Welcome to Nature's Best Photography

Smithsonian Exhibition Design in Progress.

About the Competition:

SIGNED INTO LAW in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Wilderness Act was a triumph for all who enjoy the open landscapes of America and the natural heritage they represent. 

Today, more than 100 million acres are protected by the National Wilderness Preservation System to ensure these areas remain ecologically sound and environmentally pristine and for future generations. 

In 2014, the Wilderness Act will reach its Golden Anniversary. In tribute to this milestone, Wilderness50—a coalition of government agencies, nonprofit groups, foundations, and other supporters—have joined together to celebrate the 50-year mark through numerous educational events, including the "Wilderness Forever" nationwide photography competition and print exhibition at the Smithsonian.

From May to September 2013, the Wilderness50 coalition, distinguished panel of judges (see list below), the Smithsonian Institution, and the team at Nature’s Best Photography invited photographers at all levels of experience to enter the historic "Wilderness Forever" photography competition. This was a call for entries for the best photos and personal experiences within America’s protected wilderness areas (see the official list link at top, right). There were four contest categories: Most Inspirational Moment, People in Wilderness, Scenic Landscape, and Wildlife. The Judging Panel selected an overall Grand Prize, and a Pro, Amateur, and Student winner and honorable mentions in each of the four categories.

About the Exhibition:

OPENING ON SEPTEMBER 3, 2014: The Grand Prize, the nine category winners, and a selection of honorable mention photos will be displayed in a print exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, one of the most widely respected and highly visited museums in the world. The winners will also be published in the 2014 Spring/Summer edition of Nature's Best Photography magazine. In addition, all finalsts' images will be published in a special publication produced to commemorate this golden anniversary event and promoted nationwide through other electronic, print, and event promotions. 

See the category winners on Facebook:

Questions? Send an email to: wilderness@naturesbestphotography.com

Contest Judges and Advisors: 

Charles Chen: Exhibits Specialist,
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Daniel Cole: GIS Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution 

Lisa Eidson Ronald: Wilderness 50 Media / Publicity Chair

Steve Freligh and Charles Veatch: Nature's Best Photography, Judges

Elizabeth Jones: Writer, Office of Exhibits,
National Museum of Natural History

Matthew Kirby: Washington Representative, Sierra Club

Adina LoBiondo: Photo Editor, Sierra magazine, Judge

Brendan McCabe: Photo Editor, Smithsonian magazine, Judge

Jennifer Stephens; Director of Marketing, Wilderness Society

Susan Whitmore: Communications Director, U.S. Public Lands Conservation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Judge

Bob Wick: Photographer, BLM (© photos on this page), Judge


All photos must be on the list of designated U.S. wilderness areas. Get the list here.

Click here to get info on taking award-winning photos. 

Selected winners will be exhibited at one of the worlds most respected museums.



U.S. Bureau of Land Management


Back Country Horsemen of America
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Pew Charitable Trusts 
Nature’s Best Photography 
Sierra Club
Smithsonian Institution
Society for Wilderness Stewardship 

The Wilderness Land Trust
The Wilderness Society