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Meet the Judges, Part I

By August 18, 2022No Comments

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Marketing, Communications, and Blog Coordinator

NANPA is fortunate to have an amazing group of passionate, accomplished, versatile, and generous professional photographers who volunteered to be Showcase photo competition judges this year. They’ll be the ones sifting through all the photos entered in the five main categories: ‘scapes, macro/micro/all other, mammals, birds and altered reality. The conservation category is reviewed by a different set of judges, who will be profiled in a coming article.

Chris Linder is the 2023 recipient of NANPA’s 2023 Trailblazer Award. Linder specializes in photographing scientific fieldwork, wildlife, and landscapes in extreme environments. A former naval officer and oceanographic researcher, Linder has photographed more than 50 scientific expeditions and has spent over two years exploring the polar regions. His goals are to use photography to educate the public about environmental science and communicate the urgent need to protect our planet’s wild places and species.

Linder’s images have appeared in museums, books, calendars, and international magazines. He has published three books, including The Big Thaw: Ancient Carbon, Modern Science, and a Race to Save the World (Mountaineers/ Braided River 2019) and Science on Ice: Four Polar Expeditions (University of Chicago Press, 2011). He was the lead cinematographer and co-producer of the 2015 feature-length documentary film Antarctic Edge: 70 Degrees South. In addition to his assignment work, Linder also teaches photography workshops and presents lectures to audiences of all ages. He is a Senior Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers and a Fellow in the Explorers Club.

He’s optimistic about the future. “I’m looking forward to more years of doing what I’ve been doing—telling stories.  Whether it’s working with a science team or documenting a natural history story in my own backyard, the common element that keeps me going is the challenge of weaving together a series of photographs to reveal the bigger picture.”

Photo of Chris Linder by Mike Carlowicz

George Lepp is no stranger to NANPA members and has previously served as a Showcase judge. A nature photographer, teacher, author, and inventor he became one of Canon’s first Explorers of Light in 1995 and is now a member of the Canon Legends program. His passions for beauty, precision, cutting-edge technology, and environmental responsibility are revealed in his compelling images, which are widely published and exhibited. Lepp’s university studies in wildlife and wildlands management were interrupted in the 1960s by service in the U.S. Marine Corps. He then earned a BA and honorary MSc from Brooks Institute of Photography and began his career working with scientists at UC Davis and for Car & Driver. Lepp is Field Editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine and has shared his knowledge of all aspects of photography through hundreds of publications and lectures.

A founder of the North American Nature Photography Association, he has been honored by many awards, including Photo Media Photography Person of the Year, the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Award, and NANPA’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Back then he said “The thing that excites me most is the way we are making more people closely observe the natural world around them. After a workshop, people look at an area in a whole new way. The more nature photographers we have, the more they’ll want to protect those areas. As we see the hordes of people going to familiar places, we’ll look for new stuff, the plants, the smaller mammals, new locations … It’s important to get more and more people involved in documenting their surroundings. As the equipment keeps getting better and more sophisticated, it opens up more areas and ways to photograph. You see that in the quality of Showcase images: they get better and better every year.”

Kathy Adams Clark has been a professional nature photographer since 1995. Her photos have been published in hundreds of places including Family Fun, Nature’s Best, New York Times, Birder’s World, and Ranger Rick. AAA Journey, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Highways magazines have used Kathy’s photos on their cover. Her photos have also appeared in a numerous books and calendars including the Barnes & Noble Ireland Countryside Calendar, the cover of the Arbor Foundation Rainforest Calendar, and the Sierra Engagement Calendar.  Kathy’s photos of Houston were compiled into a calendar offered in Costco in 2016.

Her photos appear every week in the “Nature” column in the Houston Chronicle written by her husband, Gary Clark. Kathy and Gary have worked with national publishing houses to produce ten books that combine their photography and writing skills. Their latest books are Book of Texas Birds published by Texas A&M University Press and Backroads of Texas published by Voyageur Press.

Kathy’s photography is featured in Portrait of Houston published in 2012 by Farcountry Press. Photographing Big Bend National Park, published in 2013 by Texas A&M Press, is written by Kathy and uses her photography throughout.

Kathy is past-president of NANPA, received NANPA’s 2019 Mission Award and chairs the committee planning NANPA’s 2023 Nature Photography Summit. She teaches photography and is a popular speaker at local and national events. She leads photo tours through Strabo Tours to countries including Costa Rica, Brazil, Spain, Africa, Italy, Peru, Morocco, and Norway.

As you prepare your photos to enter the 2023 Showcase photo competition, be assured they’ll be evaluated by a top-notch group of judges. And, if you happen to see one of the at the Tucson Summit next May, at a NANPA Regional Event, or out photographing nature, take a moment to thank them for their volunteer service.

Frank Gallagher is a landscape and nature photographer based in the Washington, DC, area who specializes in providing a wide range of photograph services to nonprofit organizations. He serves as NANPA’s Interim Marketing and Communications Coordinator and manages NANPA’s blog. He can be found online at or on Instagram @frankgallagherfoto.