Welcome to Nature's Best Photography
Nature's Best Photography
Windland Smith Rice International
Awards Judges Panel:

Stephen Freligh

Co-founder and Publisher of Nature’s Best Photography magazine, Stephen B. Freligh has spent the last 30 years connecting people with nature through visually directed and conservation motivated multimedia programs. His interest in photography has taken him all over the globe including Africa, Arctic, Asia, Australia, Europe, Japan, Middle East, New Zealand, South America, and more. Beyond assisting in the selection of images that are used for Nature’s Best Photography, Freligh's past work includes 15 years of photo editing with the National Wildlife Federation and photo research and editing projects with the African Wildlife Foundation, Audubon magazine’s Photography Awards, Discovery Communications, Eastman Kodak Company, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Zoo, America Online, MSNBC, Canon USA, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Nikon, Sony, SIGMA, and more.
   The centerpiece of Freligh’s work is the long-term alliance with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the development of the Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards program, where competition winners are displayed annually in print exhibitions.

Charles A. Veatch Beyond his love for nature photography and his participation and presentations at the North American Nature Photography Association, Charles Veatch has been a respected judge for numerous photo competitions throughout Virginia and Maryland. In addition to his positions as Chairman of the Board and contributing Editor at NBP, Veatch is a member of several non-profit boards including the Reston Historic Trust, the Greater Reston Arts Center, Nature’s Best Photography Fund, and the Potomac Conservancy. He was also a founding board member of the Fairfax County Parks Foundation.
    Veatch was appointed Shenandoah University’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees in October of 2008. With a penchant for community service and higher education, Veatch is passionate about the stewardship of the environment. He serves on the endowment board of the National Wildlife Federation and is a real estate fellow at the McIntyre School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

Craig R. Sholley Vice President for Philanthropy and Marketing of the African Wildlife Foundation, Craig Sholley's experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, Africa. He has worked, traveled, and photographed extensively since that time providing conservation expertise in a variety of world arenas. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970's, Sholley studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey. Returning to the US, he redirected his interests developing natural history programming for the Baltimore Zoological Society. Concurrently, he pursued his travel interests leading tours and photographing throughout Africa, South America, and Asia. Throughout much of the ‘90’s, Sholley was Director of Conservation and Education for International Expeditions, an organization widely recognized for its ecotourism initiatives.
    Sholley has served as a Senior Associate of the African Wildlife Foundation and on AWF’s Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Board of the Ecotourism Society. Blending field experience with his passion for photography, Sholley will focus his attention on our new African Wildlife category.

Brendan McCabe 
is the Photography Editor at Smithsonian Magazine, where he has worked for the last nine years. At Smithsonian he assigns and edits a wide range of photography from natural history and science to portraiture and fine art work. McCabe earned a Master’s degree in Fine Art Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has also worked at the Associated Press as a photography editor and at National Geographic Magazine. Recently, MCabe accepted a commission in the U.S. Navy Reserve as a Public Affairs Officer.

Deborah Freligh

Recognized for her award-winning design, Art Director 
and Co-publisher Deborah Orbell Freligh has a background in Visual Communications and more than 40 years experience 
in art direction, design, graphics, illustration, photography, and advertising. Educated at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, she has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, and photography Art Director. The short list of her most recent clients includes the National Wildlife Federation, the African Wildlife Foundation, the Audubon Photography Awards, Discovery Communications, Eastman Kodak Company, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, America Online, MSNBC, Canon USA, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Nikon, Sony, SIGMA, and more. 



Each photograph selected for display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is carefully chosen by the judges for excellence in composition, use of light, ability to capture an animal behavior, and overall image appeal. Each image exhibited is approved by Museum scientists who review the species identification and caption accuracy. In addition, each selected photo is screened by imaging specialists for technical reproduction quality.