A beautiful panoramic landscape by the Salt River.
Salt River A beautiful panoramic landscape by the Salt River. © Kaden VanDuyne

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Students Capture Arizona at its Best in Nature Photo Contest

Students from across Arizona impressed professional photographers in the 9th “Adventures in Nature” Photo Contest. This year, around 900 photos were entered by Arizonans—ages 13-18—engaged in the creative contest.

The esteemed panel of judges included photography editor at Arizona Highways magazine, Jeff Kida, professional photographer and photography instructor Suzanne Mathia, director of photography at Tucson Daily Star, Rick Wiley, and corporate and architectural photographer Mark Skalny.

Kaden VanDuyne of Gilbert took first place for "Superstition Mountains at Sunset." During the awards ceremony, Kaden shared that he does photography with his dad and that his family has a "hurry up and wait mentality," traveling across the state to Arizona's most iconic landscapes and patiently waiting for the right moment to capture the best photos.

Adrian Hanna of Scottsdale received honorable mention for "A Snowy Afternoon in Boynton Canyon." “We went out on a very cold day and I remember my hands were very cold but there were so many amazing things to take pictures of so I just kept taking pictures,” said Hanna.

While backpacking in Sycamore Canyon, Corbin Rouette of Prescott was keeping his eye out for wildlife on the trail. A butterfly was perched on some gnarly bark, enabling him to seize a beautiful moment. Rouette received honorable mention for "Green Comma Butterfly." Corbin said he learned how to take photos using film, which required him to be patient and disciplined.

"Young people are the future of conservation and their future depends on their understanding and ability to advocate on behalf of nature and our environment," said Dan Stellar, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona.

Winners will receive up to $10,000 in prize money plus photo books and other gifts. They are:  

Adrian Hanna​, Scottsdale

Carrick Webb, Phoenix

Corbin Rouette, ​Prescott​

Kaden VanDuyne, Gilbert

Katie Piscopo​, Gilbert​

Zada Prince, Tucson

Winning photos will be published by the sponsors: The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, Arizona Highways magazine and Cox Communications. The winners are also eligible for a photography workshop from Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Stay tuned for information coming soon about photography workshops held in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Highways and Cox Communications to encourage student nature photography throughout the year. 

Arizona Highways

Since 1925, Arizona Highways magazine has brought the beauty of Arizona to visitors and natives alike through its award-winning photography, travel journalism and steadfast commitment to discovering the state’s treasures. Helping to drive tourism to and through the state, Arizona Highways has subscribers in all 50 states and more than 120 countries.

Cox Communications

Cox Communications is the third largest cable provider and a multi-service broadband communications company in the country, serving nearly 3 million residential and business product subscribers in Arizona (a product subscriber represents an individual service purchased by a customer).

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.