Nature photographers travel the globe to document its beauty and diversity. They witness breathtaking landscapes, fascinating wildlife behavior, and surprising glimpses of Earth’s soaring peaks and mysterious ocean depths. The powerful images and films they bring home awaken our desire to explore, enjoy, and conserve the natural world.
In admiration of these visually-driven storytellers and the important impact they have made since cameras were first invented, the Nature’s Best Photography concept was born in 1995.
Our ambitious goals then, as they remain today, are to recognize, celebrate, and support this ever-growing body of work and the dedicated photographers of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of camera expertise behind it.
From Steve Freligh, NBP Cofounder and President:
"What we have treasured over the years is the immediate and long-lasting affect a single image or film instills in the hearts and minds of children, adults, and families alike, inspiring discussions, imaginative perspectives, and most importantly, a greater understanding and appreciation of nature overall."
Nature's Best Photography discovers, celebrates, and displays the creative and documentary talents of nature photographers and visual storytellers of all ages and backgrounds. All NBP initiatives strive to engage and involve global audiences, enhance artistic expression, promote outdoor education and personal well-being, and inspire greater public participation in the conservation and preservation of the natural world.
Our Nonprofit Status
The Nature’s Best Photography Fund is an official IRS approved 501(c)(3), nonprofit public charity established in McLean, Virginia, USA. The NBP Fund operates through public donations, foundation grants, licensing partnerships, and program sponsorships to deliver publications, photography award competitions, and large-format multimedia exhibitions at museums, galleries, and children's hospitals around the world.
You can make a difference in the lives of many!
Join us on this virtual journey into the wild. Your participation is key to our future success in program development and fulfillment. For tax-deductible contributions, our Federal Tax ID Number is 27-0222344.
NBP has transitioned from early concept goals in 1995, to become one of the most highly respected and visually compelling programs of its kind worldwide. NBP Awards competitions, exhibitions, and events have been hosted at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and other prestigious museums and galleries in Africa, Japan, China, and across North America.
We remain eternally grateful to the legacy of accomplished photographer and conservation advocate, Windland Smith Rice, for her dedication to our mission and the important messaging it has delivered to the public every year. Leaving us far too early in 2005, we still feel her presence and excitement for every new program we launch and every new photographer we welcome to the NBP Awards program.
In support of our personal wellness initiatives, NBP has also installed print exhibitions within corporate, commercial, educational, and children's hospital environments, bringing uplifting and inspiring content to those who may need it most every day.
Nature’s Best Photography Staff and Program Consultants
Stephen B. Freligh, Cofounder and President: Outdoorsman and photographer, Steve Freligh studied zoology in college and worked as a seasonal research biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho. Steve documented wildlife behavior and his photographs and stories were quickly picked up by local periodicals, newspapers, and nonprofit organizations. Soon, he was traveling the globe to discover iconic nature photographs and meet with leading professionals in the field. Returning to his home base in Virginia, Steve deepened his interests in journalism and publishing through a 15-year career in the publishing division at the National Wildlife Federation where he moved quickly from Editorial Assistant to Director of Photography before launching the first issue of Nature's Best Photography in 1995 with his wife and cofounder, Deborah Freligh.
Deborah Orbell Freligh, Cofounder and Art Director: Recognized internationally for her award-winning design, Deborah Freligh has decades of experience in fine art, graphics, exhibition design, and photography. Deborah comes from a family of musicians, artists, and photographers. From her early years painting with her grandmother and working in her grandfather’s home photo studio, she studied art, music, and history at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Deborah worked as an art director and illustrator in retail advertising and later at the National Wildlife Federation where she met Steve. The two joined forces and have worked with a long list of clients, including the Nature Company, Eastman Kodak, National Geographic Society, Discovery Communications, African Wildlife Foundation, National Audubon Society, the Smithsonian Institution and the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum, as well as camera and printing technology leaders such as Epson, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and more.
Amanda Barker Gaquin, Editorial and Operations Manager: Amanda received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Professional Writing from Longwood University in 2010. Passionate about wildlife conservation and photography, Amanda worked as an intern at numerous conservation-focused organizations before joining an environmental law firm. She joined NBP in 2013, where she has broad experience in a variety of roles, including editorial writing, magazine production, email and print marketing, database and contest management, event planning, and is the NBP point person for communications about subscriptions, publications, and contest updates.
Jonathan B. Freligh, Photo and Editorial Assistant: Starting out as a nature lover and photographer with a keen eye for design, Jonathan has grown his position as an NBP intern, to an assistant in all phases of contest, magazine, and video management. Besides contributing to caption research and systems development, during Covid he stepped in to assist with exhibition installations at hospitals and clinics when contractors had limited access.
Dr. Charles B. Freligh, NBP Wellness Advisor: Charles Freligh began a personal mindfulness practice in 2010 while earning his Master’s from New York University and went on to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology. He has since cultivated a career focus dedicated to articulating the practice and benefits of mindfulness and meditation from a secular perspective through his years of experience working therapeutically with individuals and groups. Dr. Freligh produced a series of stories for NBP called "A Mindful Lens," which combines interactions with nature and engaging with photography as an effective strategy for improving one’s life by simply stepping outside with your camera. This column is illustrated with award-winning images from Nature's Best Photography photo contests with text and videos on the practice of mindfulness. He is a teacher on Insight Timer with many guided meditations, courses, and workshops. Visit his website to learn more: charlesfreligh.com
Sarah Taylor, NBP Design Consultant: Sarah Taylor founded Spicy Broccoli Media in Sydney, Australia in 2009. She and her husband, Mike Taylor, have grown the business from a solo operation to a team of 12, specializing in branding, web design, digital marketing, for small to medium sized businesses. Sarah is known to work hard, play hard, and surf often. As SBM Creative Director, she has consistently won awards such as Outstanding Business Person of the Year, Australian Small Business Champion, and has served as President of her chapter of Business Networking International (BNI). Sarah has become a key advisor for NBP development and graphic support.
Mark McCall, Pre-press and Print Consultant: Mark McCall has been mastering color management and fine art printing for more than 20 years. Through professional printing and framing solutions, he has helped museums, organizations, designers, world-renowned photographers, as well as amateur photographers tell their stories. His expertise comes from an unquenchable thirst to explore and integrate visual solutions through new and traditional technology to help people achieve their vision. As a prepress and print specialist, Mark and his team at McCall Photographics have helped manufacture almost every NBP large-format print exhibition since 2000. mccallphotographics.com