Five Reasons to Study Contest-Winning Photos

Winning photos in the Audubon Awards were recently announced.
Winning photos in the Audubon Awards were recently announced.

The winning entries for the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards and National Geographic Travel Photo Contest were recently posted.  Like many contests (including NANPA’s soon-to-open Showcase), these competitions attract passionate photographers of all levels.  But, beyond a quick look at the prize-winning pretty pictures, can you learn anything from them?

Yes!  And here are five good reasons to spend some time studying and appreciating contest-winning photos.

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From the President: Tom Haxby

Tom Haxby at Olson Falls near Munising, MI.

Tom Haxby at Olson Falls near Munising, MI.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tom Haxby, and for the next year I will be the President of the Board of Directors of NANPA. I’ve been a member of NANPA for over 10 years and have been on the Board of Directors for the last two. I have always enjoyed photography, but several years ago, after a career of almost 30 years as a natural resource manager, it was time to leave behind the 10 x 10 cubicle, endless meetings, toxic office politics and administrative tedium. So, I dove into nature photography full time and have not regretted for one minute the photographic adventures and time spent behind my camera.  Along the way, there have been a few photos that have made the Showcase top 250 and a few other award winners as well as six weeks as an Artist-in-Residence in 2016 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There have been so many trips to the Smokies, that some thought that I am local to there. Not yet! I currently reside in the Traverse City area of Northern Michigan.

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Why Do Photographers Enter NANPA’s Showcase Competition?

Showcase 2017 Judge’s Choice, Mammals. Male Lion Attack on Giraffe. © Michael Cohen

There are as many reasons to enter Showcase 2019 as there are photographers.  For some, winning Best in Show or Judge’s Choice serves as an endorsement of their skill, and can be added to their bio and marketing materials.  To others, recognition by the judges is a validation of their devotion to nature photography, a payoff for the years of effort they put into improving their skills.  And, for still others, selection of their photo is both a personal triumph as well as a challenge; applause for how far they’ve come and a challenge to continue getting better.

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