Get the Most out of attending your professional conference - #POMA2019

Starting June 18th, 2019, some of the most influential outdoor media professionals, brands, and companies will gather in Wichita, Kansas for #poma2019. The Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) annual conference lasts three days. The conference is about building successful outdoor business, networking, and learning from others in the traditional outdoor sporting industry. For those that attend (membership only) it is important to set goals and work towards them during your time at conference.

The following is a list of ways to get the most out of your time at #POMA2019, Wichita, Kansas, at the Hyatt Regency.

MEDIA*

1. Set goals. Are you looking to build long-term relationships for the years to come, create content, or speak with editors about contributing? Your approach will depend on your goal.

2. Have realistic expectations and be prepared. Looking for a byline? Come prepared with writing samples. Are you looking for a product or sponsorship? Be sure you have current and exact traffic/viewership and engagement numbers.

3. Don't leave the conversation without an action item. Are you going to send a follow up email or do you need to schedule a conference call? Make sure both parties know the next step and how to contact each other. 

4. Don't forget business cards. There is still time to overnight 150 business cards from VistaPrint - you'll need them! Once at the conference, make sure to note on each business card your action item. 

Pro Tip: Use CamCard to scan business cards on your phone instead of going home with a giant pile. 

5. Attend everything on the agenda. POMA is three days and they should be FULL. From breakfast to the after hours networking, you should attend everything. There are few industry opportunities like POMA where you can network with elite industry partners... over a beer. 

6. Sit with someone new at every meal. Networking doesn't happen in a bubble. Make sure you're meeting and talking to everyone at the event. 

CORPORATE PARTNERS*

1. Do your homework. Know who you want to connect with or, at the very least, know what type of attendee (media/NGO/corporate partner) you want to meet. Have some ideas on what asks you might have, but be open to a different perspective or more interesting angle for storytelling with your brand. 

2. Be ready for plot twists. Just because you're looking for media coverage, doesn't mean a Corporate Partner can't be helpful (or vice versa). The POMA family is well-connected throughout, so approach everyone as an opportunity to learn, grow and expand your brand (personal or corporate). 

3. Networking is a marathon. Don't sprint to the ask. All Corporate Partners want great coverage, and all content creators want great stories. Spend some time getting to know members and understand what they're looking for first. How can you help each other? This approach makes the community stronger, and will result in better results for you and your brand. 

Professional Outdoor Media Association

*the recommendations were copied and repurposed from a press release sent out by POMA June 12, 2019.

Spring bird migration from Montana - the birds this year were flighty!

The spring bird migration in Montana has been literally, flighty. Birds came and left so fast this year if you were not in the field waiting, you missed it. The numbers, as far as I can tell are down too. While I do have a Masters Degree in Science, my counts were not scientific, purely anecdotal and based on my 15 our so years of watching the spring bird migration along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. I’m sure there’s a reason the birds were quick and more elusive this year, but I can only speculate.

A cloud of mostly snow geese, with a few ducks mixed. © Tony Bynum

A cloud of mostly snow geese, with a few ducks mixed. © Tony Bynum

Three white snow geese landing in a farm field, in what looks like an orchestrated ballet. ©Tony Bynum

Three white snow geese landing in a farm field, in what looks like an orchestrated ballet. ©Tony Bynum

Where did the ducks and geese go?

I have to admit, I’m not a “birder,” or even a hard core duck guy. I don’t study the numbers and I’m not watching scientific trends as some of my more ardent waterfowling friends do. I like to photograph ducks and I’ve always like the idea that good ducks populations means good habitat, and good duck habitat is good for everything. Today, there are many variables that could affect ducks populations and their habits.

Montana winters are cold, but this past February was cold even by central Alaska standards. Parts of Montana had a February average temperature of minus one degree fahrenheit! We had low’s in the negative 40 range and weeks where we never broke zero. All of this culminated in one of the deepest freezes we’ve seen in recent memory. The earth froze deeper than usual, and the lake ice thicker than average.

Canada Geese with thick ice caked on their backs from the extreme cold. Photographed at minus 40 degrees f. © Tony Bynum

Canada Geese with thick ice caked on their backs from the extreme cold. Photographed at minus 40 degrees f. © Tony Bynum

This year when the first big wave of birds arrived, all the water was frozen, except for a few stream sections on the Missouri River. The bird’s major spring resting spot, Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area saw foot thick ice still by mid March!

Thousands of snow geese lift off and leave the area. © Tony Bynum

Thousands of snow geese lift off and leave the area. © Tony Bynum

The birds arrived, sat on the ice and scavenged for crumbs in the surrounding farm fields but soon tired of sitting on ice and digging through snow so they left. Where exactly they went is a good question but I’m sure it was north where temperatures were not as cold nor did they last for as long. Maybe there was open water up north? I don’t know.

Video - Spring Northern Pintail Ducks in Montana

In any event, as the video shows, I photographed migrating northern pintails, snow geese, swans - tundra and trumpeter - along with a few other puddle ducks for a couple days while their numbers peaked. I hope many of them flew through, because if that was the big pintail migration this year, we’re missing thousands of birds!

Several photographers sitting among the frozen cattails. A few birds can be seen behind them distorted by the thick ground fog. © Tony Bynum

Several photographers sitting among the frozen cattails. A few birds can be seen behind them distorted by the thick ground fog. © Tony Bynum

In the meantime, while I wait to see if any more birds arrive, here are some photographs of those migrating waterfowl taken from several locations around central Montana.

Enjoy.

If you are interested in purchasing any prints you can visit my prints page here (scroll down to the bottom of the images to see recent waterfowl images: Tony Bynum Nature Photography Prints.


UPDATE BELOW - APRIL 4TH, 2019

Update April 4, 2019 - April warming temperatures, fewer ducks but more variety. Warmer temperatures and longer days brought new ducks to Montana. The pintails have mostly left but more wigeon, mallards, snow geese, and red headed ducks arrived. My last visit to the duck marshes along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana was April 4. It was 55 degrees with a strong south west wind. The south west wind usually helps birds to fly north. On this day, the morning shoot was great but by noon there were almost no ducks. Most, I presume, headed north.

A “courtship” group of Mallard ducks lands in a prairie pond along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana. © Tony Bynum

A “courtship” group of Mallard ducks lands in a prairie pond along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana. © Tony Bynum

A group of drake Mallards, with on hen turns in the cloudless sky. © Tony Bynum

A group of drake Mallards, with on hen turns in the cloudless sky. © Tony Bynum

A group of wigeon ducks display their colors and their flight above a prairie pond along the Rocky Mountain Front, Montana. The lower in the center mass looks to be a Eurasian wigeon. © Tony Bynum

A group of wigeon ducks display their colors and their flight above a prairie pond along the Rocky Mountain Front, Montana. The lower in the center mass looks to be a Eurasian wigeon. © Tony Bynum

A group of Red-headed ducks with their classic red head and blue bill (breeding season) chasing a hen. © Tony Bynum

A group of Red-headed ducks with their classic red head and blue bill (breeding season) chasing a hen. © Tony Bynum

Three canada geese taking flight over a frozen pond along the Rocky Mountain Front, Montana. © Tony Bynum

Three canada geese taking flight over a frozen pond along the Rocky Mountain Front, Montana. © Tony Bynum

Is it Habitat, Clean Water, Climate Change, Over Harvest?

The simple and most likely answer is all of the above. But if we’re seeing lower numbers this year, what does it tell us about the past and what can it help us predict for the future? Probably a lot. I know bird numbers go up and down from one year to the next. But, it’s worth pondering the question, where did they go?

I’m worried about the proposed changes to the clean water act, and the definition of waters of the United States. I’m worried about what those changes might mean for habitat and water quality that the prairie ducks depend on. Some estimates are that half of the prairie pothole birds could be negatively impacted by a decision to remove them from the Clean Water Act. On the plus side, some say it’s a good decision since those ponds are not, on their surface connected to a river or steam. By removing clean water protections it will allow them to be filled, polluted, or otherwise discarded.

This article does good job of describing the issue with defining “waters of the US,” as it relates to the warmer waters of the everglades. EPA’s clean water rollback . . .

Closely related is water quantity and climate. In this great video below, duck hunters and conservationists from Arkansas tell us first hand about ducks, duck hunting and how things are changing in the south. This video is very worth watching.

The video itself does not explain, without question where the birds went or what is taking place in our environment. It does not conclude that climate is the culprit, but it is worth considering that people who care about ducks are seeing changes.

I don’t know what the future for ducks or water is for our country, or the world for that matter, but we have the power to make it whatever we want it to be. We all can get involved locally. Work on local environmental issues. In my personal life, I am involved. I also try to use less electricity, conserve water, in general, commit to being more aware of my “footprint.” What could others do? What could you do?

Are instagram likes worth more than cash? - why you Should think twice before giving your Photographs away to Backpacker Magazine.

Are instagram likes worth more than cash? - why you Should think twice before giving your Photographs away to Backpacker Magazine.

Giving away your photographs away for likes? Better rethink your business strategy.

Restless Native Podcast - Brad Luttrell talks with Tony Bynum about Photography, the Business of Photography, and POMA

Restless Native Podcast - Brad Luttrell talks with Tony Bynum about Photography, the Business of Photography, and POMA

Podcast interview with Montana Based, Outdoor Photographer Tony Bynum, how Tony approaches his professional photography career - Conservation Photography, Business of Photography, Outdoors, Wildlife, the Professional Outdoor Media Association.

Podcast Hal Herring and Tony Bynum discuss photography and conservation

Podcast Hal Herring and Tony Bynum discuss photography and conservation

Podcast and blast tony bynum and hal herring talk about photography, conservation tony shares his secrets to great images and describes how he captured the "caveman" shot