More Nature Images to the Rescue: 2021 Showcase Top 100

In November we revealed a subset of the Top 250 images from our annual photo competition, reminding the world that being in nature—and even simply looking at images of nature—reduces anxiety and stress. This month we’re unveiling more wow-worthy images by some of North America’s most accomplished nature photographers.

The images featured below are winners in the Top 100 of the 2021 NANPA Showcase. The Top 24, including Best in Show awards, will be published in mid-December.

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Nature Images to the Rescue: 2021 Showcase Top 250

It’s not hard to find a stressor these days—a global pandemic, new work conditions, virtual school, socialization restrictions, economic uncertainty, raging wildfires, and election drama, just to name a few. Fortunately—and no surprise to nature photographers—research suggests that being in nature dramatically reduces feelings of anger, fear, and stress.

But nature photographers may have another edge in these complex times. Scientists also say that you don’t have to be in nature to reap its benefits. Simply looking at images of open spaces with natural elements such as vegetation can not only relieve anxiety, improve mood, and boost feelings of happiness but also reduce our physical response to stress—lower heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and sweat production, for example.

So perhaps now more than ever, the world needs nature photos. We can help.

The NANPA Showcase is an annual photo competition that recognizes the best nature images produced by NANPA members, including both hobbyists and professional photographers, in six distinct categories. More than 3,750 images were submitted to the 2021 competition earlier this fall. Winners placing in the Top 250 are presented below by category.

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