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SAVE THE DATE: GNPA Smokies Weekend is Nov. 3-6, 2022

SAVE THE DATE: GNPA Smokies Weekend is Nov. 3-6, 2022

Plans will soon be finalized for GNPA’s annual Fall Smokies Photo Weekend— the committee is working on the plans for a safe and fun trip, filled with fantastic photography opportunities with experienced trip leaders.

Early November is one of the most beautiful times of the year to be in the Smokies.

We can’t wait to see all our friends at this year’s event.

Stay tuned for more information soon!

Meet A Member

Meet A Member

Lowell Sims with Tucker. Photo by Ansley Wilbanks.

Lowell Sims, Smyrna Chapter


In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. In this issue, it’s Lowell Sims, of the Smyrna Chapter.

When did you become a GNPA member?  I joined during the initial meeting of GNPA. I believe it was 2010.

What is your occupation?  Retired since May 2002. I’m the former IT/Administrative Services Director for Hartford Financial Service’s Omni Automobile Insurance Divisions.

How did you get into photography?  Soon after my wife and I married, we planned a trip to Lookout Mountain. I purchased a point-and-shoot camera for pictures and I’ve been hooked ever since,

What are your favorite photography subjects?  Birds are at the top of my list of favorites.  I also like to photograph dragonflies, animals, amphibians, flowers and landscapes.

What are your favorite places to shoot?  Cades Cove (for wildlife), Cataloochee Valley/Cherokee (elk), Hiawassee Wildlife Refuge (Sandhill Cranes), Merritt Island, FL (water birds), Alligator River NWR near Outer Banks, NC, Lake George, FL, (St. Johns River) and Blue Cypress Lake, FL are all at top of my list. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a top spot.

What would be your photographic “dream trip”?  Galapagos Islands (#1) and Machu Picchu, Peru (#2).

Which camera body and lenses do you use most often?  Most of my DSLR life, I’ve used a Nikon body with a 150-600 mm lens, but now I’ve moved to a Sony A7Rlll with a 200-600 mm zoom lens and only recently obtained a Sony 100-400 mm G Master lens. I have an adapter that accepts all my Nikon brand lens on the Sony body.

What are your go-to websites for photography information?  Mark Galer on YouTube is probably my first “go to” for tutorials on Sony equipment. I would still be fumbling through Sony’s menu system were it not for him explaining various set-ups (and I still have a lot to learn).

Mark Denny is another favorite on YouTube. His tutorials are geared more toward technique than equipment. He once was a Sony user but has recently switched to Olympus.

Another weekly subscription is Digital Photography School’s newsletter. Sometime it is quite rudimentary, but occasionally I find a little gem to “chew on.”

Steve Perry’s Back Country Gallery is a really good source of knowledge on how cameras work and setup advise. He has several e-books available that explain various camera functions (Nikon equipment exclusively).

Have any photographers inspired you?  I am in sheer awe of Arthur Morris’s ability to photograph birds. I am totally incapable of capturing bird photos that in any way come close to rivaling the quality of his images. Art Wolfe is another photographer I admire a lot. Leonard Lee Rue III through his book “How I Photograph Birds and Wildlife” showed me how I didn’t have to go to the forest or nature area to photograph birds.

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA?  Camaraderie at GNPA events. Reticent by nature, I really feel at home when attending GNPA events, especially photography outings.

Something interesting about you that most people do not know:  When I was a lad we played “livestock technicians and indigenous people” (Cowboys and Indians) and I had a keen interest in archery. In the early 1970s, I joined an archery club (Tomo Chi archery club) and won my first tournament (by default – I was the sole competitor in my basic bowhunter class). I was embarrassed to step forward to receive my winner’s medal and the club president added insult by saying facetiously, “Come back and join us again, we’ll try to be more competitive.” He had just won the “Pro” class. Five years later, not only did I trounce him in a similar club tournament, I was Southeastern Outdoor Field Archery Champion (1977 Clemson, SC), Indoor S.E. Runner up Champion (1978 Greenville, SC), 5-time Georgia State Champion (1975-79) and Georgia State Archer of the Year in 1979.”\

Where are you from?  I hail from South Georgia, born in extremely humble beginnings in Sparks. If anyone is old enough to remember going to Florida via US 41 in the late 1940s to mid-1950s, perhaps you remember Sparks and Adel were like Atlanta and Decatur. Without a sign you couldn’t tell when you left one city and entered the other. The favorite local quip was “Adel was so close to hell you could see Sparks.” In 1948 we moved to Tifton and after a relatively short tenure there we relocated to Ty (an outlying community of Tifton pronounced “tie,” an Indian name derived from the Ti bush that grew along nearby Ty Creek) where we lived until I graduated high school and moved to Atlanta. My favorite quip about Ty is “both ‘Entering Ty’ and ‘Leaving Ty’ signs were on the same post.”

Tell us a little about the photos you have provided: 


Hummer on my finger

Hummer On My Finger: Without gloating or bragging, I think this is an amazing photograph. I marshaled at The Tour Championship at East Lake for several years, and the year I took this photo our uniform included a bright red cap. I came home the last day of the tournament and sat down on the deck with my red hat on. Before long I was being buzzed by hummingbirds looking for a place to drink nectar. They were so close I could feel the wind generated by their wing beats. I quickly erected a feeder stand, attached it to the deck railing, set up my camera on a tripod with a wireless remote attached and covered all the fake flower feeder outlets but one. Sitting next to the feeder and resting my arm on the deck rail, I positioned my finger near the only flower outlet. After 4-5 approaches, a hummer finally lit on my finger and I began to fire away with my remote. Several people accused me of “PhotoShopping” the bird onto my finger, but the only “PhotoShopping” of this photo was cloning out the feeder.


Blue Jay

Blue Jay: Like most photographers, I can’t wait to see my photos so I “chimped” it onto my tiny LCD. When I saw it there on the screen, I could tell it was a keeper. It won “Best of Show” at a Smyrna photo contest judged by Bob Fitzgibbons. I thought, “Finally, Arthur Morris just might take a look at one of my photos.”


Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly: This photo was entered in GNPA’s Double Vision contest a few years ago at Chattahoochee Nature Center. The photo didn’t win, place or show, but the lady who painted her version of it placed either first or second. To this day, it’s probably the sharpest photo I have ever taken. Absolutely no post-sharpening has been applied.

Call for Entries:  Natural Expressions Competition  –   ONLY 7 MORE DAYS!  Get your entries in ASAP!

Call for Entries: Natural Expressions Competition – ONLY 7 MORE DAYS! Get your entries in ASAP!

DON’T BE SHY! We need more of you to participate. Even if you don’t win, your images are likely to be displayed in an Art Museum.


ALL MEMBERS, give it a shot! 

Try something wild (all puns intended)! 


The Alpharetta Arts Center will host a Photography Competition and Exhibit organized by the Alpharetta Chapter of Georgia Nature Photographer’s Association (GNPA) to promote the arts in our community.

In partnership with the Alpharetta Arts Center, the Georgia Nature Photography Association – Alpharetta Chapter is organizing a 2ND Natural Expressions Competition and Exhibit. The categories for this are:

  • Fine Art
  • Birds
  • Macro/Close-up
  • Wildlife
  • Scapes

The event is open to GNPA members only. It will highlight nature and wildlife to educate people about the natural world. This exhibition at the Alpharetta Arts Center includes a reception.


Submissions Open: August 5

Submissions Close: August 26

Exhibiting Images Announced: August 31

Framed Images due at Alpharetta Arts Center: September 21

Reception and Winners Announced: October 8 5PM at the Alpharetta Arts Center

Exhibit: September 26- October 28


In order to make the competition more inclusive for less experienced photographers, we have three classifications of entrants:

  • Advanced Division:A more experienced member who has PLACED in the top 3 or Best of Show awards in 3 or more photography competitions, not just GNPA competitions!
  •  Enthusiast Division:A member who considers themselves as a photographer hobbyist.  May have competed in previous photographic competitions but have PLACED in the top 3 or Best of Show awards in 1 or 2 photography competitions, not just GNPA competitions!
  •  Novice Division:A less experienced member, a beginner, who may have competed in but has never placed in any photographic competition, not just GNPA competitions!

Any photographer has the OPTION to compete in a division above their experience level.  For example, a Novice member can choose to compete in either the Enthusiast or Advanced Division.


  • Fine Art*: Images in this category will be more interpretive than photo realistic. You have full freedom to use any in camera or post capture processing techniques. Subjects may include any naturally occurring element. Example: composites, kaledescopes, effects images, etc…
  • Birds*: Includes all birds.
  • Macro/Micro*: Includes images of close-ups of any subject (for example: insect, animal, plant life, fungus….). Close-ups are intimate views, tightly framed, or close examinations of subjects in nature.
  • Wildlife*: Includes both land and sea animals.
  • Scapes: Includes landscape, intimate landscapes, plantscape, seascape, atmosphere, weather, astro etc.

*Domestic and captive birds, animals and sealife are not permited.

Each category will have a Novice, Enthusiast and Advanced 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner and may include some honorable mentions.


Kathy Adams Clark, Photographer, by Jeff Rose


We are honored to have this year‘s judge, Kathy Adams Clarke.

Kathy’s photos have been published in hundreds of places including Family Fun,, Nature’s Best, New York Times, Birder’s World, and Ranger Rick. AAA Journey, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Highways magazines have used Kathy’s photos on their cover. Her photos have also appeared in a numerous books and calendars including the Barnes & Noble Ireland Countryside Calendar, the cover of the Arbor Foundation Rainforest Calendar, and the Sierra Engagement Calendar. Kathy’s photos of Houston were compiled into a calendar offered in Costco in 2016.

Kathy is Past-president of the North American Nature Photography Association. She teaches photography and is a popular speaker at local and national events, including GNPA.



To Download the Complete Rules for the Contest: CLICK HERE

To Enter the Contest:

  • Log In to your Member Portal and
  • Look for a Link to “2ND Natural Expressions Exhibit and Competition”.


Good luck to all

OIWC/GNPA 4th Annual Photo Competition Winners

OIWC/GNPA 4th Annual Photo Competition Winners

OIWC/GNPA 4th Annual Photo Competition Winners 2022

Meet A Member

Meet A Member

Mike Ramy, Decatur Chapter

In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. In this issue, it’s Mike Ramy, of the Decatur Chapter.

When did you become a GNPA member? I joined in 2016.

What is your occupation?  I own and operate Rock Art, Ltd., doing specialized epoxy applications in the motorsports and aerospace industries.

How did you get into photography? I started as an underwater videographer in the mid 1970s, which led to my transition into full-time still photography in 2011. Editor’s note: Mike’s photography website is

What are your favorite photography subjects? Nature and wildlife, as well as the guests I host having fun on my photography tours.

What are your favorite places to shoot? Rivers of the Southeast.

What would be your photographic “dream trip”?  I conduct my two “dream trips” each year in the form of photography tours. One is a sandhill crane tour on the Tennessee River aboard my custom-built camera boat. The other is a spring break tour on the St. Johns River in Florida.

Which camera body and lenses do you use most often? Canon 1DX MII and MIII with a 70-200 and 100-400 telephotos.

What are your go-to websites for photography information?  They are and

Have any photographers inspired you? Yes, especially Mark Seaver (, Brad Hill (, Howard Cheek (, Alan Murphy ( and   Max Waugh (

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA? The membership of fine people and talented photographers.

Something interesting about you that most people do not know: Not sure what people find interesting anymore. I am finding truth in the old adage: “The older I get, the less I seem to know.”

Where are you from? Atlanta.

Tell us a little about the photos you have provided: 


Chickamauga Chickadee

Chickamauga Chickadee – During a visit to the Chickamauga National Military Park to feel the history and enjoy the fall colors, I was privileged to have this Chickadee share some time with me. As one of my favorite images in the series, with the late afternoon sun setting the background leaves aglow, it gave me the feeling of how it may have appeared back in September of 1863 as the cannons fired during this historic battle in Northwestern Georgia. The Chickamauga Chickadee allowed me to see the beauty of nature in a place where you can feel the sadness of war. Canon 7D Mark II at 1/250, f9, Flash Exp Comp -1, ISO 400 at 400mm.


Apart from the Crowd

Apart from the Crowd – A very thick fog lay over the Tennessee River during our predawn departure from the marina at Bluewater Resort, so thick that you could hardly see the front of the boat.It was a slow go towards our planned position to see the Sandhill Cranes leaving the roost in and around the Hiwassee National Wildlife Refuge for their daily feeding excursions. Wave after wave, thousands of cranes head north for nearly two hours but this morning was different as the group take-offs were in a weather delay. This image was one of the many sandbars on the east side of the river between the marina and the refuge, and shows the cranes backlit by the rising sun filtered through the thick fog and the trees on the distant shoreline. Canon 1D X Mark II: 1/800, f6.3, Exp Comp +1 2/3, ISO 200 at 400mm.



Waiting – Julie Newsome, a participant on Mike’s Spring Break Photogaphy tour, provided the coments for this image: “…we glided with the current along the Ocklawaha River through the Ocala National Forest near the St John’s River. These beautiful Cattle Egrets, photographed by Mike, appear clearly intent on an unrevealed focal point; most likely a consideration for a potential meal or a birdcall from an unseen origin. Only if a slight breeze ruffles their perfect feathers is there a hint these birds are alive. Poised in rapt attention they appear as exquisite, detailed carvings by a master sculptor. I am deeply moved by the diversity of the environment surrounding me, and changed from the exposure to the wonders I’ve had the privilege to witness first-hand on this beautiful river. Once isn’t enough. I must go back again.”