Two Florida Photographers Honored in 2023 Audubon Photography Awards

Congratulations to Vicki Santello and Nathan Arnold.

Today the National Audubon Society announced the winners and honorable mentions of the 2023 Audubon Photography Awards – including two photographers from Florida. Now in its fourteenth year, the contest features stunning work from professionals, amateurs, and young people that highlights the beauty of birds and the joy of capturing them through photographs and videos. Judges awarded eight prizes across five divisions, with winning entries and honorable mentions chosen from 2,200 entrants from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and eight Canadian provinces and territories.

Vicki Santello of Gainesville, Florida, received the Plants for Birds Honorable Mention. For her winning image, Santello photographed thousands of Tree Swallows on two bald cypress snags in Atchafalaya Swamp, Louisiana. The Plants for Birds category highlights the important connections between birds and the plants that are native to their habitats.

Nathan Arnold of Fort Myers, Florida, received the Amateur Honorable Mention for his image of a Reddish Egret at San Carlos Bay in Bunche Beach Preserve, Fort Myers. The Reddish Egret is an iconic Florida shorebird, and it depends on ongoing conservation and restoration efforts to protect its breeding and foraging habitat now and into the future. Arnold is known in the area not only for his photography, but for contributing to the science of avian conservation by reporting banded birds.

Audubon Florida works to protect Reddish Egrets like the one in the winning photo through policy efforts to promote land acquisition for conservation, restoration efforts like the living shoreline in Hillsborough Bay, and monitoring efforts up and down the Florida coastline.

Award winners and honorable mentions will be featured in the Summer 2023 issue of Audubon magazine.

Thousands of Tree Swallows sit on two cypress snags in a swamp, looking like leaves. One tree is larger in the foreground and the other is smaller in the background. More birds fly around the trees, their dark forms in contrast to the purple and blue sky.
Tree Swallows in Atchafalaya Swamp, Louisiana. Photo: Vicki Santello/Audubon Photography Awards/2023 Plants For Birds Honorable Mention.

2023 Contest Prizes:

Grand Prize: $5,000 USD

Professional Prize: $2,500 USD

Amateur Prize: $2,500 USD

Plants for Birds Prize: $2,500 USD

Video Prize: $2,500 USD

Female Bird Prize: $1,000 USD

Fisher Prize: $1,000 USD Youth Prize: Six days at Audubon's Hog Island Audubon Camp for teens during the 2024 season

The 2023 Panel of Judges:

· Sabine Meyer, photography director, National Audubon Society

· Preeti Desai, senior director of social media & storytelling, National Audubon Society

· Melissa Hafting, conservation photographer and youth nature educator

· Morgan Heim, conservation photographer, filmmaker and adventurer

· Noppadol Paothong, nature/conservation photographer

· Marlene Pantin, partnerships manager, Plants for Birds, National Audubon Society

· Mike Fernandez, video producer, National Audubon Society

· Rina Miele, wildlife photographer and videographer

· Mick Thompson, wildlife photographer and videographer

· Karine Aigner, conservation photographer

· Founders of the Galbatross Project:

o Brooke Bateman, director of climate science, National Audubon Society

o Stephanie Beilke, conservation manager, conservation science, National Audubon Society

o Martha Harbison, senior network content editor, National Audubon Society

o Purbita Saha, member, Bergen County Audubon Society, and former Audubon magazine editor

o Joanna Wu, PhD student at the University of California, Los Angeles

All photos and videos are judged based on technical quality, originality, and artistic merit and must adhere to Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography and Videography. For more information, please visit the official contest rules.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1900, Audubon Florida believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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