Aerial image of a shoreline. Blue water, green grass and white shore. An eagle soars across the scene.
Water Winner A Winter’s Hunt on a Frozen Shore // Using a drone at 300ft looking straight down, in the first week of January 2023, an eagle on the hunt for lunch was seen. © Brooks Angell/TNC Photo Contest 2023


The Nature Conservancy Announces 2023 Michigan Photo Contest Winners

Chong Q Wu’s photo of a fog blanketed Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains is the Grand Prize winner

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The Nature Conservancy in Michigan (TNC) today announced the winners of its 2023 local Photo Contest. This year, Michigan was just one of three states to offer a statewide photo contest alongside TNC’s global Photo Contest. The winners of the global Photo Contest will be announced Wednesday, November 1, 2023.

“We received hundreds of images taken all across our great state, from closeups of wildlife and birds to idyllic images of our natural world and stunning photos of people and nature, and they all remind us just how beautiful and special our state truly is,” said Helen Taylor, state director of TNC in Michigan. “I want to thank everyone who submitted photos to our 2023 contest and showing us the wonders of the Great Lakes State through your lens.”

This year’s local winners are:

  • Grand Prize Winner: Chong Q Wu, Illinois, “A Foggy Cloud Lake”
  • Flora and Fauna Winner: Leslie Marr, Decatur, Mich., “The Hitchhiker”
  • Landscape Winner: Karen Farrell, Traverse City, Mich., “Middle Hungarian Falls”
  • People and Nature Winner: Steven Jessmore, Grand Rapids, Mich., “No Wake”
  • Water Winner: Brooks Angell, Grand Rapids, Mich., “A Winter’s Hunt on a Frozen Shore”
Clouds over rolling hills in autumn. Trees covered in bright orange and yellow leaves. The sun is setting and lighting up the sky in reds and yellows.
Grand Prize A Foggy Cloud Lake // Cloud Lake of Porcupine Mountain State Park in Michigan’s upper peninsula has it’s unique appeals especially in the fall. The morning clouds over the lake give proof to the namesake of the lake. © Chong Q Wu/TNC Photo Contest 2023

TNC in Michigan contest judges found the Grand Prize winning “A Foggy Cloud Lake” to be “filled with interest, beautiful light and colors and it’s very inviting.” As for the Flora and Fauna winner, “The Hitchhiker,” judges said: “This picture feels so delicate with the ant being lifted away on the hummingbird in motion. This image is a snapshot to the gentle relationships in nature.”

A Winter’s Hunt on a Frozen Shore” was the Water winning photo because of the “sharp contrast of the shore and the icy water, and the eagle at full wingspan makes this image so captivating.”

The People and Nature winning “No Wake” showed how “people enjoying nature and conservation can joyfully coexist.” “Middle Hungarian Falls” was described as a “quintessential fall Michigan picture.”

Judges for the local 2023 Photo Contest included Jason Whalen, co-founder of Fauna Creative, Jocelyn Coley, co-founder and CEO of The Allen Lewis Agency and member of the TNC Michigan Board of Trustees, Gretchen Valade, director of sustainability at Carhartt and member of the TNC Michigan Board of Trustees, and Autumn McGowan, a conservation fellow at TNC in Michigan.

The grand prize winner receives a $300 gift card and category winners each receives a $150 gift card for Carhartt, Merrell, REI or Moosejaw (winner’s choice).

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. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.