Jamestown, N.Y. – With entries from around the world, it should come as no surprise that there is a strong international flavor to the winners and finalists of Audubon Community Nature Center’s 2018 Nature Photography Contest.

“Natural Wonders: Big and Small” was the theme for the 2018 contest that had two divisions. Adult Division entries, from those 18 years old or out of high school, came from 17 countries and 24 states. Youth entries came from three countries and nine states.

The 2018 First Place Adult Division Winner is the photograph of a trio of African Wild Dog pups that Bence Mate of Pusztaszer, Hungary, titled “Playground.” “Between Bubbles,” the photograph of a Praying Mantis by Ruben Perez Novo of Naron – Coruña, Spain, is the Second Place Adult Winner.

The First Place Youth Division Winner is Harlingen, Texas, resident Zachary W. Gray’s “Cactus Patterns.” “Macaques” by Charlotte McEvoy of New York, N.Y., is the Second Place Youth Winner.

First place winners received prizes of $300 cash and $75 gift cards from Delaware Camera (cameraspot.com). Second place winners received $100 cash and $50 Delaware Camera gift cards. The winning photographs will be on exhibit at Audubon Community Nature Center by mid-October.

Photographers receiving Finalist recognition in the Adult Division are Tyler Bensinger, Los Angeles, Calif.; Cindy Croissant, San Diego, Calif.; Teri Franzen, Endicott, N.Y.; Kathleen Furey, South Riding, Va.; Kai Hypen, Sipoo, Finland; Ejaz Khan, New York, N.Y.; Aparna Maladkar, London, United Kingdom; Marios Mantzourogiannis, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Astrid Mohr-Kiehn, Oberschleissheim, Bavaria, Germany; Mary Kay Talarico, Erie, Pa.; and Polly Weldon, Jacksonville, Fla.

Finalists in the Youth Division are Noah Bagley, Pepperell, Mass.; Priya Bhavikatti, Centennial, Colo.; Jasmine Heejae Kim, Seoul, Republic of Korea; and Maddie Nolan, Richardson, Texas.

Both first place winners also submitted photographs that were recognized as Finalists.

Contest judge Bill Smith observed, “There was an incredible talent shown in many of the images which, while making judging hard, also made it enjoyable to study and reflect upon how they might have been created, why the photographer selected the chosen perspective, lens choice and camera settings.” He went on to say that, “Good photography is not accidental and there is an art to Nature observation,” and, “the youth finalists could very well be in the adult category.”

Smith captured the essence of the Nature Photography Contest when he noted, “It’s been said that photography is a journey without a destination. We are out there for the joy it brings us. May it be so.” He concluded, “Thanks to everyone that entered and keep being inspired by photographing our natural world.”

Winning and finalist images can be seen at acncphotocontest.com. The full Judge’s Notes, also there, describe the criteria used in the decision making as well as tips for photographers.

Proceeds from the contest support Audubon’s environmental education programs.

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown, N.Y., one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren, Pa.

The Nature Center building is home to the Blue Heron Gift Shop and three floors of interactive exhibits, including live animals that inform and engage visitors of all ages. Building hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Sundays 1 to 4:30 p.m. To learn more, visit auduboncnc.org

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways.