Meet the Photographer: John Theberge

Other Wildlife, First Place, Amateur

12-29-2011 // Laura Tangley
John Theberge, First Place winner 2011 National Wildlife Photo Contest

John Theberge is from Lewiston, Maine, where he has lived for most of his life. "I've always had an interest in nature," he says. "As a kid I read books by Edwin Way Teal and Rachael Carson, among others, and I used to love studying the Golden Nature Guides. When I got into photography it was natural for me to take pictures of the natural world."

Theberge often hikes and kayaks around his state to capture images. "I realized years ago that you don't have to travel to exotic locations to get good photographs," he says. "Though I'm lucky to be living in a beautiful state with a lot of natural diversity, I've taken great pictures right in my own backyard and neighborhood."

To learn more about Theberge and see more of his photographs, visit

NWF: Why did you enter NWF’s Photo Contest?

Woodland sunflower by John Theberge

John Theberge: I've been admiring the winning photographs in NWF’s photo contest for many years. I entered to see how my pictures compared with those taken by some of the best photographers in the world.

(Note: This is the third time Theberge has entered the contest—the first time was in the 1980s and the second in the 1990s. "Third time’s a charm," he told a reporter from the Morning Sentinel after learning about this year’s win.)

NWF: Can you describe briefly the circumstances behind the making of your contest-winning photograph?

2011 National Wildife Photo Contest Winner

JT: During the summer of 2008, I was featuring common roadside wildflowers on my blog. In late July, I drove by an empty lot not far from my home, and it was full of black-eyed Susans. I went home to get my camera, and while photographing the black-eyed Susans, I noticed a lone Deptford pink growing among them. Figuring that the yellow would offset the pink blossom nicely, I maneuvered my camera so the out-of-focus black-eyed Susans would be my background. While I was setting up, a hoverfly landed on the pink and posed—making for a much more interesting photo than the blossom by itself.

NWF: Do you think that photography can promote wildlife conservation? If so, how?

JT: Yes. If people are able to see what possibly can be lost, they may be more apt to support wildlife conservation efforts.

Muskrat eating a mussel by John Theberge


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