December 12

2021 NANPA Conservation Award – Judge’s Choice

December 12, 2021

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Pelican with Beer Can in Gull” Image by Baton Rouge, Louisiana Photographer Among Top 24 in North America

Alma, IL—The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) revealed 24 prize-winning images this week in its 2021 Showcase competition. The images include Jeremy Burnham’s “Not Living the Hi Life”, Judge’s Choice in the Conservation category, as well as other stunning work in wildlife, landscape, macro, underwater, fine art, and conservation photography created by both professional photographers and experienced hobbyists living and/or working in North America. 

Best in Show images include a sea lion bursting through a school of fish underwater by Alex Rose of Woodridge, IL; a foggy Hawaiian seascape beneath a rainbow by Scott Reither of Maui, Hawaii; a great kiskadee eating berries by Tom Ingram of Campbell, CA; an Eastern bluebird transformed into a pencil sketch by Ron Day of Cookson, OK; a carnivorous Northern pitcher plant capturing two spotted salamanders by Samantha Stephens of Ottawa, Ontario; and a California thrasher in the mouth of a domestic cat by Alice Cahill of Morro Bay, CA. Six runners-up and 12 Judges’ Choice winners are also visible at

Panels of industry professionals selected the winning images from more than 3,750 submissions. All six judges are experienced prize-winning nature photographers themselves with expertise as magazine editors, agents, equipment representatives, naturalists, conservation specialists, and documentary filmmakers.

While the general public flocked to national parks and other public lands to connect with nature during the early months of the pandemic, nature photographers suffered economic hardships largely related to travel restrictions. Many industry professionals earn a significant amount of

income by leading photo tours for groups. Most travel globally for work. But nature photographers, like their subjects, tend to be resilient and adaptable. Many shifted their educational offerings to virtual formats, explored subjects and conservation issues closer to home, or found new ways to put nature images in the hands of consumers—on face masks, for example.

In a year full of stressors—a global pandemic, new work conditions, virtual school, socialization restrictions, economic uncertainty, raging wildfires, and election drama, just to name a few—the winning images are a reminder that being in nature, or even simply looking at images of nature, has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

About the NANPA Showcase competition

NANPA’s annual Showcase competition began in 2005. In 16 years, the competition has recognized more than 800 of North America’s most accomplished nature photographers. Nearly 2,500 photographers have entered the competition during that time. Winners receive a combination of cash prizes and publicity opportunities.

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