2022 Top 24 Showcase winner
2022 Top 24 Showcase competition winners
The Top 24 is comprised of a Best in Show winner for each of the six categories, a First Runner-Up for each category, and two Judges’ Choice winners in each category. Click each winning image or portfolios to view as a larger size.
Best in category
Jeremy Burnham’s passion for wildlife photography stems from his appreciation for nature and his love of the outdoors. As a child, his grandfathers taught him about the plants and animals they encountered. His father hiked the Rocky and Smoky Mountains with him and educated him about the impact of outdoor activities on mental and physical health. These formative experiences molded his belief in the harmonious and synergistic relationship between humans and nature. It is this emotional connection between people and the natural world, Jeremy aims to recreate with photographs.
As a sports medicine surgeon, he finds the attention to detail and respect for nature fundamental to surgical care also transfer readily to wildlife photography. Jeremy hopes his photography can provide even a small glimpse into the beauty and wonders of the great outdoors which Muir eloquently referred to as “varied expressions of God’s love” and “a window opening into heaven.”
I’m a career Financial Advisor for a large Swiss bank and a hobbyist nature photographer. I do most types of nature photography, including storms, weather, infrared, birds, landscape, and wildlife, but my first love is underwater. I think underwater nature photography is the most challenging, due to the difficulty in capturing light through the filter of water.
Photographer, musician, emcee, tour guide, engineer, conservationist, surfer, windsurfer, mountain biker. Take your pick. Having grown up in Glasgow, Scotland, Brian now lives on Lake Hodges in Southern California where he has been for the last 30 years. An avid outdoorsman and nature enthusiast—and having run the Lake Hodges Aquatic Center and Concession for 12 years—Brian is the ultimate Lake Hodges local. He’s comfortable on both sides of the camera, whether playing music live to eight million people worldwide from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas or 1-on-1 in his boat with clients at the Lake. Coupled with his understanding of photography, light, and grebe behavior, Briant is THE guide when in pursuit of the shot at Lake Hodges. You can usually find Brian walking the shores of Lake Hodges with his two best friends: his wife Kim and his dog Angus.
Best in category
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have always had a special connection with nature and conservation. While in college, I spent a summer as a Hot Shot firefighter and fell in love with photography while carrying a Pentax K1000 in my backpack photographing the wildfires. As life would have it, I ended up graduating in accounting and spent 20 years in corporate finance and business, and only recently have been able to dedicate myself to photography. My initial passion began with a quest to photograph all North American breeding birds but has since expanded to photograph mammals and landscapes. As a conservationist at heart, I hope my photography can inspire others to preserve our natural habitat for all the living creatures that depend on our stewardship.
Celia Kujala is an international award-winning wildlife and underwater photographer. From the moment she saw California sea lions for the first time at the Prospect Park Zoo when she was fourteen months old, she felt a special bond with them. However, it wasn’t until she got scuba certified and started underwater photography in 2017 that she found her true calling. She is currently working on a project called Seal Peace about all the species of pinnipeds in the world. Through her photography she hopes to engender an appreciation for each individual species as well as their diverse environments and the challenges those environments are facing. A researcher by trade, she strives to learn everything she can about her subjects in order to most accurately and intimately tell their stories.
In 2019 we spent a lot of time with the Topi pride in the Mara. On a rainy day we knew exactly where to find a lion called Doa that spent most of his time with this pride. Our guide told us as soon as he licks his paw, he will shake his head so be ready. Sure enough to my surprise that is exactly what happened.
I was born and raised in Southern California. I took up photography upon retiring in 2012. I tried different types of photography, but I quickly fell in love with wildlife. It’s been such a wonderful journey discovering all the different creatures in our world and how amazing and different they all are.
The bears “dancing” in the forest was taken as I was leaving the area. It was getting quite dark and the last rays of sun were casting their light to the end of this “tunnel” area that is heavily forested and quite dark. I was photographing another pair of bears that were close to me but kept looking back at the beautiful light being cast behind me. Suddenly something caught my eye and I spun around to see two young bears run out onto the path far into the tunnel. I only had a split second to catch the moment and the bears were quite far. At first I was really disappointed that the distance and darkness would make for a useless photo but once I got home and started looking at it, the scene and story it told became magical. Two young bears “dancing” in the forest at dusk when they thought no one was around.
Best in category
Greg Vaughn is a professional photographer specializing in recreational travel and the natural world. Greg is the author of the award-winning guidebooks Photographing Oregon and Photographing Washington, and he leads photography workshops as a member of the Muench Workshops pro team.
Biologist by training, naturalist by heart and photographer by passion, Robb Hirsch has an intimate relationship with the natural world. This connection was established early during childhood visits to Yosemite, forging a bond with this magical place. Following an undergraduate degree from UC Irvine, he began a career as a field biologist, working on projects for California State Parks, USGS, and several private firms. His love for traveling and exploration led him through Africa, Central America, and the Western United States.
Photography was originally a means to document his work and travels but became the focus. His photography has been featured in international competitions, calendars, magazines, and gallery showings. He leads customized, small group photography workshops in Yosemite and surrounding Sierra Nevada. Robb’s book, The Nature of Yosemite: A Visual Journey, published in 2019 by the Yosemite Conservancy combines imagery of the park with text teaching about the natural history.
Hector D. Astorga
Hector D. Astorga is a full-time wildlife photographer based in South Texas. His love of nature and the outdoors began as a child in his native country, Honduras. He is the ranch manager at the Santa Clara Ranch, a photography ranch that hosts wildlife photographers from all over the globe. He leads and conducts photography tours and workshops at multiple locations in North, Central, and South America, Scandinavia, and Africa.
I am a photographic artist based on the Central Coast of California in Morro Bay. I am inspired by all the wildness, colors, designs and moods of the natural world. I believe that nature is a healing force and a refuge from the chaos of daily life, and I strive to share that feeling in my photographs. Most recently, I have taken to exploring the wonders of the night sky.
Since I first became interested in photography in 1993, I have been honored to receive a number of awards for my photography including wins in Nature’s Best International Photography contest, Audubon, and multiple NANPA Showcase contests.
Best in category
I currently live in Buckeye, AZ and have been a member of NANPA since 2004. My images are represented in the Jaynes Gallery at The Danita Delimont Stock Photography Agency and have been published nationally and internationally. I also co-lead photography tours to Namibia, allowing me share my passion for photography with others.
Santa Barbara artist and nature photographer Cheryl Medow creates images that entice the viewer to enter the natural world and envision her wild birds, in imaginary and real environments. Using classical and contemporary tools, Medow layers her photographs to create visual narratives.
Medow studied ceramics at the Chouinard Institute and received a BA in Art from UCLA, concentrating on life drawing. She studied printmaking at Hand Graphics in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and digital printmaking with Mac Holbert and John Paul Caponigro in Santa Barbara.
Since first exhibiting her work in 2006, Medow has received many accolades and her work is held in numerous private collections. In 2018 her work was featured in NANPA Expressions journal for Best in Category and Judges’ Choice Awards. In 2019, ZOOM magazine #256 published her work in English and Italian. Her prints are sold through PDNB Gallery, Photographs Do Not Bend, in Dallas, Texas.
I am an avid nature photographer based in Apex, North Carolina, who loves to spend time outdoors exploring new places and observing wildlife. After a professional corporate career, I am now focusing on more creative endeavors, dedicating a good deal of my time to photography and photo art. The photo art that I create, based on images that I have captured with my camera, allow me to use my imagination and creativity to express the beauty, mystery, and humor I find in my subjects. I enjoy learning new techniques, improving my craft, and exploring more of our amazing natural world as I continue my photography journey.
Best in category
I am a photographer living out of Oakley, California, with my wife and three fur babies (Biscuit, Bruce, and Marshmellow). I purchased my first camera in 2017, a Fuji X-T2, as an attempt to identify a creative outlet and photograph family functions. I quickly realized that I was a terrible people photographer but thankfully found refuge in photographing nature-related subjects.
Photographing landscapes and cityscapes taught me the basics, such as camera settings, composition, and light. But, I didn’t identify my passion and love for photography until I started photographing wildlife subjects in my local area. Most of my workdays days are spent staring at a computer screen, so getting out in nature and observing all of its critters has been an absolute joy.
Corey Raffel is an amateur wildlife photographer who entered the hobby in 2016. His favorite subject for photos is parrots in the wild. One of the great things about photographing parrots is that as one wanders around looking for them, one encounters lots of other wildlife! Parrots have more endangered species than any other large family of birds. Corey supports parrot conservation organizations and serves on the Board of Directors of the Macaw Recovery Network. Despite his interest in parrots, Corey is actually very happy to photograph any wildlife that he encounters, and he spends plenty of time looking for subjects close to home. Prior to retirement, Corey was a neurosurgeon, so he has a built-in desire for perfection. Thus, he strives for really scalpel-sharp (not tack-sharp) images. He is greatly looking forward to spending more time capturing images during retirement.
Celia Kujala is an international award-winning wildlife and underwater photographer. From the moment she saw California sea lions for the first time at the Prospect Park Zoo when she was fourteen months old, she felt a special bond with them. However, it wasn’t until she got scuba certified and started underwater photography in 2017 that she found her true calling. She is currently working on a project called Seal Peace about all the species of pinnipeds in the world.
Through her photography she hopes to engender an appreciation for each individual species as well as their diverse environments and the challenges those environments are facing. A researcher by trade, she strives to learn everything she can about her subjects in order to most accurately and intimately tell their stories.
Christina Selby is a conservation photographer, writer, and nature guide who uses visual and narrative storytelling to enchant people’s hearts and inspire action for wild places and wild things. Christina is the author of the award-winning Best Wildflower Hikes of New Mexico (a Falcon Guide) and New Mexico Family Outdoor Adventures (UNM Press) as well as producer of the documentary film Saving Beauty.
Her work has appeared in publications such as: bioGraphic, Scientific American, National Geographic online, New Mexico Magazine, and Mongabay, among others. When she’s not searching for monkeys in the Amazon, tracking Mexican wolves in the Southwest, or wildflowering in alpine meadows, you can find her at home in Santa Fe or camping with her two boys, husband, and Great Pyrenees “Glacier” in the stunning landscapes of the Southern Rockies.
Best in category
Barry B. Brown
Barry B. Brown is an Ikelite Ambassador and Smithsonian Institution deep-sea photographer who has spent 15 years and 6,000 plus dives recording Caribbean life underwater. Now living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he travels back and forth to Curacao and Bonaire on a yearly basis hoping to find a new fish or creature each time.
Arriving just before sunrise, I headed down one of my favorite trails in the pine rocklands of Everglades National Park looking for something interesting to shoot. After walking a short distance, I came upon a group of Thorn Bugs on a branch of a small Wild Tamarind tree.
I am a south Florida native who travels to numerous locations in search of great shots and adventure. I have been a nature photographer for many years and love to photograph everything in the natural world, from the smallest of insects to the grandest landscape. My work has been widely published, and magazine credits include Blue Ridge Country, Defenders, Florida Wildlife, LIFE, Natural History, Nature Conservancy, Popular Photography, and Texas Highways.
Ultimately, I hope my photos inspire others to develop a greater appreciation of nature, and to care enough to want to save what remains of the real world.
Alex Rose is the Science Editor for Ocean Geographic magazine, and the Managing Editor for Ocean Geographic Explorers. Alex is also a professional photographer, violinist, Explorers Club Fellow, PADI Divemaster, and lover of all things aquatic. She founded ocean conservation company, Blue Ring, at the beginning of 2017 in an effort to create a new method of ocean conservation accessible to and inclusive of everyone. Rose is also a co-founder of Wave Film Fest, a Chicago-based video celebration of our world’s waters that saw its inaugural event in 2020, and is the Secretary of Deep Hope, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Sylvia Earle to build citizen submarines. Her driving goal is to find ways to protect our world’s precious marine habitats through diving, writing, photography, education, and research.
James Zablotny is an entomologist and part-time professional nature photographer living in Fenton, Michigan. Jim earned an MSc in zoology and doctorate in entomology from Michigan State University. While pursuing his college degrees, he also produced scientific and anatomical illustrations for several Zoology Department faculty members at MSU. He specializes in macro or close-up photography but also incorporates the photography of birds, botanical subjects, and occasional wildlife images in his portfolio.