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What is NPN?
NPN is one of the very few places on the internet where you can get honest feedback on your work in a safe, non-threatening environment. The culture of NPN is wonderful. Caring, sharing people who are passionate about the art of photography are willing and able to share their experiences and knowledge of the craft to help others grow. I've been a member for many years and have been a moderator in the Avian gallery for more than a decade now. I can say that I've received as much back from NPN as I've given.
Finding NPN in 2011 greatly broadened my photographic horizons. The exchange of ideas, techniques, and locations has notably improved my results as well as presented new challenges. It's a great community of photographers who are very willing to share.
I joined the “old” NPN in January of 2008, thinking I was a pretty good photographer. It didn’t take long to figure out that I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and hardly understood the language. While I am still very far from being a brilliant star in the photographic firmament, I at least feel somewhat competent in my chosen genres. This is due to actively participating in NPN, reading as many critiques as possible, critiquing as much as possible and asking questions when someone used a term or abbreviation that was over my head. Literally all my development and most of the incentive for that development is due to this website and my fellow photographers who actively participate in it. It’s been a wonderful eleven years and I’m looking forward to many more.
I joined the original NPN in 2002. The critiques I received on my work were spot-on, very useful, and inspired me to continue to improve, not only my camera technique, but also post-processing. The discussion forums were also a great source of information about technique, gear, and post processing. With this new version of NPN, the same value continues: The critiques are insightful and continue to be inspiring. The facility in the new NPN to have larger images displayed gives the original poster and those making comments a deeper view. This greatly improves the quality of comments received. To me, NPN has given me the opportunity to meet fellow nature photographers, some of whom I now consider my closest friends. It is this sense of 'community' that means the most to me.
Having a supportive group of like-minded photographers interested in more than just likes is hard to come by these days. NPN is where I found that in the outdoor photography community. I learned a lot about my favorite places to visit and different ways to view nature photography. It was instrumental in building my early experiences photographing the Western US.
I've been with NPN since 2006 and it remains the ONLY place on the web where I share my images (that is aside from my website.) There's no shortage of places to showcase your work on the internet and Social media, but I chose to share with my friends on NPN. NPN remains true to the original concept of the "art and technique of nature photography." No politics, no egos; a true community of like-minded people who happen to love and enjoy nature, the great outdoors and photography. I too have made numerous friends from my interactions here on NPN who I get together with on photo trips or by staying in touch by email and communicating on NPN. NPN is more than sharing images and getting feedback. It's the opportunity to learn and grow as a photographer - both technically and artistically. And not just a chance to learn - but also a chance to teach. No matter your level of experience, we all can learn new things - and at the same time share our knowledge and experience with others. NPN is the perfect forum for all that.
A few years ago I came across NPN and started looking at the images, posting my photos, and participating in the discussions. I always found the NPN site/forum as a relaxing, calm, respectful and instructive virtual "place" where to share images and thoughts and have good time with others that share the same passion. Like being among friends, who can agree or disagree with each other but always with good humour and mutual respect. And I have learned a lot, and seen lots of splendid images. Then, work commitments and other issues kept me away from NPN, and I lost contact. As I learned later, in the following years the site itself was becoming less active. Now, a few months ago I discovered that NPN restarted and was active again! And I immediately joined it. And found the same atmosphere, which includes a true learning experience. Highly, highly recommended to all those who love nature and photography, like to share images and visions, and like to learn from each other.
I've been an active member of NPN since 2008, mostly participating in Wildlife and Birds category and sometimes Landscape. It has been a huge learning experience, which continue to grow even today. Since we have the photographers from all over the globe, one can learn to understand , learn and appreciate many different styles. One really learns to appreciate the images from different POV's. It's a friendly place, where one shares the images with like minded people, who aspire to grow together. Unlike social media, where the comments and following may boost your ego but the learning curve remains static, here the learning curve goes up and one tends to improve with the participation. As a direct result of participation at NPN, I had pictures published and couple of print sales as well. I had a huge gallery of more than 680 images at ole NPN site, which was a good reference point.
I’ve been a long time member of NPN dating back to 2006. Since that date I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many talented photographers here at NPN. My interfacing with these same folks was not only on line here at NPN, but also in the field through planned gatherings or in some cases even by chance. These encounters and interacting with other members I feel has strengthened my own photographic skills tremendously. Although in the beginning I felt my field skills were fairly solid I found my post processing and overall internet connected finished products were extremely inconsistent. However, with the support in receiving and also making many posted image critiques here at NPN over the years, I now feel confident in all my processes and procedures associated with making a solid finished product in the end. I think most photographers would agree that the entire process of reviewing, critiquing on others posted images, and receiving critiques on your own images provides the gold standard in developing many of the artistic skills many of us are seeking. Like most things in life you’ll find that you usually get a return on what you’re willing to put into a given endeavor. That same drive applies to the wide-world of nature photography.
NPN is the first photo forum I have found that is not marred by petty rivalries and self-important pundits. It is the only one where the quality of an image is what counts, not who made it, and where the technique is secondary to the results. The standards here are very high, and the volume of pictures is kept low: as a result, almost everything posted is worth examining and enjoying. In addition, the comments from other photographers are invariably positive, thoughtful and perceptive. I am very glad indeed to have found NPN.
What makes NPN special is what is isn't: it is not a site for equipment reviews and the endless "what is the best" questions about computers, image quality and dynamic range. It is not a site where angry snarky photographers post personal derogatory remarks. It is a site about the art of photography. People post their photos and the community responds with constructive suggestions and/or comments. The great value of the site is the community of photographers who visit it. There is a strong presence of older, experienced photographers who kindly and joyfully welcome beginners and offer their expertise. The tenor of discussion is always kind and respectful. There are no long threads of people attacking each other.The advise offered is priceless. Spending time on the site will make you happy.
NPN is a down to earth friendly forum where you can get some serious critique without having your ego destroyed. The Critiques are friendly but right on point. There are many categories that fit all types of photography. NPN also offers a wide range of categories for the non-critiquing types. What I like is, Articles, a place where you can read helpful tips, or if you have a helpful tip or a way to do things, you can add to the community. I highly recommend the NPN network to improve and show off your photography skills.
I started getting serious and interested in nature photography about 15-16 years ago. I don't recall how I discovered the original NPN but it proved to be the single most important factor in my development as a photographer. All of my early work was done with slides so I quickly had to learn the nuances of exposure if I didn't want to fill my trash can with discarded transparencies. My first love was and still is landscape photography but because I live in Houston there are few opportunities for good landscapes nearby. My wife developed an interest in gardening and butterflies and before long I had lots of subjects right out my front door. I'm especially thankful for Danny Young who went by the screen name NZ Macro. He was a moderator who always gave me good feedback on my images even when they were awful by my current standards. I began moderating myself in May 2007 and have been at it ever since. I've viewed and commented on tens of thousands of images in galleries across the sites. Viewing how others see, capture and process their work is invaluable. I've always thought that in any worthwhile endeavor one must expose oneself to folks who are more accomplished and experienced. NPN allows me to do that every day.