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NANPA Turns 15

The annual Summit is both a gathering of friends and colleagues as well as a wonderful shooting opportunity for attendees

Mono Lake, California

It has been 15 years since a group of nature-photography devotees gathered at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, N.Y., and decided to form the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). This coming February will mark NANPA’s 15th Annual Summit and Trade Show. The 2009 Summit will be held in Albuquerque, N.M., near some of the best nature-photography subjects in North America.

I’ve been fortunate to have attended all previous NANPA Summits (we called them “Forums” in the old days) and have used the trips to the Summits as an opportunity to shoot in the vicinity. In fact, NANPA considers local photo ops an important criterion in selecting Summit locations, which is one of the reasons why all 14 previous Summits (all winter events) have occurred well south or west of the home that Jane Herman and I share in New Jersey.

My first major photo jaunt after a NANPA meeting was a cruise around the Baja Peninsula aboard the Searcher after the 1996 Forum in San Diego, Calif. Fellow passengers included Mary Ann and Joe McDonald, George Lepp, Norbert Rosing and Chip Holdsworth.

Elephant Seal Bull,
Baja California Sur
Tucson, Arizona
Bosque Del Apache NWR, New Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur

Other highlights for Jane and me have included visits to Death Valley and Mono Lake after the 2001 Summit in Las Vegas, Nev., Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia and ACE Basin Reserve in South Carolina (with Tom Blagden) after the 2002 Summit in Jacksonville, Fla., and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico after the 2006 Summit in Denver, Colo.

nanpa Okefenokee NWR, Georgia

Jane had the flu during our 2006 trip and insisted that we return to Bosque after the 2007 Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., so we photographed in Joshua Tree National Park and at the Salton Sea near Palm Springs, and then headed east to Bosque with stops in Tucson, Ariz., and Las Cruces, N.M. The stop in Tucson turned out to be one of those remarkable gifts to an outdoor photographer.

As we neared Tucson, it began to snow, and the following morning the desert was blanketed. The Arizona sun melted the snow quickly, but not before Jane and I were able to photograph the snow-covered landscape.

Jane and I made reservations early in the Albuquerque area for the 2009 Summit, and we look forward to seeing and making friends and photographing nature’s riches afterwards.

For more information about NANPA and the annual NANPA Summit, visit