summit timing was another fall-out of COVID.

Two photographers with their cameras pointed up. Attendees photographing the resident owl at Summit. Photo credit: Jake Campos

Attendees photographing the resident owl at Summit. Photo credit: Jake Campos

Other newsletter articles have described the program; so I will focus on the vibe of excitement that permeated our time together and thank a few of the many NANPA members who made the Summit a success. We were thrilled to see each other again after four long years and to meet new members and new attendees. Attendance at the Summit is growing again. Almost a third of attendees were either first timers, new members, or both. We welcome all of you and hope to see you at future NANPA and ASMP events.

Summit evaluations continually rank inspiration and connection with other photographers as a significant reason for being a NANPA member and attending Summits. This Summit had plenty of both. The awardees were an inspiration unto themselves. I’m sure that out of the 300+ attendees, most would agree that the program, setting, and friends both old and new filled us with inspiration. Gorgeous weather, blooming Saguaro cacti, and nesting birds, including right on the hotel grounds, made for exciting photographic opportunities. Attendees photographed a great-horned owl that routinely roosted just outside one of the entry doors, a hummingbird parent feeding chicks and in one case a lizard eating them, and a vermillion flycatcher nest. What a setting!

I want to thank the trade show vendors for their support and showing us new gear and travel opportunities both in their booths and in their demonstration programs. The trade show sold out this year thanks to additional efforts of ASMP staff.

Mary Ann McDonald giving a portfolio review to a Summit attendee. Photo credit: Jake Campos

Mary Ann McDonald giving a portfolio review to a Summit attendee. Photo credit: Jake Campos

Portfolio reviews were a success as well, thanks to Sonia Wasco and the NANPA Foundation. Each time I peeked in, the room was abuzz with reviewers providing feedback and suggestions to photographers. It really helps to have formulated questions and goals for the review. I even did one myself with Tom Kennedy, former photo editor of National Geographic. My goal was to pick his brain on image combinations from my 4 recent trips to Algeria, possible stories, and potential buyers. His feedback was invaluable. Did you know that you can still arrange portfolio reviews through the NANPA Foundation?


With all the photographic opportunities in and around Tucson, field trips were operating concurrently throughout the entire Summit. Incorporating feedback from previous Summits, attendees were in the field at 6 am to photograph sunrise over desert landscapes or visiting protected areas with members of Tucson Audubon who could guide them to the perfect locations to photograph birds and other wildlife.

One of my favorite aspects of the Summit is the College Program. This year’s “client” was Tucson Audubon Society. From interviews to photographing at Tucson Audubon’s sanctuaries, to editing and production. Under the leadership of Michele Westmorland, Alice Robertson, and several other NANPA assistants, the students, produced a beautiful video inviting everyone to become a birder. The audience was so moved that there was a loud ovation and a call to show it again.

There was an air of excitement with the inclusion of ASMP board members and staff. Jim Datri, Chief Executive Officer, and Tom Maddrey, Chief Legal Counsel and Head of National Content and Education, were continually engaged meeting and getting to know NANPA members, listening to perspectives, and answering questions. They are our staff now, too; so this was the perfect opportunity for many of our members to get to know their new staff.  The more members learned about our affiliation with ASMP and the new benefits available to them, the more positive the energy. For example, many of us learned that we can now enroll in a program to secure a press pass that also allows extra weight for camera baggage on airline flights Use your access to the ASMP site, register for your pass, and take advantage of this valuable resource.

All the advance work and planning by the Summit Committee led by Kathy Adams Clark and NANPA staff of Susan and Richard Day and Bethany Brucker, kept the event on track. The NANPA Foundation’s fundraising efforts exceeded their $40,000 goal by more than $13,000, all to support Foundation and NANPA programs! If you missed the opportunity to contribute at the Summit, you are invited to add to their success and support the programs at

Most of us departed the Summit with renewed energy and having learned a lot. But there are always ways to change or improve for next time. Your feedback makes a difference. We were in Tucson by popular request. We added field trips due to attendee input. So fill out the evaluation when it arrives in your inbox and let us know what you liked and how we can create an even better Summit next time.

Summit College Photography Scholarship Program Participants. Photo Credit: Jake Campos

Summit College Photography Scholarship Program Participants. Photo Credit: Jake Campos

NANPA Board: Welcomes and Farewells

The NANPA Board of Directors election was taking place while we were together in Tucson. Many current, former, and prospective board members were in attendance, including outgoing board members and nominees for the next terms. The Summit provided a great opportunity to get to know your board members and time to get to know nominees so that attendees could weigh the differences in candidates when they cast their votes.

Terms of three members will expire on June 30 this year, and I want to acknowledge the contributions of each member who served tirelessly and weathered some controversy on your behalf. I’ve so enjoyed working with these board members. It is with gratitude that we thank them for their dedication, contributions, and time commitments that each has made on behalf of NANPA. I will miss working with you and am grateful for your dedication and service to NANPA.

Dawn Wilson, Immediate Past President – Dawn served 2 terms as President, leading development of NANPA’s strategic plan and chairing the Task Force that assessed NANPA’s options for moving forward to deliver on strategic plan goals and weigh options that would help ensure NANPA’s future and growth. Dawn will be refocusing her time on her photography and writing business near Rocky Mountain National Park.

Tom Haxby, Past President – Tom stepped in to a 1-year position to fill out the term of Lisa Langell when she needed to focus her time on new business opportunities. Because of his role initiating the development of NANPA’s strategic plan and the need to have a board member who was “up to speed” for this short term position, Tom was the logical choice to help move forward the changes that NANPA was implementing.

Kika Tuff – With a specialty in science communication, Kika always brought thoughtful insight and different perspectives to NANPA Board discussions. Her insight was most valuable as we weighted our various options for change.

Now that the results of the NANPA Board election have been announced, I am excited to welcome three newly elected members, all of whom have a long history of serving NANPA. Your newly elected Board members are Daniel J. Cox, Cathy Ilg, and Jennifer Leigh Warner.  Their terms run for three years starting July 1. Welcome to the NANPA Board! We current Board members look forward to working with you. And thanks to NANPA members who took the time to cast your ballots for these important positions.

Summer Spruce Up

You’ll be seeing some changes to NANPA’s website and how we communicate with members over the coming weeks in what we’re calling the Summer Spruce Up. These improvements will make things easier, smoother and more efficient for you and for us.