Meet A Member

Meet A Member

Don Saunders, Smyrna Chapter

In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. This month, it’s Don Saunders, a founding member of the Smyrna Chapter.

When did you join GNPA?

I joined the formation meetings that led to the creation of GNPA. I had several different roles in GNPA. The most demanding role was Program Chair, where I scheduled all speakers and meetings for over two years. At this time, GNPA had only a single meeting and individual chapters had not been formed yet.

What is your occupation?

I am retired now. My occupation was medical sales and most of that was diagnostic ultrasound systems (contrast resolution and detail resolution).

How did you get into photography?

I received a Kodak Brownie as a Christmas gift. Later I “upgraded” to a Kodak Instamatic, placed it in an underwater housing, and took underwater photos of fish with it.

What are your favorite photography subjects?

I love to photograph wildlife, landscapes and macro subjects.

 What are your favorite places to shoot?

The North Georgia mountains and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are my favorite places for landscapes and mammals. There are several locations in central Florida that are great for photographing birds. 

What would be your photographic “dream trip?” 

Banff, Yoho, Jasper, and Kootenay national parks in the Canadian Rockies. Those would be followed by Glacier, Yellowstone, Tetons, Zion and Bryce national parks, the Wave, Antelope Canyon, Bandon, OR, Cannon Beach and the national parks at Grand Canyon (North & South Rims), Canyonlands, Death Valley, Yosemite, Redwoods, Crater Lake, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Olympic. Also Denali NP and Lake Clarke NP for brown bears.

Which camera body and lenses do you use most often?

Canon R5 with 16-35, 24-105, 180 macro and100-400 lenses. If traveling by air and there are weight and size restrictions, I’ll use the Olympus E-M1X & E-M1.3 with 7-14, 12-100, 40-150, and 300 lenses.

What are your go-to websites for photography information?                                                                                               

Recently, I have been watching YouTube videos by certain photographers, like Mark Denney, Erin Babnik, Marc Muench, Kathleen Clemons, Sean Bagshaw, Joshua Cripps, Matt Kloskowski and Tim Grey.

Have any photographers inspired you?

John Shaw was my primary inspiration since he excelled at photographing landscapes, wildlife and macro and wrote several outstanding instructional books covering these subjects. Others are Ansel Adams, George Lepp, Bill Fortney, Art Wolfe, John Netherton and Rick Sammon.

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA?

Shooting with fellow GNPA members at beautiful locations and learning from the other members.

Something interesting about you that most people do not know:

I am passionate about scuba diving. As a young boy in central Ohio, I watched the “Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” and was hooked. I became a certified diver at age 17 and dove for nearly 20 years. In 2015, I jumped back into diving by beginning my training from the basics. In a year and a half, I had earned my Master Scuba Diver certification. Last year was a dry (no diving) year, but I am hopeful that I will get wet in 2021.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Granville, Ohio.

Tell us a little about the photos you have provided:

Aurora Borealis in Iceland. My first and only time seeing the Northern Lights. We were on a trip with Iceland Photo Tours and arrived at Kirkjufell in the afternoon. After dinner, we went outside and saw the lights. We hurried to the mountain overlook and photographed it continuously for two hours. The lights constantly moved and changed colors.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers. While photographing birds at the Venice Audubon Rookery, I noticed two photographers by this dead tree. I joined them photographing this mated pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers as they explored a nesting cavity. Of all my images, this one had the most compelling composition, color, head angles and catch lights in the eyes.

Black bear cub in tree. I joined Chas Glatzer for one of his workshops in Minnesota. This cub’s mother had just sensed another bear approaching and made a warning sound to her cub, sending it scurrying up a tree. I walked up on a boardwalk, which put me at eye level with the cub, and photographed it. It was cold and wet that day, and the look on the cub’s face with its wet fur made a connection with me.

Meet A Member

Meet A Member

Robbie Medler, Coastal Chapter

In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. This month, it’s Robbie Medler from the Coastal Chapter.

When did you join GNPA?

January 2017

What’s your occupation?  

I’m a retired teacher.

How did you get into photography?

After our sons went off to school, taking their toys with them, I started watching the birds in my backyard and began taking photos of them, and went from there. I still love taking backyard photos of all things nature-related.

What are your favorite photography subjects?

Birds, insects, flowers, landscapes – anything to do with nature. And now a grandson, too!

What are your favorite places to shoot?

Anywhere outdoors, but I love wildlife refuges and parks, and of course my backyard.

What would be your photographic “dream trip?”

So many to dream about. Maybe Alaska and photographing bears.

Which camera and lenses do you use most often?

I have a Canon body and I use the 400mm and 100mm Macro lenses, along with a couple of wide-angle lenses.

What are your go-to websites for photography information?

I honestly don’t have a go-to website. I Google a lot!

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA?

The members. Everyone has been so kind and forthcoming with their knowledge. I have learned so much, and I’ve been so inspired by the members, photographers and others.

Where are you from?

My dad was in the Air Force, so we lived many places, finally settling here in Georgia.

Ibises Morning Bath. Photo by Robbie Medler.

Life in the Flowers. Photo by Robbie Medler.

Oatland. Photo by Robbie Medler.

 

Meet A Member

Meet A Member

Sophie DeBacker, Roswell Chapter

In our newsletters, we feature short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. This month, it’s Sophie DeBacker from the Roswell Chapter.

When did you join GNPA?

Some years ago, haha! I don’t remember exactly, around 5-6 years ago, I think.

What’s your occupation? 

I am a Jewelry Artist.

How did you get into photography?

My dad put a camera in my hands when I was 13 because I was bored. I took pictures on and off for a long time, but only became really passionate after moving here in 2009 and seeing all the new and wonderful birds that were around.

What are your favorite photography subjects?

Birds for sure! But I also like anything else nature-related – flowers and macro photography, and other animals.

What are your favorite places to shoot?

My backyard, but also anywhere I can observe and learn more about wildlife.

What would be your photographic “dream trip?”

Australia and South America. They have such beautiful and colorful birds!

Which camera and lenses do you use most often?

Canon 5DIII with a 300L F2.8

What are your go-to websites for photography information?

I don’t really visit photography websites unless I have a specific question I need answered.

Have any photographers inspired you?

Not specifically. It is more about the emotion, mood, color and composition of a photograph. I do like Marina Cano; she is a wonderful wildlife photographer.

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA?

Being able to share my passion with other people with the same interest. GNPA has some wonderful members and talented photographers!

Something about you most people don’t know:

I love dancing, and I won the European Championship of Line Dance in 2005.

Where are you from?

Belgium, Europe

 

‘I didn’t do it!’ Male Northern Flicker snacking in dogwood tree. Photo by Sophie DeBacker.

‘Fly-Through’ American Robin taking off with a berry. Photo by Sophie DeBacker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Farniente’ Baby Barred Owl relaxing in the afternoon sun. Photo by Sophie DeBacker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet a Member

Meet a Member

Don L Williams, Hamilton Chapter

 

In every newsletter, we feature a short profile of a GNPA member. This month, it’s Don L Williams from the Hamilton Chapter.

When did you join GNPA?

I first joined in 2015.

What’s your occupation?  

I retired from TSYS, Inc. in Columbus several years ago as Associate Technical Director. For most of my career, I designed software, both technical and business.

How did you get into photography?

I purchased a used Voightlander rangefinder camera when I was 18 and played with it for a while. But it wasn’t until I went overseas with the military a couple of years later that I really started to get serious about it.

What are your favorite photography subjects?

I will photograph about anything, but as my wife and I are both avid “birders,” I shoot a lot of bird photos. I also very much enjoy close-up photography.

What are your favorite places to shoot?

It’s hard to pick just one favorite place. We like to travel and camp, so wherever we are at the time is where I will shoot.

What would be your photographic “dream trip?”

There are lots of places! But Iceland has to be near the top of the list.

Which camera and lenses do you use most often?

I currently shoot with a Nikon Z6 and Nikon D500. If we are birding I will have a Sigma 150-600mm on the D500 and a Nikon 24-70mm on the Z6. Otherwise I will have a Nikon 28-300mm on the D500, with a Sigma 105mm macro if I decide to do some close-up photos (although the 28-300mm does a pretty good job with closeups for the most part).

What are your go-to websites for photography information?

I usually go to YouTube for photography information. There are three or four folks there that I follow fairly regularly.

Have any photographers inspired you?

I was inspired by Ansel Adams early on. Today there are so many great nature photographers that it would be impossible to pick specific ones. I am constantly inspired by other photographers, including several of our own GNPA members.

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA?

I think the favorite part for me has been the annual trips to the Smoky Mountains and the Circle B trip. It was my first GNPA Smoky Mountain trip as a relatively new member in 2015 that convinced me to continue my association with GNPA.

Something about you most people don’t know:

In addition to photography, I sometimes paint in watercolor or draw with pen and ink.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Alabama.

 

Snow Geese in Flight by Don L. Williams

Morning Frost by Don L. Williams

 

Meet a Member – Bill & Heather Hatherley, Alpharetta Chapter

Meet a Member – Bill & Heather Hatherley, Alpharetta Chapter

In each of our newsletters, we’ll be featuring short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. This month, it’s Bill and Deborah Hatherley (and their dog Butterscotch) from the Alpharetta Chapter, one of our Family Memberships.

When did you join GNPA?

October 2016.

What’s your occupation?  

Deborah and Bill are both retired after working 40 years. Deborah spent her career as a school psychologist and Bill worked in computer security.

How did you get into photography?

Bill started in photography 50 years ago with a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic. In 1984, his apartment burned down and he lost all of his photography equipment, prints and negatives. After this dramatic loss, he left the hobby for 25 years. In 2010, when Deborah and Bill began traveling on cruises, Bill’s interest in photography was rekindled and he purchased a full-frame camera with all the “necessary” lenses. He later moved from his Olympus system to Canon, and has recently adopted a full-frame Sony outfit. 

Deborah takes a few photos and videos with her iPhone but her real artistic passion is painting. She joins Bill on GNPA trips and while he takes photos, she paints. One of her most intriguing accomplishments was decorating a walking stick with painted scenes from all the sites she saw while on a GNPA trip in Florida, led by Tom Simpson.

What are your favorite photography subjects? 

Bill shoots mainly landscapes and birding scenes, but his favorite subject is his service dog Butterscotch.  

butterscotch pic

What are your favorite places to shoot? 

Bill and Deb both love attending GNPA trips. The more memorable ventures involved traveling with Tom Simpson to Florida and Larry Winslett to Tennessee and North Georgia, as well as a learning session conducted by Eric Bowles at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

What would be your photographic “dream trip”?

“We would love to travel with Larry to Bosque Del Apache or with others to the Triple D Ranch and the Tetons, especially in winter,” according to Bill. 

Bill’s photo “Dad Supporting Junior On First Flight” was recently selected to be displayed for a year at the Emory University Hospital Downtown, as part of an Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) exhibition.

 

Which camera and lenses do you use most often?

“For birding and wildlife, I tend to use the Sony 100-400 or the 200-600. They are great lenses. For landscapes, I lean on the 16-35. It is so sharp and awesome.”

“Bigger Than Life Shadow” is another image by Bill that is on display at the Emory University Hospital Downtown exhibition.

 

What are your go-to websites for photography information? 

“At this point, we are so limited by the Covid-19 virus situation, I’ve got to give a big shoutout to all the GNPA chapters. They are continuing to foster interest in photography by providing Zoom classes with excellent instructors. Both of us attend sessions from all over the state. We recently enjoyed an excellent presentation on the Montana Photo Triangle from the Hamilton Chapter. By the way, these Zoom sessions are posted in the Members section of the GNPA website. A big thank-you goes to Lee Friedman of my chapter, who has been instrumental in facilitating these sessions and posting them online for all GNPA members.”

Have any photographers inspired you?

“David Akoubian, Tom Simpson, Tom Wilson, Eric Bowles and Larry Winslett of GNPA are winners and inspirational. They have shown a strong commitment to facilitate learning and support the GNPA endeavor. We should also add that local photographers Kevin Gaskin, Jeff Milsteen, David Wolf and Amanda Gardner (of ASOP) have also been instrumental in our learning. On a national level, we follow Tony and Chelsea Northrup, Mark Smith, Scott Kelby, Mark Galer, Nick Page, Terry White and Laura Shoe, not so much for their photography but for their commitment and excellence in education.”

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA?

“By far, it’s the sharing and learning. I am constantly searching for ways to improve my photography.  GNPA is so welcoming and inspirational. Before Covid-19, I regularly attended local meetings at Alpharetta and Roswell but have also traveled to Gwinnett and Smyrna and always been welcome. It’s a great organization.”

Something about you most people don’t know:

 “Deb and I help teach (not train – talk to me about the difference) service dogs for Canine Assistants. We love helping canines grow and develop and get placed with people who need service dogs to help them function in this world. Dogs we work with change the lives of people with disabilities, and it’s so heartwarming to be a part of this important service.” One other piece of trivia: Bill has set foot in all 50 states, an experience he now treasures.

 

 

Butterscotch. Photo by David Akoubian.

 

Where are you from?

Deborah is a native Atlantan. Bill was born in Florida but only lived there six months. After that, he traveled with his family to many military bases before finally settling in Atlanta.

 

Meet a Member – Lisa Westberry, Griffin Chapter

Meet a Member – Lisa Westberry, Griffin Chapter

In our newsletters, we’ll be featuring short profiles of GNPA members from across the state. This month, it’s Lisa Westberry from the Griffin Chapter.

When did you join GNPA?

Five years ago.

 

What’s your occupation?  

Ecologist for Georgia Department of Transportation.

 

How did you get into photography?

It started as a hobby while in graduate school, but turned into a full-time passion around seven years ago.

 

What are your favorite photography subjects?

Landscapes, wildlife, macro and architectural.

Photo by Lisa Westberry

 

What are your favorite places to shoot?

The Georgia coast.

Sunrise on Driftwood Beach taken on a birthday trip to Jekyll Island in 2012. Undoubtedly one of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken. Very little editing was needed.

 

What would be your photographic “dream trip?”

A road trip west, with stops at all the iconic national parks.

 

Which camera and lenses do you use most often?

Nikon D500/Tamron 70-200 mm and Canon 70D/Tamron 90mm macro.

 

What are your go-to websites for photography information?

For inspiration I go to National Geographic (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/).   For my Camera System, I visit Nikon (https://www.nikonusa.com/en/index.page) and PetaPixel (https://petapixel.com/).

To improve my photography skills & techniques, I use Digital Photography Review (https://www.dpreview.com/) and Kelby One (https://kelbyone.com/).

 

Have any photographers inspired you?

There are so many photographers who inspire me, from Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz to many of my fellow GNPA members.

 

What’s your favorite part of belonging to GNPA?

Developing new skills, finding my creative side, and probably most importantly, taking pride in how my photography has improved while being a member.

 

Something about you most people don’t know:

I received my MS in Biology studying the life history of biting midges in Glynn County, Georgia.

 

Where are you from?

Born and grew up in Griffin, Georgia.

 

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