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 www.MikieProductions.com.
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 www.naturephotographers.network/ and www.naturephotographers.net/audioslideshows/wnpbirds.html
Have any photographers inspired you? Yes, especially Mark Seaver (http://seaverphotos.zenfolio.com), Brad Hill (http://www.naturalart.ca), Howard Cheek (http://www.howardcheekphotography.com), Alan Murphy (https://www.alanmurphyphotography.com) and Max Waugh (https://www.maxwaugh.com).
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 – 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 – 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.”
Kathy Aspy, Roswell Chapter
In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. In this issue, it’s Kathy Aspy, of the Roswell Chapter.
When did you join GNPA? I attended the very first meeting of GNPA and joined that night.
Which chapter do you belong to? My husband, Dale, and I are co-chairs of the Roswell Chapter.
What is your occupation? I’m a database manager for the Georgia Department of Education.
How did you get started in photography? I love arts and crafts, and photography gives me an opportunity to be creative. I also enjoy nature and hope my images encourage people to preserve and conserve our environment.
What are your favorite photography subjects? I love color. I don’t see creatively in black and white, so I am much more attracted to bright and colorful objects than interesting lines in a landscape. I like taking photos of dragonflies and damselflies. My second-most favorite subjects are water birds, followed by flowers.
What are some of your favorite places to shoot? Gibbs Gardens, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Alligator Farm, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Smokey Mountains on the annual GNPA trip, and the boardwalk on the Chattahoochee River.
What would be your photographic “dream trip”? Without a doubt it would be the Galapagos Islands.
Which camera body and lenses do you use most often? My current camera is a Canon 90D. For dragonflies and flowers, I typically use a Sigma 180 macro to achieve a good working distance. For birds, I use a Tamron 150-600 Gen 2 zoom lens.
Do you have a favorite website(s) for photography information? I like looking at National Geographic and studying the techniques those awesome photographers use in their photography. I’m interested in the angles, the use of light, etc., that give a photo a voice.
Have any photographers inspired you? I learn best by hearing someone talk or by seeing them demonstrate a technique, so my biggest inspirations are people in GNPA and speakers we have featured. I can honestly say the many outstanding photographers in GNPA have inspired me by demonstrating what great photographs people I know can create. I enjoy impressionistic art like Monet. I love the photographic style of Charles Needle, who has spoken a couple times at GNPA meetings. Nancy Rotenberg was at the first Expo and was a big inspiration to me. Bill Lea is a great speaker and photographer, and I learned how to watch for bear behavior from him on our Smokey Mountains field trip. David Akoubian is a very thoughtful naturalist and we have tried to incorporate some of his teachings in our own backyard.
What have you gained by being a GNPA member? I have learned so much from other GNPA members on topics ranging from improving my in-camera captures to post processing. I learned how to use Live View at the first Expo and I utilize it all the time now. At a GNPA meeting, Robert Hice taught me how to set up a perfect hummingbird shot, and I use those lessons every year. The exchange of knowledge and helpful information has been fantastic. The Expos and field trips are great opportunities to learn and put those lessons to use.
Something interesting about you that most people don’t know: At age 16, I was a member of the original volunteer group that helped to build the Chattahoochee Nature Center, after my high school biology teacher asked for volunteers. Also, I am very fortunate that nature photography is a family activity, with my husband and daughter joining me on photography shoots.
Where are you from? I was raised in Dunwoody and remember I-285 and Georgia 400 being built. Perimeter Mall was a farm with cows then. I can remember when the bridge over the Chattahoochee was one-way and you had to keep your tires on the wooden tracks.
Tell us a little about the photos you have provided:
This was taken in our yard. Photographers are taught that the eye follows a leading line. I like the way the viewer is drawn along the stem of the canna to the vibrant colors in the wing of the dragonfly. The angle of the wings reminds me of a colorful whirligig.
“Frog Princess Parasol”
I captured this at Gibb’s Gardens on a hot summer day. The frog found a perfect pink parasol to enjoy some shade.
This image comes from the Chattahoochee Nature Center during their annual butterfly festival. I was drawn to the bright, contrasting colors.
Jamie Anderson, Coastal Chapter
In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. In this issue, it’s Jamie Anderson, of the Coastal Chapter.
When did you join GNPA? July 2014
What is your occupation (or former occupation, if retired)? I’m self-employed with two businesses: FCP Computer Services, which is a data processing business, and Coastal Georgia Fine Art Prints (www.CoastalGeorgiaPrints.com) which is my photography business.
How did you get started in photography? I actually got into nature photography when I was a scoutmaster. When digital photography experienced more widespread use around the turn of the century, I started carrying a digital camera and I photographed scouting events like camping trips. Since I was already geared toward the outdoors, I also photographed nature and wildlife. After serving as a scoutmaster, I got a little more serious about it and continued to develop it, upgrade camera equipment and improve my photography skills.
What are your favorite photography subjects? Landscapes with sunrises or sunsets, the Milky Way, and wildlife.
What are some of your favorite places to shoot? I really enjoy shooting the Coastal Georgia barrier islands. We have 100 miles of barrier islands along our coast, but each island is pretty unique. Some are fully developed, some are partially developed, and some are totally undeveloped. The Coastal Georgia area is also rich in historic sites, state parks, wildlife refuges, and is even home to a National Seashore on Cumberland Island. I grew up in Savannah, so I know the area and the local wildlife well, and continue to learn more.
What would be your photographic “dream trip”? Perhaps when I retire, I would love to to take a trip out west to Yellowstone or Yosemite National Park. I’d also like to visit Scotland one day.
Which camera body and lenses do you use most often? I use a Canon 5D II with the Sigma lenses. I like the 24-35mm for landscape and the 150-600 for wildlife.
Do you have a favorite website(s) for photography information? Early on I used www.Digital-Photography-School.com, which is a good resource for all sorts of photography, and is especially good for beginners. I also took the courses available at www.MyPhotoArtisticLife.com, which is more for creating digital fine art work in post processing. The courses there will teach you all the ins and outs of Photoshop, which is good to know even if you don’t use them to create digital fine art. You can also use the tools to enhance and improve your nature photography and make it look more natural. Today, since Covid, I find it hard to keep up with all the information coming out in video. There is plenty available on YouTube, plus ones created by software manufacturers, as well as our own website at www.GNPA.org.
Have any photographers inspired you? I like the work of all of the legendary nature photographers – Ansel Adams, John Shaw and Arthur Morris to name a few. Their work inspires me to keep trying to create better photos. Later photographers like Doug Gardner of the Natural History Channel on Youtube have also inspired me to learn more about nature photography and to get out and shoot and enjoy the experience. His Wild Photo Adventures video series are both instructional and inspirational.
What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA? Always learning more. The GNPA has been a place to learn and share information about nature photography and to grow your skills. It’s a place where you can both learn a new skill and then put that skill into practice during a field trip. And, it’s a place where people of all skill levels are welcome.
Something interesting about you that most people don’t know: I used to teach the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge and would bring the scout troop to Ossabaw Island, where they would experience being stranded on a remote island for a weekend.
Where are you from? Born and raised in Savannah, GA.
Tell us a little about the photos you have provided:
“Tricolored in the Cattails”
I captured this image in July 2021 at Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge. Sometimes the herons will try to blend in with their surroundings and camouflage themselves as they hunt along the edge of the pond or lake. This one was doing a good job of blending in with the cattails.
This beautiful black swallowtail butterfly was also photographed at Harris Neck last July. I was able to capture this one’s beauty on a thistle bud as it was searching for nectar. It’s an awesome macro photograph that will work quite well as a fine art piece. I captured it with a telescopic lens, because I was out hunting wildlife that day.
“Parrish’s Mill Covered Bridge”
This scene was photographed in November 2021 near Twin City, Georgia. The covered bridge is located at George L. Smith State Park. It was originally built by Alexander Hendricks and James Parrish who purchased the land to build the needed mill in 1879. It was considered an engineering miracle back in 1880. After only a few months of construction, the base and dam were completed. By the end of the year the covered bridge that would eventually house a sawmill, gristmill and cotton gin were complete. Its gristmill can still be operated today and the sawmill was used well into the late 1800s. The bridge was not closed to automobiles until 1984 and the dam still holds the water for Parrish’s pond.
Emil Powella, Decatur Chapter
In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. In this issue, it’s Emil Powella, of the Decatur Chapter.
When did you join GNPA? 2018
What is your occupation? Retired
How did you get into photography? I just decided to pursue as a hobby in early 2018.
What are your favorite photography subjects? Landscapes, wildlife (especially birds), car shows, public events, old barns and buildings.
What are your favorite places to shoot? Many of the parks in the Atlanta area.
What would be your photographic “dream trip”? Alaska is a desire.
Which camera body and lenses do you use most often? Canon R5 mirrorless with the Canon 24-105 lens; Canon 100-400 lens; Tamron 90 macro; Canon 50.
What are your go-to website for photography information?
David Akoubian at http://www.bearwoodsphotography.com/
Tony Northrup at https://northrup.photo/tutorials/camera-tutorials/
Mike Moats at https://www.tinylandscapes.com/
Have any photographers inspired you? David Akoubian for birds and wildlife; Mike Moats for macro; Horace Hamilton for landscape.
What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA? The interactions with giving, like-minded photographers.
Something interesting about you that most people don’t know: I am a member of the Lilburn City Council.
Where are you from? I grew up in Lakeland, FL
Tell us a little about the photos you have provided:
Scipio Creek Marina Sunrise. This was shot at 35mm on the Canon EOS R at sunrise in Apalachicola, FL. I love the light and color of sunrise in this very peaceful setting.
Blue Hour in the Smokies. This was shot at 105mm on the Canon R5, from Clingman’s Dome in the Smoky Mountains. It was about 25 degrees and windy. The textures and the colors tell me why it’s called “blue hour.”
Stone Mountain in the fall is marvelous.
Janet L. Poole, Roswell Chapter
In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. In this issue, it’s Janet L. Poole, of the Roswell Chapter.
When did you join GNPA? June 12, 2017
What is your occupation? Accounting – CPA
How did you get into photography? I travel a lot, and it was a way to document the beautiful animals and scenery.
What are your favorite photography subjects? Water, gardens, big animals (moose, bear bison, elk, pronghorn, etc.) and birds, especially hummingbirds.
What are your favorite places to shoot? National and state parks.
What would be your photographic “dream trip”? I have already taken it. That was to Alaska, at Kenai Peninsula, Kenai Fjords and Katmai National Park. Spending time with the bears, moose and whales in their home was incredible. I would love to return and also go to Denali. Yellowstone and the Tetons are a very close second. Outside the USA, I would love to do an African safari and photograph the big five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard).
Which camera body and lenses do you use most often? Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600 mm G2. I love this combo.
Have any photographers inspired you? Ansel Adams, Thomas D. Mangelsen and David Akoubian.
What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA? Learning how to become a better photographer and meeting so many nice people who are willing to share tricks of the trade.
Something interesting about you that most people don’t know: I have visited all 50 states (some many times) with Hawaii (the 50th state), being the last one I visited. I have also been to 42 out of the 63 National Parks.
Where are you from? New Carrollton, Maryland
Tell us a little about the photos you have provided:
This is the first time I got a picture of a hummingbird that was in focus and did not look like an ant. I used the Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600 mm. I was so excited. This was taken at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, Colorado. It’s the world’s highest botanical garden at 8,200 feet, and a beautiful spot.
After a fantastic flight from Homer, AK, into Katmai National Park on a beautiful day, I was blessed to meet this cute baby brown bear with its mom. It’s famous, having been featured in a Disney movie called “Bears” that came out in 2014, the same year we visited.
This is the Nāpali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii, viewed from a helicopter. It’s one of the most gorgeous and magical spots on earth. This is my happy place!
Art Stiles, Griffin Chapter
In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. In this issue, it’s Art Stiles, of the Griffin Chapter.
How long have you been a GNPA member?
What is your current occupation (or if retired, your former one)?
28 years in the Regular Army Combat Arms, 17 years teaching third- and fifth-grade students.
How and when did you get into photography? I really got into photography when my daughters were little (early 1980s); however, I never really knew what I was doing. That didn’t happen until around 2006 when my wife bought a Nikon D40 DSLR. (I could afford to experiment then!)
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I love wildlife, flowers, and macro. I love landscapes too, but I’m not very good at that.
Name one of your favorite places to shoot.
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
What would be your photographic “dream trip”?
My dream trip would be a “no time limit” trip where I would fly to Patagonia and take perhaps a full year to travel from there up the Andes spine, with side trips to local areas of interest, all the way to the mouth of the Amazon.
Which camera body and lenses do you use most often?
I currently use a Nikon D850, with the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f-2.8 II ED and the Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f-2.8 G ED lenses.
What are your go-to websites for photography information?
For inspiration, Outdoor Photographer https://www.outdoorphotographer.com/tips-techniques/ for Nikon Cameras Fstoppers https://fstoppers.com/originals/seventeen-new-tricks-nikon-d850-and-how-theyll-help-your-photography-193751) and for photography skills & techniques Digital Camera World https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/tutorials/147-photography-techniques-tips-and-tricks-for-taking-pictures-of-anything
Can you name any photographers who have inspired you? Jim Henderson was the first, as well as my first photography teacher. Since then, there have been many, like Horace Hamilton of GNPA.
What is your favorite part of belonging to GNPA? The best part of belonging to GNPA is the willingness of every member I’ve met to freely share techniques, expertise and locations.
Something interesting about you that most people do not know:
Before going into the Army, I worked on a cattle ranch in Colorado and rode bulls in the rodeo circuits.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in northern Louisiana and grew up in Texas and Louisiana.
Tell us a little about the photos you’ve provided:
My wife took this shot of me as I was showing the horse the photo I had taken of him.
I had intended to shoot the John Moulton barn this morning; however, as I was getting my gear out of my truck in the dark, two busloads of tourists pulled up and swarmed the place. I left and went down to the T.A. Moulton barn and waited for the sunrise. I am grateful to those tourists. If not for them, I would have never gotten this shot.
I had been to Yellowstone many times, but never in the winter. In February 2020, my wife and I went there with Chris Dekle. This red fox, more than any other animal, captured my heart with his relentless effort to find food and survive.