The hardest part of nature photography is putting the viewer in the photographer’s shoes — really capturing the majesty of what they’re photographing.

All of the photographs were worthy of consideration. The 10 finalists showed an extra depth of technical expertise.

There’s an extra benefit for nature, says Patrick Graham, the Nature Conservancy in Arizona’s state director. “We’re hopeful they made a connection to conservation through the process and better appreciate all of the services nature provides.”

The Conservancy tapped some of the state’s photo professionals to judge the contest, including Jeff Kida, photo editor of Arizona Highways; corporate photographer Mark Skalny; naturalist and scientist emeritus Cecil Schwalbe with the U.S. Geological Survey and affiliate faculty at the University of Arizona; and Rick Wiley, photo editor of the Arizona Daily Star.

The winning entries will be on display today in the lobby of the Tucson Museum of Art. The display moves to the TMA Education Center on Monday through May 23.

Arizona Highways magazine will publish the first-place winner in a future issue and feature the other winners on its website. See an online gallery of the 10 finalists at