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20 Famous Nature Photographers You Should Know About

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Nature photography is an art form that captures the profound beauty of our natural world, taking us on an awe-inspiring visual journey. We have handpicked 20 famous nature photographers who have made their marks in wildlife, landscape, and environmental photography – each with a unique perspective and unwavering dedication to showcasing the wonders of Mother Earth.

1. Galen Rowell

  • Birth year: 1940
  • Death year: 2002
  • City/Province of birth: Oakland, California, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape and adventure photography
  • Notable artwork: Rainbow over the Potala Palace, Lhasa
Galen Rowell, an influential figure in nature photography, gained recognition for his breathtaking wilderness landscapes and famous nature photographs as a skilled climber and adventurer. Galen Rowell was very active in sharing his knowledge and expertise through his extensive writings on various aspects of outdoor photography – technical guidance, moral considerations, and philosophical insights.

2. Frans Lanting

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  • Birth year: 1951
  • City/Province of birth: Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife and nature photography
  • Notable artwork: Okavango Delta, Botswana
Frans Lanting is considered one of our most famous nature photographers. Lanting’s significant contributions to nature photography have earned him numerous awards and widespread acclaim. In addition, his work as one of the most famous landscape photographers has been featured in books, magazines, exhibitions, and television. Frans Lanting also promotes wildlife conservation efforts by using his talents to spark conversation about critical issues.

3. Philip Hyde

  • Birth year: 1921
  • Death year: 2006
  • City/Province of birth: San Francisco, California, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape photography, American West
  • Notable artwork: Images of Dinosaur National Monument
Philip Hyde, a pioneer in landscape photography and conservationist, played an instrumental role in protecting the American West’s stunning natural beauty. His work was vital to various campaigns to preserve southwestern landscapes, capture their essence through his lens, and raise awareness about their ecological significance. Many national parks within the United States owe their existence to his impactful images highlighting the region’s unique natural world. No other photographer could claim more involvement with ecological campaigns throughout his career than Philip Hyde. Ansel Adams even admired him for his landscape photography.

4. Eliot Porter

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  • Birth year: 1901
  • Death year: 1990
  • City/Province of birth: Winnetka, Illinois, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape and nature photography
  • Notable artwork: Images of Acadia National Park
Eliot Porter, an American photographer who focused on capturing the beauty of nature, is considered one of the most famous nature photographers in the world. His book “In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World” revolutionized nature photography by shifting the focus of landscape photos from grand landscapes to more intimate ones. Throughout his career, he continued exploring new techniques and subjects – bird photography being one of them. His unique approach made him stand out among other photographers of his time. Eliot Porter’s work has inspired many photographers worldwide to think differently about how they view and depict nature’s beauty in their pieces.

5. Paul Nicklen

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  • Birth year: 1968
  • City/Province of birth: Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife photography, polar regions
  • Notable artwork: Leopard seal hunting penguins
Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist who has significantly impacted the world of nature photography. He specializes in capturing stunning shots of the polar regions and their wildlife. Through his photography, Nicklen seeks to raise awareness about the beauty and fragility of nature, using his platform to advocate for ecological preservation and sustainability. Nicklen stands out among nature photographers because he actively uses his photography to drive critical conversations about wildlife conservation and habitat protection.

6. Robert Glenn Ketchum

 
  • Birth year: 1947
  • City/Province of birth: Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape photography
  • Notable artwork: The Hudson River and the Highlands
Robert Glenn Ketchum is a pioneer in conservation photography, with over four decades of experience advocating for ecological preservation. His stunning imagery and books have helped define contemporary color photography while promoting environmental activism worldwide. Ketchum’s commitment to environmental education and sustainability is evident in every aspect of his photography world, from capturing endangered species’ natural habitats to highlighting landscapes threatened by development.

7. David Muench

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  • Birth year: 1936
  • City/Province of birth: Santa Barbara, California, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape and nature photography
  • Notable artwork: Images of American national parks
David Muench is one of the most influential nature and landscape photographers worldwide. He has been capturing spectacular landscapes for over 60 years, focusing on portraying the American Western landscape through his fine art photography. Muench’s images have become synonymous with depictions of the American West, showcasing its rugged beauty and raw power. However, he brings out unique perspectives that capture both grandeur and subtlety in each shot he takes.

8. Art Wolfe

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  • Birth year: 1951
  • City/Province of birth: Seattle, Washington, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife, landscape, and culture
  • Notable artwork: “Travels to the Edge.”
Art Wolfe is a renowned nature photographer who has appeared in top magazines like National Geographic. During his 30-year career, he has traveled and captured some of the most stunning landscapes and wildlife shots you’ll ever see. Art Wolfe recognizes that capturing images of Earth’s natural beauty also means spreading awareness about environmental issues. Whether photographing wildlife in their natural habitats or exploring national parks, landscape photographer Art Wolfe always manages to capture breathtaking moments.

9. Edward Burtynsky

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  • Birth year: 1955
  • City/Province of birth: St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Large-scale landscape photography
  • Notable artwork: Shipbreaking #13, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Edward Burtynsky is a well-known photographer who has made a name for himself by capturing humans’ impact on the natural landscape through his lens. However, he soon became fascinated with capturing comprehensive views of how human industry and development impacted them. Burtynsky’s technical skill is showcased in his aerial photographs, which capture artificial structures and their impact on the surrounding environment. Edward Burtynsky’s work serves as a call to action for humanity to protect our natural world before it is too late.

10. Charlie Hamilton James

 
  • Birth year: 1973
  • City/Province of birth: United Kingdom
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife and conservation photography
  • Notable artwork: Images of Amazon rainforests and Yellowstone National Park
Charlie Hamilton James is a renowned English wildlife photographer who has spent his life capturing the beauty of nature. His focus on rare and endangered species sets him apart from other photographers – he has dedicated his career to conservation photography. At a young age, a fascination with kingfishers sparked his passion for bird photography. This later became a career filming wildlife subjects for television programs, documentaries, and advertising campaigns. As a photographer for National Geographic Magazine, Charlie focuses on wildlife protection, rare species preservation, and environmental threats caused by humans.

11. Cristina Mittermeier

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  • Birth year: 1966
  • City/Province of birth: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Conservation photography, marine ecosystems
  • Notable artwork: Series “SeaLegacy.”
Cristina Mittermeier is one of the world’s foremost outdoor photographers and a fierce advocate for nature conservation. Her passion for capturing the beauty of marine life has included being named Nature’s Best/Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year in 2011. She recognizes that photographs alone can’t solve environmental problems; they raise awareness and inspire action from individuals to increase environmental conservation efforts from those who see them. Mittermeier frequently shares her thoughts on mentorship and how it shapes careers in outdoor photography during interviews with National Geographic and other publications.

12. Christian Ziegler

  • Birth year: 1972
  • City/Province of birth: Munich, Germany
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife and nature photography
  • Notable artwork: Photographs of Borneo’s Rainforest
Christian Ziegler is a world-renowned nature photographer and Canon Ambassador with a background in tropical ecology. He has traveled the world photographing various wildlife, but his passion lies within the rainforest. As well as being a talented photographer, Christian is an environmentalist who believes we must fight for tropical forests’ future. He feels strongly about preserving local knowledge and society’s tipping point and uses his photographs to promote change. In recognition of his incredible work, BBC named Christian Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2005.

13. Tim Laman

 
  • Birth year: 1961
  • City/Province of birth: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife photography, rainforests
  • Notable artwork: Photographs of Bornean orangutans
Tim Laman is a skilled wildlife photographer, field biologist, and filmmaker who has spent three decades traveling the world to capture some of nature’s most stunning moments. In 2016, Laman won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for one of his most famous images, “Entwined Lives.” The image depicts an endangered Bornean orangutan climbing a tree with her baby in tow. Tim Laman explored bird photography by documenting all 39 bird-of-paradise species worldwide. It took eight years of intensive research and aerial photography across Papua New Guinea and nearby islands.

14. John Shaw

  • Birth year: 1944
  • City/Province of birth: United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape and nature photography
  • Notable artwork: Images of North American landscapes
John Shaw is a name that is synonymous with nature, outdoor, and wildlife photography. A professional photographer since the early 1970s, Shaw has traveled across every continent searching for spectacular images to capture in his work. His motto of “Know your subject” is at the core of his approach to photography. As a travel photographer, Shaw’s images have been published widely in magazines such as National Geographic, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, and many others. His passion for conservation shines through in his work as he captures breathtaking moments worldwide.

15. Marsel Van Oosten

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  • Birth year: 1967
  • City/Province of birth: Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife and landscape photography
  • Notable artwork: The Watchful Chef
Marsel van Oosten is an internationally acclaimed wildlife and nature photographer from Amsterdam, Netherlands. He has won numerous awards for his stunning images. Marsel also shares his expertise through specialized still photography workshops and tours organized by his company Squiver. These trips offer participants the chance to travel with them to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. Marsel van Oosten is one of the most incredible nature best landscape photographers today. His commitment to exploring new creative avenues in photography makes every photo he takes unique.

16. Will Burrard-Lucas

  • Birth year: 1983
  • City/Province of birth: United Kingdom
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife photography, camera trap photography
  • Notable artwork: Photographs of Ethiopian wolves, “The Black Leopard.”
Will Burrard-Lucas is a renowned British wildlife photographer and entrepreneur who has revolutionized nature photography with his innovative camera techniques. Burrard-Lucas has earned global recognition for his inventive devices and creative methods, such as BeetleCam, which captures close-up images of wild animals without endangering photographers. Burrard-Lucas’ unique approach to wildlife photography has cemented him as one of the foremost nature photographers globally.

17. Krista Schlyer

 
  • Birth year: Unknown
  • City/Province of birth: United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Environmental conservation photography
  • Notable artwork: Photographs of the US-Mexico borderlands
Krista Schlyer is an acclaimed freelance photographer and writer who dedicated her art to wildlife conservation, biodiversity, and public lands. Her work spans North America, capturing some of the most breathtaking landscapes and animals in their natural habitats. Through her art and writing, Schlyer works with organizations such as Audubon and National Wildlife magazine to promote environmental protection initiatives.

18. Konsta Punkka

 
  • Birth year: 1994
  • City/Province of birth: Helsinki, Finland
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife photography
  • Notable artwork: Close-up images of forest animals
Konsta Punkka is a self-taught wildlife photographer from Finland who has made a name with his stunning photographs of forest creatures. With over 750,000 followers on Instagram, he’s one of the most popular nature photographers. What sets him apart from other professional nature photographers is his ability to convey intimate and sensitive expressions of wildlife through his photography. In addition, Punkka’s focus on nature, capturing stunning landscapes and furry forest creatures, makes him unique among nature photographers.

19. Thomas D. Mangelsen

  • Birth year: 1946
  • City/Province of birth: Grand Island, Nebraska, United States
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife and nature photography
  • Notable artwork: Catch of the Day and Grizzly 399
Thomas D. Mangelsen is an American nature and wildlife photographer who has captured stunning images for over 45 years. He is among the top 10 most influential nature and wildlife photographers. Mangelsen’s iconic photography career includes documenting some of the most breathtaking scenery globally, from Africa to Antarctica. His award-winning images offer a glimpse into the natural world outside our daily lives.

20. Tapan Sheth

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  • Birth year: Unknown
  • City/Province of birth: India
  • Notable characteristics/subject matter: Wildlife and nature photography
  • Notable artwork: Images of Indian wildlife, birds
Tapan Sheth is a wildlife photographer who has gained significant recognition for his breathtaking work. Originally from Gujarat, India, he has captured images of diverse animal species across the globe. One look at Tapan Sheth’s Instagram feed reveals why he is considered one of the best nature photographers in the world. He has an eye for capturing stunning portraits illuminating an animal’s character and behavior.