Joe & Mary Ann McDonald

2021 NANPA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Joe and Mary Ann McDonald are professional wildlife photographers who have been working together for nearly 35 years. Both were biology majors in college with Joe also achieving a Masters in Communication and Media. They have used their training as field biologists to add natural history and behavioral observations for the benefit of their tour groups and to capture behavior with all of their photo subjects.

Joe has written eight how-to books on photography, several how-to eBooks, and numerous natural history books on Mountain Gorillas, The Big Cats, Penguins, and Polar Bears—just to name a few titles. He has also produced several teaching videos on different photography techniques, and together Joe and Mary Ann have created a YouTube channel to profile their work. Mary Ann has written 29 natural history children’s books and a coffee table book on the Amish tradition and faith. Both Joe and Mary Ann’s photos have appeared in all of the major natural history magazines and calendars throughout the years.

They have both won in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and may be the most prolific couple in this respect. They have photographed the Seven Big Cats of the World four different years and, to date, they have completed 107 treks for mountain gorillas in Rwanda. They have both named a baby gorilla in the Kwita Izina Naming Ceremony and have sent their book on mountain gorillas to Rwanda where all profits will go toward gorilla conservation.