The Canopy Awards Harnessing photographers to help Protect Rainforests Forever

WORDS: Kristin Canning PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Australian photographer Matt Palmer takes out Grand Prize in Canopy Awards Conservation organisation Rainforest Rescue has announced the winners of their inaugural international rainforest photography competition, The Canopy Awards.

Australian photographer Matt Palmer’s landscape image of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park in Tasmania was selected by judges for the Canopy Grand Prize, which celebrates the image the judging panel felt best-captured the spirit and ideals of the competition.

The Canopy Awards are designed to enhance and promote the art of rainforest photography, help raise awareness about the nature and culture of rainforest habitats, and encourage their protection.

Photographers from across the globe were invited to enter photographs in four categories: Habitats, Characters; Hidden Gems and Reportage.

Judges chose a winner in each category, plus bestowed a special prize for the judge’s ‘Best of the Daintree’. To round-out the suite of prizes, the organisation’s dedicated staff awarded a ‘Rainforest Rescuer’s Favourite’ prize, while a ‘People’s Choice’ popular vote was run on the social media platform Instagram including the public in deliberations and helping share the beauty and significance of rainforests far and wide.

Convened by Rainforest Rescue Ambassador Darren Jew (Canon Master and six-time winner of the Australian Professional Nature Photographer of the Year Award) the Canopy Awards judging panel comprised iconic Australian nature photographer Steve Parish; conservation photography and film- making team Juergen and Stella Freund; Rainforest Rescue Chair Madeleine Faught and rainforest ecologist Dr Robert Kooyman.

“We are delighted with the high calibre of submissions received,” said Darren Jew. “The shortlist gallery takes us on a remarkable visual journey, showcasing the skills and creativity of the photographers and celebrating the magnificence and diversity of the planet’s rainforests”.

Rainforest Rescue’s CEO Branden Barber, said: “We protect the things that we care about. The power of the lens and so much remarkable talent has combined here to celebrate rainforests, helping people to feel the importance, the power and the beauty of Nature—even if they’ve never set foot in a rainforest. It’s through increasing awareness that we increase care for the world’s rainforests, and our concern for their fate. This is a very significant contribution.”

Kristin Canning, Rainforest Rescue’s Partnerships Manager, added, “Being a part of the Canopy Awards is a natural extension for Rainforest Rescue’s partners, with the collective resources of our fabulous sponsors helping to champion rainforest awareness.Their support not only made the awards possible, but shows environmental commitments continue to grow as a natural part of the culture of ecologically-conscious businesses.”


Canopy Grand Prize
Chosen from the 4 Category winners, the Canopy Grand Prize celebrates the image the judges felt best captured the spirit and ideals of the competition.

2022 GRAND PRIZE WINNER, MATT PALMER, Victoria, Australia
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Matt has won a 4-night, all-inclusive stay for two people at Silky Oaks Lodge, right in the heart of the Daintree rainforest, with activities on the Daintree River with Solar Whisper and in the forest with Walkabout Cultural Adventures, plus $3000 cash from Spell.

Category Winner– Habitats
Winner: MATT PALMER, Victoria, Australia
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Finalists: Nicolas Rakotopare, Tim Moon, Clay Hawker, Mitchell Burns, Robin Moon

Category Winner– Characters
Winner: LIAM LYNCH, Victoria, Australia
Tapanuli orangutan, Batang Toru forest, Sumatra, Indonesia
Finalists: Nicolas Rakotopare | Igor Mikula | Gregory Cowle | Matthew Clancy | Tibor Molnar | Robin Moon

Category Winner– Hidden Gems
Winner: SAMANTHA WRIGHT, Western Australia
At Wanggoolba Creek, K’gari, Great Sandy National Park, Australia
Finalists: Benjamin Mitchell | Valerie Kleindienst | Matt Palmer | Peter Meyer

Category Winner– Reportage
Winner: CALUMN HOCKEY, New South Wales, Australia
Clear-felling of Gondwanan rainforest, Southwest National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Finalists: Calumn Hockey | Liam Lynch | Gavin Window | Eva Turek-Jewkes | Eunie Kim
All Category Winners have won the latest camera backpack from Fstop Gear, plus $500 cash from Will and Bear.

People’s Choice Vote
Winner: RAJ BOSE, Texas, USA
La Paz Waterfalls, Costa Rica
2nd Mitchell Burns | 3rd Nicolas Rakotopare | 4th Matt Cornish | 5th Matthew Clancy | 6th Tibor Molnar

Having received the most votes in the People’s Choice, Raj has won a prize pack valued at over $500 from Will and Bear, Patagonia, Magic of I, Wandering Folk and Naturally Driven.

Rainforest Rescuer’s Favourite
Winner: NICOLAS RAKOTOPARE, Queensland, Australia
Yellow-blotched forest-skink, Atherton Tablelands, Australia
Rainforest Rescue’s hardworking staff members have chosen their favourite entry! A foraging cassowary image has won Nicolas the latest camera backpack from Fstop Gear, plus $500 cash from Will and Bear.

Best of the Wet Tropics
Winner: NICOLAS RAKOTOPARE, Queensland, Australia
Southern cassowary, Moresby Range National Park, Australia
We delved into our Judges rankings and identified the highest achieving entry that had been shot inside the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of North Queensland, where Rainforest Rescue is working hard to restore the biologically diverse regions on the planet. #TreesAreTheAnswer
With his Best of the Wet Tropics image, Nicolas has won the latest camera backpack from Fstop Gear, plus $500 cash from Will and Bear.

Silky Oaks Lodge (4-nights all-inclusive stay for 2 people); Spell ($3000 cash); Solar Whisper (Daintree River cruise); Walkabout Cultural Adventures (Daintree cultural experience)

f-stop Gear (latest camera backpack); Will and Bear ($500 cash)

Will and Bear; Patagonia; Magic of I; Naturally Driven; Wandering Folk


Entries open on the 10th April