2017 NANPA Award Winners

We are pleased to formally announce the 2017 NANPA Award Winners. NANPA Awards fit two broad categories: recognition and service. The NANPA Awards Committee accepts nominations, selects and evaluates candidates for each award and makes recommendations to the NANPA Board of Directors. The 2017 NANPA Awards will be presented at the 2017 Nature Photography Summit in Jacksonville, FL, March 2-4.


NANPA Outstanding Nature Photographer of the YearThe Outstanding Photographer of the Year Award goes to an individual who has demonstrated unquestioned skill and excellence as a nature photographer through his/her past work and who has produced extraordinary recent work of significance to the industry.

Christian Ziegler

Christian Ziegler is a photojournalist specializing in natural history and science-related topics. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine, and has been widely published in other magazines like GEO, Smithsonian and BBC Wildlife. A tropical ecologist by training, he has worked in tropical rainforests on four continents, and for the past 12 years has been Associate for communication with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. On assignment with the Smithsonian, Christian photographed A Magic Web, an award-winning coffee table book on tropical ecology. More recently he published Deceptive Beauties, a book about wild orchids. He is a founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. In 2008 NANPA honored him with the Vision Award.


NANPA Outstanding ServiceService Awards include any award given to a member who has served NANPA in an extraordinary way. These awards go to committee leaders, a newsletter editor, a coordinator for a regional meeting, a staff member, etc.

Cindy Miller Hopkins

Cindy is a full-time travel and wildlife photographer with thousands of publications to her credit. Her images can be seen on the pages of hundreds of text books, travel brochures, calendars, U.S. and international magazines and consumer products. Some of her clients include National Geographic Traveler, Wells Fargo, American Express, Microsoft, AAA & Frommer’s travel guides, BING homepage images and TV’s Food Network. She has an image on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. Cindy travels on average 200 days a year. Her career has taken her to seven continents and over 140 countries. When not on the road, she lives at home with her husband in Colorado Springs, CO. Cindy has been a NANPA member since 2002, an active volunteer, committee chair, NANPA Foundation Trustee and Past President.


NANPA Community RecognitionThis award goes to a supplier of services or products to the photo industry. The award may be given to a specific individual or to a company. Since NANPA membership encompasses all elements of nature photography, including industry members, the award acknowledges their support to our field. Included in this category are manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, stock agencies, magazines and/or magazine staff, newsletters, photo service providers (labs, frame and mat, software, etc.), galleries, etc. Criteria include length of service, importance of a product/service to nature photography, service to the nature photography world beyond what one might expect of a company, special programs or products that have revolutionized nature photography, and/or outstanding contributions to the success of NANPA.

Chuck Luzier and Canon

Chuck is a Pro Marketing Specialist with Canon USA supporting professional photographers around the world. He has covered large sporting events such as the Summer Olympics in China, Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four Championships, College Football National Championships, and NASCAR. He has shot for some of the largest marine companies in the world, 95 space shuttle missions, and political events around the United States. As a six generation Florida cracker, Chuck has always felt connected to the land. While with Canon he has focused on wildlife and nature events such as the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, North American Nature Photography Association, Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest, Biggest Week in American Birding, and the Festival of the Cranes.


NANPA Mission AwardThe NANPA Mission Award recognizes outstanding efforts or accomplishment(s) by one of our members. This award exemplifies what NANPA is really all about, and the winner should epitomize NANPA’s principles in accordance with NANPA’s mission statement.

Suzi Eszterhas

Suzi Eszterhas is an award-winning wildlife photographer best known for her work documenting newborn animals and family life in the wild. Suzi’s unique ability to earn the trust of her subject leads to touching imagery including groundbreaking work with tiger cubs at a den in India, newborn cheetahs on the African savanna, and brown bear cubs seeing the world for the first time in the Alaskan wilderness. Her photographs have been published in over 100 magazine cover and feature stories in publications such as TIME, Smithsonian, BBC Wildlife, GEO, Popular Photography, Ranger Rick, and National Geographic Kids.

Jerry Monkman

Jerry Monkman’s images span many genres, from travel and editorial imagery to kids and specialized conservation. He is primarily known for his conservation photography work in New England, having spent the last 15 years documenting the mountains, forests, and coastlines that define the region. Staying true to his mission of “promoting ecological awareness through creative photography,” his images have contributed to raising awareness and funds to protect a diverse collection of wild places, from a small Connecticut trout stream not far from New York City, to New Hampshire’s Great Bay, to Maine’s Katahdin Lake near Baxter State Park. His work has appeared in magazines, books, and calendars around the world, including Outdoor Photographer, National Geographic Adventure, Audubon, and the New York Times.


NANPA Vision Award– This award recognizes outstanding work of an up-and-coming photographer or other person active in the nature photography community.

Melissa Groo

Melissa’s photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines, including Smithsonian, Audubon, Birdwatching, National Wildlife, Living Bird, Nature’s Best, Montana Outdoors, and New York State Conservationist Magazine. She is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer magazine, writing on issues of wildlife photography, and a contributor to Wild Planet magazine. She is on the faculty of the Summit Series of Photography Workshops and Hog Island Audubon Camp. Melissa uses her knowledge of animal behavior—what a species does in different seasons, what they eat, where they rest, how they tend to react to their surroundings—to get close to wildlife.


NANPA Fellows AwardThe NANPA Fellow Award is presented to members who have made significant contributions to the professional nature photography industry over a period of at least 20 years. This would encompass photographers, editors, agents, educators and other professions related to the industry.

Kathy Adams Clark

Kathy is a photographer, naturalist, and teacher who promotes photography and the natural world through teaching. Kathy’s work has been published in many places including Nature’s Best, New York Times, Birder’s World, Texas Highways and Family Fun. Her photos have also appeared in a numerous books and calendars including the Barnes & Noble Ireland Countryside Calendar and the cover of the Arbor Foundation Rainforest Calendar. She and her husband have collaborated on ten book projects, and she also is a popular workshop leader. Kathy has been very active in NANPA; since its beginning by serving on committees, the Board of Directors, and, then, as President in 2007-8. Since leaving the board, she’s continued to be active with Summit planning.

Michael Francis

Michael has 35 photographer book titles to his credit, and his images can be found on postcards, calendars, posters as well as many magazines. Michael has been an assignment photographer for companies such as Audubon, Field & Stream; as well as the concessionaire to Yellowstone, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon and Everglades national parks. Michael is a Past President of NANPA. Additionally, he has served on numerous committees, been a Regional Events leader, and Summit speaker on a variety of topics including book publishing and contracts. Michael has sponsored several high school and college students for NANPA’s scholarship programs.

Mark Lukes & Linda Helm

Mark, with his wife and business partner, Linda Helm, formed Images for the Environment in the 80s and recently changed the name of the organization to Art for Conservation. The focus of Art for Conservation is to provide resources to artists and photographers who share his passion for conserving nature. Mark is a Founding Member of NANPA and served as it’s first and second President. Mark helped to create the NANPA College Student program and has savored mentoring the students during the first five years of this program. Mark (and Fine Print Imaging) initiated the Philip Hyde Grant and continues to provide substantial support through both and service donations. Mark is a past recipient of the NANPA Mission Award (1997), NANPA Outstanding Service Award (2008), NANPA Foundation Jane & Russ Kline Recognition Grant (2010)

Robert Glenn Ketchum

Robert’s work is shown in some of the most prestigious galleries throughout the world including Museum of Modern Art (NY), the National Museum of American Art (DC), The Huntington Library and many others. He has authored several books not only regarding the art of photography, but also leading to the conservation and preservation of natural and wild lands. He has received the Lowell Thomas Award and is a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Robert is a past recipient of the NANPA Outstanding Photographer of the Year Award (2001).


NANPA Lifetime Achievement AwardThis award goes to an individual who has served nature photography for at least 20 years.

Jack Dykinga

Jack Dykinga blends fine-art photography with documentary photojournalism. In 1971 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. He is a regular contributor to Arizona Highways and National Geographic magazines. He also has published ten books that advocate for wilderness. These large-format books include: Frog Mountain Blues, The Secret Forest, The Sierra Pinacate, The Sonoran Desert, Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau, and Desert: The Mojave and Death Valley. In addition he authored and photographed Large Format Nature Photography, which is a “how to” guide for color landscape photography. Jack Dykinga’s ARIZONA, released in 2004 from Westcliffe Publishers, is a compilation of his best Arizona images. His book IMAGES: Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon, released by Arizona Highways in 2008, reflects his love for Arizona. Jack’s latest book, Capture the Magic, released in 2013, delves into composition and the creative process. His next book, A Photographer’s Life, was released in the fall of 2016.

John Nuhn

John Nuhn is the former photography editor and later photography director of National Wildlife magazine, the flagship award-winning publication of the National Wildlife Federation. In 2013, after nearly five decades in the publishing industry, including 34 years selecting and managing the photography at National Wildlife, he left the magazine to pursue his own projects while remaining active in the industry. Until its end in 2002, John also served as photo editor of NW’s sister publication, International Wildlife. Early in his professional career, he was associate and then managing editor of a small book publishing company. A self-taught photographer who was also photo editor of his high school and college publications, John is one of NANPA’s founders and a past president of both NANPA and the NANPA Foundation, which he heads as president once more. He also is chair of NANPA’s History Committee and has served on its Communications, Ethics and Membership committees.


NANPA Environmental Impact Award This award honors a photographic project undertaken by an individual or a team that addresses an important and urgent regional or global environmental problem. The project should be concerned with one or more species or ecosystems and illustrate perils facing the species or ecosystems and/or sustainable management solutions to help preserve them. The project will be judged on its success in raising public awareness for the need to protect our natural world and in stimulating further study of the issue(s) addressed. 

 Michael Forsberg for the Platte Basin Timelapse

Born and raised in Nebraska, Michael Forsberg is a conservation photographer, author and speaker focusing on prairie wildlife, grasslands and watersheds in North America’s Great Plains. Mike is a co-founder of the Platte Basin Timelapse Project, and currently serves on faculty at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He is Senior Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and is represented by National Geographic Creative.

Carlton Ward Jr. for the Florida Wildlife Corridor

Carlton Ward Jr is an acclaimed photographer, National Geographic Explorer and the current Rolex Artist-in-Exploration of the Explorers Club. His photographs are widely exhibited and collected and have been published in newspapers and magazines including AudubonSmithsonianNature Conservancy and National Geographic. Carlton began his career working with the Smithsonian Institution in Central Africa, leading to his first book, The Edge of Africa, and a photography exhibit with the United Nations. In 2004, he retrained his focus on his native Florida, motivated by eight generations of family heritage and a drive to bring new attention to the under appreciated wild heart of the state. Carlton published Florida Cowboys in 2009 and founded the Florida Wildlife Corridor project in 2012. With fellow explorers Mallory Dimmitt and Joe Guthrie, he has since trekked more than 2,000 miles through the Corridor to showcase a statewide vision to keep Florida wild. Both expeditions produced award-winning books, PBS films and widespread outreach. Carlton was named Photographer of the Year by Audubon of Florida in 2012 was given the Conservation Leadership Award from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida in 2015. He is currently working on a project with National Geographic to photograph the Florida panther.