Grass Valley travel bloggers win multiple gold medals for photojournalism

by Mar 17, 2023Awards

31st Annual NATJA Awards HI Travel Tales Wins 4 Gold Medals

For the fifth consecutive year, the HI Travel Tales team of Michael Hodgson and Therese Iknoian earned top honors for their photography and photojournalism skills, taking home four gold medals and one bronze in the 31st annual NATJA awards competition.

Grass Valley travel journalists and photographers Therese Iknoian and Michael Hodgson earned four golds and one bronze medal for their travel and wildlife photography in the North American Travel Journalists Association’s 31st annual travel media awards competition.

The duo behind continues to demonstrate they rank among best travel journalists and photographers in the country, including those from major publications such as National Geographic Travel, Travel + Leisure, Bloomberg Pursuits, The New York Times, and Conde Nast.

“We are extremely proud to continue to receive national recognition for our photography and journalism excellence,” said Hodgson. “So much work and passion go into every photo we take to ensure our photos are telling a story that will help connect our readers to the place we are in.”

Hodgson took home a gold medal for his cover photo of galloping wild horses that appeared in the story, “Running with the wind – the wild horses of Shackleford Banks.


He also earned a gold for his photo essay, “Death of a wildebeest: Great Migration crocodile attack.

Great Migration Crocodile Wildebeest Mara River

Iknoian also earned two gold medals. One for her portrait of a Maasai warrior that appeared in the story, “Visiting a Maasai village in Kenya – What to expect”.

Kenya Maasai Warrior In Hut Therese Iknoian

The other for landscape and nature photography showcasing the Milky Way over the Bodie Island Lighthouse that appeared in the story, “Explore five lighthouses of the Outer Banks in photos. In addition to the golds, Iknoian also earned a bronze medal recognition for entire lighthouse photo essay named above.


Our award-winning photos make a perfect gift – to yourself, a friend, or a family member. Prints for a wall, on a desk, as greeting cards, cozy fleece blankets, ornaments, fridge magnets, coffee mugs, luggage tags, coasters, mouse pads and puzzles. Subscriber Club members get 25% off any order

MIlky Way Over Bodie Lightouse

“We love being storytellers,” Iknoian said. “And we are grateful we have become so well-known for the quality of images that accompany our stories. Together, through our words and photographs, we look to guide readers to places all over the globe, hopefully inspiring them to take their own adventures and make their own travel memories.”

This is the fifth consecutive year of multiple awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) for the team – and the fifth year they have earned awards. They have also taken home awards in numerous other contests in the last few years for both photography and writing, winning raves from their hosts.

“Each year the competition gets stronger with so many entries coming from amazing journalists and photographers representing the best national publications and websites,” Hodgson said. “That only inspires us on to work harder to help travelers find their own meaningful travel adventures – hopefully with us at their side.”

Iknoian and Hodgson, both longtime journalists and photographers, have run HI Travel Tales for about eight years from their Grass Valley base. They have been to all seven continents, 48 countries, and all 50 states. They focus on immersive travel that connects readers with the culture, food, history, people, and natural wonders of a destination.

Subscribe to the HI Travel Tales newsletter to keep track of their adventures, to find your own travel inspiration, and to gain access to discounts and premium content only available to our subscribers. See more photography at and

You might also be interested in reading:


As an affiliate for Get Your Guide,, iVisa, Global Rescue, Think Tank, 5.11, Kuhl, Adorama, and others, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you should you choose to purchase through the links in our posts. It is essential to mention that we only endorse products we believe in and personally use. Your support for HI Travel Tales through these purchases allows us to maintain a sustainable platform for creating valuable and relevant content for you. 


Are you protected IF a travel emergency happens?

Global Rescue Travel Insurance Rescue Banner