Nature Photography Day Photo Contest Winners

On June 15, the world celebrated Nature Photography Day numerous ways. NANPA encouraged people everywhere to enjoy the day by using a camera to explore the natural world. Thousands of people tagged their nature images #naturephotoday or #naturephotographyday or #naturephotocontest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Almost 2,000 images were submitted for the Nature Photography Day Photo Contest. We are proud to announce the winners along with a special thanks to the prize donors: Olympus, Cognisys, McKenna, Mindshift Gear, Tamron, Wimberley & Samy’s Camera.

1st Place- Douglas Croft

© Douglas Croft – The last of a coalition of four cheetahs crossing the plain in Kruger National Park with Wild4 Photo Safaris. He fell behind and was racing to catch up.

Judge’s comments-

Obtaining panning photos is never an easy task. This photographer has done a beautiful job of getting a sharp eye and much of the face as this fast animal moves through the tall grasses. The photo really communicates just how well this African predator can blend into its environment– Dawn Wilson, Dawn Wilson Photography

The technique of this photo takes a lot of work. The image moves the eye, as the Cheetah moves to the grass. – Krisztina Scheeff, KS Nature Photography

2nd Place- Judy Rogero

© Judy Rogero – “I sense an Owl Under a veil of moss” in Clearwater, Florida. This shot was taken from a distant hill after waiting for over an hour with a Canon 1dx with 2.0 extender on and a 500mm camera.

Judge’s comments:

This photo captured my eye the moment I saw it. The detail in the moss and owl are great, and I love the different setting of the owl in the moss-covered tree. – Dawn Wilson, Dawn Wilson Photography

I have seen many owl photos, but the way this blends with it’s environment is magical. The moss creates an overall feel for the photo that is mystical and the Owl fits in it just perfect. – Krisztina Scheeff, KS Nature Photography

3rd Place- Tom Croce

© Tom Croce – Image taken on a foggy September morning in the Cataloochee Valley, NC.

Judge’s comments:

A photographer I greatly admire always says, “photography is all about the light,” and this photo truly is all about the light, very dramatic light. Although the light is intense and colorful, without the elk, there isn’t much of a story. With the elk walking through the scene, there is now a sense of place, a photo about an animal in its environment and a wonderful composition. – Dawn Wilson, Dawn Wilson Photography

A photo that brings both landscape, light and wildlife together perfectly, creating a perfect story. The light is magical. – Krisztina Scheeff, KS Nature Photography

Honorable Mention- Cathy Thiem

© Catherine Thiem – “Little Love Bug”, Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Image taken while laying on my stomach in the sand using a ground pod for stabilization, burst mode, f8, 1/2500 of a sec, much patience, waited on chick to come into frame. Canon 7d Mark II, Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Judge’s comments: This one made me smile as soon as I saw it. The photographer took the photo at eye level with the chick, giving the viewer a direct connection with the baby. The exposure on the sand, which can be a difficult subject to expose properly in sunlight, is spot on and the lift of the chick’s leg, showing that the chick is moving, gives a dynamic feel to the photo. – Dawn Wilson, Dawn Wilson Photography

Honorable Mention- Greg Vaughn

© Greg Vaughn – Lupine at Dolason Prairie, Redwoods State and National Parks, California.

Judge’s comment: I love the harmonious colors of purple and orange in this scene produced by the warm tones of the sunrise/sunset sky and cool tones in the field of purple lupines. The sunburst adds an eye-catching element that draws your eye into the photo but then the field of lupines draws your eye back and forth through the field as if you were there in the flowers. – Dawn Wilson, Dawn Wilson Photography

Judge’s Choice- Tony Madden

© Tony Madden

Judge’s comment: This is a beautiful photo of the urban coyote. Urban coyotes are present in almost every city across the United States and their arrival into the urban scene has undoubtedly changed the way we look at them. Much needs to be done to understand them in their new environment, because they are here to stay. By crossing the natural barriers of habitat, we have paved the way for coyotes to explore new territories, including parks with the view of the skyscrapers. – Krisztina Scheeff, KS Nature Photography

Judge’s Choice- Danny Young

© Danny Young – “Seed Seeker” Lake Junaluska, NC. I sat in my car, used it for a blind and adjusted my window to steady my Canon 7d Mark 2, with the new 100-400 lens.

Judge’s comment: This photo has a lot going for it. From a technical standpoint, it is tack sharp and properly exposed. From a story-telling standpoint, the thistle seed in the goldfinch’s mouth explains what the bird is doing. The background has great bokeh with no distracting objects, and the yellow of the bird stands out nicely with the cooler tones of the purple thistle and green background. Very nice job with a common subject. – Dawn Wilson, Dawn Wilson Photography

A special thank you to everyone that celebrated Nature Photography Day on June 15 and all who entered the photo contest. Make plans now to enter one of the most prestigious photo contest in the nature photography community- 2018 NANPA Showcase Competition. Contest opens August 1. Learn more now.