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2023 in Review: Sharing Top Work From My Peers

One of my favorite annual posts is the year-end Peers collection. This year, my schedule threw things off a bit. I invited more photographers than ever to join in on the fun, but because I was forced to move the publication date up closer to Christmas, it was harder for people to get me their photos in time. Nonetheless, we had a late push, and I think this is the most photos I’ve ever shared here! I’m really pleased to share the following images with you, including some from “new” photographers who are contributing for the first time.

Some of these folks are pros, while others are semi-professionals or hobbyists, but they all have produced some fantastic images over the years. I hope you’ll take time to see their highlighted images below and visit their websites/social media accounts to see their full “Best of 2023” galleries or their general photo collections.

Also, be sure to check out my peers’ Best Of selections that I’ve shared from past years: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.

All photos below are posted with permission and remain the intellectual property of their original owners.  Please respect their copyrights!


Amy Gerber

Amy is a fellow Yellowstone-area photographer who’s been documenting wildlife in the GYE’s eastern region for years, in addition to other locations such as Costa Rica and Africa. She’s taking advantage of retirement by filling her recent slate with more park exploration and two recent Africa trips.

Brown bear by Amy Gerber

About the photo:Brown and gold…..When fur catches the last rays of the day. How’s that for a Wyoming girl?

“On our last night in bear camp, we stayed on the river till almost dark (actually did this most nights)… but in this land of the midnight sun, night doesn’t fall until very late. We watched this bear fish, successfully I might add, and then relax on the cobblestone bar, watching the braids of river flowing by, holding in its belly the salmon that would ultimately give the bear all the calories he would need to survive the soon-to-come winter. It was a perfect ending to an incredible week of bear watching in Katmai, Alaska.

“Some of us need wild places and wild things. Entering this world of the bear comes with risks but no more than everyday living in our manicured world. Like driving down a highway… or walking a city street at night… or going to a movie theatre to see Batman… or teaching school. I would argue that any and all of these activities are riskier than a week in the wilderness. I know, for me, wildness is in my DNA. I can’t change it anymore than I can change the color of my eyes. Borrowing from Wendell: it’s my ‘peace of wild things.’ Sadly, many people have lost this connection to nature and it shows.”

See more of Amy’s work:

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Andres Novales

I was first attracted to Andres’s macro photography, which is tremendous, but he also focuses on larger critters (as seen below). Though based in Guatemala, he explores and leads tours throughout Latin America and around the world.

Harpy Eagle by Andres Novales

About the photo:There are some animals that would make me go to great lengths to get a picture. Harpy Eagles are definitely up there. Finding Harpies in the wild is quite the challenge. Although they’re unimaginably massive, these top predators can be very secretive and hard to find. One of the best ways to find them is by locating a nest, but usually most nests are extremely high up and the photo opportunities are not the best. When I first saw pictures of this nest, I knew that it was an opportunity that I could not let pass. The nest is located in one of Colombia’s most active guerrilla territories, the Serranía de la Macarena. After some planning with the locals, I was granted access and embarked on a short 3-day trip with hopes of photographing one of the most imposing birds in the planet. We drove approximately 8 hours from Bogota and then hiked in 3 kms to reach the plot of land where the nest was located. During the following three days, I fell in love with Isis and Apollo, this amazing pair of Harpy Eagles. I was able to witness Apollo, the male, gather sticks and branches used to build the nests. He would also return with monkey parts to feed his mate while she stayed and guarded the nest. Thanks to local efforts, The Harpy Eagle Reserve is now a formal project in Colombia and hopefully these amazing birds will be protected and raise many chicks in their lifetime.”

See more of Andres’s work:

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Anton Sorokin

A biologist and photographer, Anton does a lot of work in the Americas, highlighted by his fantastic macro photography featuring reptiles and amphibians. In recent years he has delved into underwater photography as well.

Hellbender by Anton Sorokin

About the photo:Swimming with hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), the largest amphibian species in the Americas and among the very largest in the world, has long been a bucket list activity for me. I was thrilled to finally achieve that this year and spent days snorkeling with the hellbenders and photographing their behavior – of all the images I got this one stands out to me as being amongst the most special. Like all amphibians, hellbenders shed their skin, although usually this happens out of sight and amphibians often eat their own shed skin as its comes off. But here as I photographed this hellbender, it started vigorously squirming and flaps of shed skin were noticeably hanging off of it – still I wasn’t expecting the whole shed to be pulled off the hellbender by the river’s current. For a fraction of a second, the shed skin spread out behind the hellbender in the current and I hastily recomposed the image to try to get an image of the ghostly outline before the skin was swept away. I only had time for one image and wasn’t sure I had captured the moment until I reviewed the back of the camera – I was overjoyed to see that the shed was not only visibly fanning out from the hellbender but that the outlines of the hellbender’s feet and arms were still visible in the shed skin billowing in the current.”

See more of Anton’s work:

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Bill Gussman

Bill is a long-time friend with whom we’ve shared adventures in Yellowstone, Africa and Australia. Even though he doesn’t have a website and only shares photos on his personal social media account, I’m happy to include his posts here.

Bushbabies by Bill Gussman

About the photo: If your timing was right you could catch these bush babies for a brief moment as they exited their daytime home of a perimeter pole in Kruger National Park, South Africa.”

 

Danny Green

Danny is a highly-lauded photographer from the UK. He’s been honored multiple times in such prestigious competitions as Wildlife Photographer of the Year (he’s a fellow winner of the Black and White category, among other commendations), European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Nature’s Best. He leads photo tours worldwide. As with so many of my peers on this list, we first met in Yellowstone!

Knots by Danny Green

About the photo:I took this image at the RSPB reserve in Snettisham in early November. It was very misty early on and I couldn’t see the spectacle, but I could hear it. Slowly the mist cleared, and I could see the birds and start taking pictures. The birds were very restless and were constantly moving around and trying to get into a comfortable position, I think the mist had unsettled them because of the poor visibility. I think the wader roost at Snettisham is one of the best things to witness in the natural world and rivals anything else around the world.”

See more of Danny’s work:

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Dave Sizer

Dave covers sporting events in the Pacific Northwest for various publications.  I know him through my work in Husky Football, but Dave travels around covering other Pac-12 schools as well.

Basketball at Venice Beach by Dave Sizer

About the photo: Dave happened to be in LA for work, and while strollying near Venice Beach, noticed this incredible scene, which he quickly photographed.

See more of Dave’s work:

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David Kingham

David and his partner, Jennifer Renwick, are full time photographers who travel the country photographing landscapes and other natural subjects. They lead and teach workshops around the country. David is also owner of the Nature Photographers Network and publisher of Nature Vision Magazine.

Trees in mist by David Kingham

About the photo: “This year, I finally got into drone photography, and it has been a refreshing change to find new subjects and perspectives that are not possible from the ground. On this morning, I was photographing the sunrise near Grand Teton National Park. As the morning progressed, the fog rolled in and transformed the landscape. I flew on the edges of the fog to find unique trees amongst the mist. I was pleased to find this patch and happy that my drone returned home as it was quite wet from the moisture in the air when it returned.”

See more of David’s work:

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Ekaterina Bee

Ekaterina is a young photographer from Italy who’s found success in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, placing three times already in youth categories (her first win was at the age of 6!), including this year’s 11-14 Year-Old category win. I finally had a chance to meet Eka and her lovely family in London this year.

African Lions by Ekaterina Bee

About the photo:Of the many photos I took in 2023, this is perhaps not the best, but one of those I am most fond of. I took this it during a family photographic trip to South Africa, in the Madikwe Game Reserve. We were lucky enough to see a couple of amazing male lions several times: the 2 brothers Mahiwa males, called ‘Dark Mane’ and ‘Blondie.’ One day we saw the magnificent Dark Mane in an open area, coming straight to an area with some trees. We anticipate his movement, and asked the driver to place our 4×4 near the trees awaiting his arrival.

“With great surprise we found a lioness with her three young cubs near the trees. The lioness was with her small cubs in the bush and and the light was filtering through the tree branches when she sensed the presence of the male lion approaching. For a few minutes she was very tense and in ‘defense mode,’ as male lions can easily kill cubs if they come from a different pride or if they’re solitary males. The lioness gnashed her teeth several times, but everything went well because she soon understood that the male arriving was Black Mane, the uncle of the cubs and a male of the same pride. I still remember those few moments, the strong tension in the air and the powerful look and behavior of the lioness, with an enchanting light filtering through the trees.”

See more of Eka’s work:

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Heidi Pinkerton

Heidi is a Yellowstone friend/hot chocolate delivery person who is known for her northern light photography (which she photographs frequently near her home in northern Minnesota), and she taught and gave talks at the International Wolf Center prior to her retirement this year (congratulations!). But as you’ll see from her collection, she photographs quite a variety of subjects!

Aurora by Heidi Pinkerton

About the photo:While I have tried many times to capture the aurora in Yellowstone National Park and have gotten a glow more than once, it was on September 18th of this year that I was blown away by the show I witnessed in Hayden Valley. Not only was my camera able to pick up an array of colors, I saw the display with my own eyes!”

See more of Heidi’s work:

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Jennifer King

Jennifer and I met in Yellowstone (of course) a few winters back, and seem to cross paths there every year. She is an award-winning landscape and fine art photographer who has been widely published and has been a featured speak for numerous events and organizations. I’m attracted to Jennifer’s black and white work in particular, and am excited to finally share one of her images as part of this collection.

Death Valley sand dunes by Jennifer King

About the photo: Jennifer photographed these sand dunes during her latest Death Valley workshop.

See more of Jennifer’s work:

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Jérémy Mathieu

Jérémy is a colleague who specializes in still and video photography. Though he is from France, we met in Yellowstone, where he leads tours each year. Jérémy recently moved to Canada, taking advantage of his time abroad to explore many of North America’s wild areas.

Sea lion in Herring Spawn by Jeremy Mathieu

About the photo: “While the herring were spawning on the east coast of Vancouver island, I flew my drone to see what it looked like from above. The milt of the herring spreading along the coast to fertilize the freshly released eggs creates a unique show. It’s hard to give a scale to this once-in-a-year event and my photos looked almost abstract. Luckily, a large sea lion showed up to give an idea of how large the spawn is.”

See more of Jérémy’s work:

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Jill Cooper & Simon Jackson

Jill and Simon are conservation-minded storytellers based in Canada. They are the founders of the Ghost Bear Institute, which emphasizes youth-oriented education and conservation, and Nature Labs, a virtual textbook being used to advance nature literacy. After a year away from the outdoors, they explored a bit more in 2023 and came back with this winning shot!

Great Grey Owls by Jill Cooper and Simon Jackson

About the photo:For one glorious three-week period, the clouds lifted on our personal dramas, allowing us to capture a laundry list of missing content for our project, Nature Labs. And though it was work–often around-the-clock, slog through mud-and-bugs hard work–it did mean we were able to briefly return to our roots, living in a tent and spending time in nature. 

With the last couple of years having been focused on web site construction and post-production editing of our platform’s 500+ stories, it was a rare treat to hear birds and see the sun and look for wildlife. Our time in the field took us to from our home in Alberta all the way to Alaska and Fort McMurray (the oil sands in northern Canada), as well as our touchstone Mount Robson Provincial Park, in just 19 days. To Max’s chagrin, most of our work was video-centric, with highlights including a toad migration, a very co-operative shrew (!) and a least weasel (!!) – only our second ever sighting. Photographically, we were able to snag a few great grizzly images, but the best encounter was easily a great grey owl nest that we’ve been lucky enough to see for two out of the last three years. The family never ceases to entertain, but this particular encounter was special.  

“Why?  

“Well, the great grey female wasn’t looking at us in this photo, but rather a rambunctious deer that was feeding behind our backs. Apparently, the owl and deer had a long running feud because, before we could process what was happening, the owl dove over our heads and attacked the deer. I kid you not. It dive-bombed the poor ungulate repeatedly, pecking at its hide, until the deer retreated back into the forest. We’ve never seen behaviour like this and, given it happened mere feet away, we were powerless to actually capture the moment, despite being surrounded by three cameras and a couple of phones. Look, we’re a bit rusty, okay? Regardless, the moment is captured in our heads and at least this image, the one taken before a sequence of poorly-cropped, out-of-focus flight images and video, helps bring it all back.”

See more of Jill and Simon’s work:

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John Blumenkamp

John is a nature and wildlife photograph who documents subjects in the western US, particularly in Utah and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He was also a fellow Highly Commended recipient in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Animal Portraits category a few years ago, and we also shared honors in the 2017 Windland Smith Rice photography awards.

Bald Eagle by John Blumenkamp

About the photo: “Certain species will forever remain favorite subjects to photograph no matter how often they are observed, and the American Bald Eagle will always be on my list! It was fitting that the first week of 2023 was spent watching a pair of mature eagles call to one another and follow each other from perch to perch. Here one of the two made its way to a lightly snow covered branch to wait for its partner to soon join on this snowy and overcast afternoon.”

See more of John’s work:

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Judd Patterson

Judd is an excellent photographer who recently moved out west from Florida. Though he works for the National Park Service in a capacity outside of photography, Judd travels frequently with camera in hand in his free time, with a focus on avian subjects. I interviewed Judd and highlighted some of his excellent work a few years ago here in the blog.

Williamson's Sapsucker by Judd Patterson

About the photo:I’ve always had an eye for woodpeckers, but the red, black, white, and yellow of a Williamson’s Sapsucker really gets my attention. Keying in on their favorite habitat I found a nesting pair and spent the summer enjoying their antics. As both sexes worked on nest building and feeding young I would sometimes glimpse their bright golden belly, but it was typically hidden against the aspen or pine where they were perched. I love that side-pose most typical of a woodpecker in a field guide, but I knew I would need something different to show off their lemony, yellow side. Thankfully this male eventually obliged, and one of my favorite images of the year was created.”

See more of Judd’s work:

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Karim Iliya

Karim is photographer and filmmaker who specializes in underwater work, but who boasts a portfolio that’s quite diverse, including aerial shoots, erupting volcanos, and more. He has an image in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice awards. And oh, by the way, he’s part of a special mission that will blast off into space and circle the moon in a few years!

Humpback whale by Karim Iliya

About the photo:In the 8 years and more than 200 days that I’ve spent photographing and swimming with humpbacks, I have never seen such strange behavior. I had come across this juvenile a few days before I took this photo. Unlike other whales his age, he seemed to have buoyancy issues. It is common for calves to not be able to control their buoyancy, but as they grow older they quickly learn how to stay under water. This whale would dive down to try and sleep, but would immediately start floating back up to the surface before trying to dive back down again. I spent many hours watching and documenting this behavior. On the morning I took this photo, we found him above a shallow patch of sand that is normally quite murky. I got in the water and saw him on the bottom, rolling around the sand. There were tracks where the current had moved him across the bottom. Again and again, he would swim down to the bottom, but instead of floating up to the surface, he could use his fluke to stay at the bottom and rest a while longer. It might be that he was using the sandy bottom as a way to deal with his buoyancy issues. I managed to capture a few photos from this angle showing the unique and surprising behavior this animal was exhibiting.”

See more of Karim’s work:

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Kate and Adam Rice

Kate and Adam are award-winning photographers who roam the West in their Sprinter van, searching for all manner of wildlife. They have received multiple commendations in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, lead tours and workshops in Alaska and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and are the co-founders of For the Love of Bears, a non-profit focused on bear conservation.

Musk Ox by Adam Rice

About the photo: Adam writes, “we extended our stay in Alaska well into the fall, exploring new areas and encountering unfamiliar species. One standout moment was capturing the majestic muskox through our lens. Witnessing these northern warriors during the changing fall foliage and the onset of their annual rut was truly awe-inspiring. A commanding bull even approached us on the vibrant tundra, his imposing figure silhouetted against the red and yellow backdrop. As the brisk wind swept through his long coat, he stood vigilant, ensuring we posed no threat to his herd.”

Puma by Kate Rice

About the photo: Kate writes, “I had the incredible pleasure of joining Max for his trip to Patagonia this year, it was a life changing trip that moved me to my core. To not only experience the incredible pumas in the breathtaking shadow of Torres del Paine, but to walk alongside these creatures as they hunted the guanacos was nothing short of miraculous. This image was made on our first puma trek alongside a lively group of fellow adventurers I had the pleasure of sharing the experience with. I could not believe this moment came together and I owe it Max who so thoughtfully put the needs of his guests before his own. This trip was more than a checkbox on a bucket list—it was an indelible memory I will cherish forever.” [Editor’s Note: Kate’s shot is the reason I couldn’t include this moment in my own Year in Review collection… her photo is so much better than mine!]

See more from Kate and Adam:

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Ken Archer

Ken and I have crossed paths several times shooting wildlife and birds in the Pacific Northwest and in Yellowstone. Having worked for decades in journalism, Ken now leads photo tours in North and Latin America.

Polar Bear by Ken Archer

About the photo:In late August and early September, we visited Churchill for our first photo tour in the area. While exploring the arctic tundra we encountered a distant polar bear mother and her eight-month-old cub exploring the shoreline of Hudson Bay while searching for food. We positioned ourselves for a better view just in time to see the pair wade into the water and embark on a very long swim across a wide bay. The cub seemed to enjoy the swim at first, but it was evident that it was beginning to tire after a half hour, falling behind its mother a hundred meters or so. Once on shore, mother bear’s nose was high into the air, catching a scent on the breeze and she was on a mission with her cub following quite a distance behind her. At last, Momma found what she had scented after a long meandering trek into their tundra environment. She had smelled an old caribou carcass at least 5 kilometers away and then followed her nose to the possible meal. While its mother scrounged for bits of food left on the carcass, the exhausted cub laid down for a much-needed rest in the shade of her belly.”

See Ken’s Best of 2023 gallery.

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Liron Gertsman

Liron is a standout photographer from British Columbia. He has been awarded in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and other competitions, and has had his work displayed at the Natural History Museum in London and the Smithsonian.

Salmon and Black Bear by Liron Gertsman

About the photo:In the fall of 2023, I spent several weeks immersed in the coastal ecosystems of British Columbia, documenting the annual return of salmon to our rivers. The importance of salmon to a multitude of wildlife species, including Black Bears, is always apparent. For many bears, salmon are critical resource to help put on sufficient weight for winter. The quality and quantity of food they consume also dictates bear reproductive success. Mating occurs in spring and early summer, but blastocyst implantation is delayed until the fall, and will only occur if the female bear has consumed sufficient resources. So, the reproductive success of bear populations can be closely linked to the availability of food sources like salmon.

“Wanting to capture the relationship between the bears and salmon in a somewhat unique photo, I spent a few days on Vancouver Island dedicated to trying to get one specific image: a split over-under shot, with both a bear and salmon visible. Pulling off the shot required finding a spot that had a high concentration of salmon, such that there would almost always be fish swimming by. That spot also had to be by a bear trail or fishing area, so I spent time observing the river area in order to figure out areas of high bear traffic. To get a clear division between the above water and underwater parts of the image, it also had to be a place with calm water flow. After finding a suitable spot, I had to overcome the technical challenges of securing an underwater camera system in place so that you could clearly see above and below the water at the same time, and setting it up to trigger remotely. I ended up setting the camera to trigger on an interval, so it would automatically take a photo every two seconds. ⁠After three days spent with my camera in the river, I managed to capture this photo of a Black Bear above, and a bright female Pink Salmon below. These two species are a part of each other’s environment, and play key roles in a highly interconnected ecosystem.”

See more of Liron’s work:

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Marcus Westberg

I met Marcus during the Wildlife Photographer of the Year festivities in London in 2019. Since then, he has been named a category winner in the prestigious European Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Marcus is also a contributor to the Remembering Wildlife book series, and has created a series of travel photo essays for The New York Times. He has been heavily involved documenting subjects for the African Parks Network, and covers everything from the wildlife of the Kalahari to the environmental issues back home in Sweden.

Elephant collaring by Marcus Westberg

About the photo:This is from South Sudan, taken during a major collaring operation in Boma and Badingilo National Parks; this elephant bull was one of 126 animals from 12 species fitted with collars or other forms of trackers in African Parks’ first year in charge of these protected areas.”

See more of Marcus’s work:

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Instagram: @MarcusWestbergPhotography | @MindfulAdventures
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Mike Cavaroc

Mike is a photographer and writer based in Jackson. Some of his recent projects focused on the night sky and the Arizona Trail, resulting in the published book, Wanderlove. He has presented at TEDxJacksonHole and guides in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Geminid Meteor Above Moulton Barn by Mike Cavaroc

About the photo: I recently realized that it had been a while since I photographed the Moulton Barns at night. With new gear since my last attempt, I figured the Geminid Meteor Shower was the perfect time to push myself back out into the deep dark cold. The night the meteor shower peaked was fortunately a clear night, so I headed out to Mormon Row to try my luck. While the meteor shower wouldn’t get good until early the next morning, one meteor did manage to grace a shot of the T.A. Moulton Barn under the starry night sky. It was a nice touch to an image I was already happy with.”

See Mike’s 12  favorite photos from 2023

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Pietro Formis

Pietro is an expert underwater photographer from Italy. He has published several books and leads underwater workshops around the world. He was a fellow honoree in the Animal Portraits category of the 59th Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.

Octopus by Pietro Formis

About the photo: “This wunderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) is only 15 cm long and seems to be made of crystal. I photographed this little octopus during a ‘blackwater dive.’ This is where you explore the open sea during the night, far from the seabed (which can be hundreds of meters below), in search of small pelagic organisms that make a vertical migration from the depths to the surface every night.

“This is the larval stage of a wunderpus, when it appears translucent. Once it is an adult it will look completely different, with brown and white stripes.’ His scientific name (a mix of English and Latin) means something akin to ‘wonderful photogenic octopus.’ What a perfect name for this jewel!”

See more of Pietro’s work:

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Tom Way

Tom is a fine art photographer based in England. He specializes in producing incredible artistic images from Africa and Asia, and leads workshops and safaris in Africa and the UK. He has been commended in the most recent Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

African leopard by Tom Way

About the photo:A magical encounter with this young leopard, which was living close to camp in the earlier part of 2023. On this particular evening we watched as he slept on a mound in the shade, but as the sun lowered onto the horizon he yawned and stretched before moving in our direction. It was one of those heaven-sent moments in wildlife photography where both light and subject combine.”

See more of Tom’s work:

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Vishal Subramanyan

Vishal is a young photographer who’s developed a devoted following due to his excellent work documenting bobcats in northern California. He was also honored for the first time in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (where we met). As you can see, he photographs more than just bobcats…

Cougar by Vishal Subramanyan

About the photo:  “In early 2022, I started a project to photograph mountain lions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through trail cameras, I found this male regularly traversing a deep canyon. I set up my DSLR camera trap in hopes of capturing him walking across this rocky ledge. After a lot of waiting, he eventually triggered my camera allowing me to capture this image.”

See more of Vishal’s work:

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William Steel

A kindred spirit, William enjoys exploring black and white imagery, and consistently presents some bold and effective monochrome scenes. An award-winning photographer, he works and guides primarily in Africa, and is a co-founder of the South African Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.

Baboon and palms by William Steel

About the photo:The Okavango Delta is not only an incredible environment for fauna, but also for its unique and diverse flora. One of the iconic trees that dot the landscape are Lala palms. I have had an idea of incorporating these amazing trees in an image for years, and finally that opportunity arose. A troop of baboons made their way up and down the trees eating and inadvertently dispersing the seeds.”

See more from William:

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Zack Clothier

Zack continues to explore the western Rockies and produce wonderful landscape and wildlife images from his travels in the backcountry. He has received multiple honors in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and has been awarded in the Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards. He also has published a best-selling guide to wildlife camera trap photography.

Mountain lion in Montana by Zack Clothier

About the photo: “I picked up my first camera at a very young age, but it wasn’t because I wanted to become a photographer when I grew up, at least not at first. As a young boy, one of my favorite hobbies was tracking animals. At first, I was strictly documenting tracks and sign with the camera, but soon I found myself purchasing a small telephoto lens, hoping to capture animals that I encountered in the woods: groundhogs, foxes, deer, coyotes, skunks, whatever I came across. As I grew older, my passion at times took the back burner due to a busy schedule of everyday life obligations. In the back of my mind, however, I was quietly plotting my career path as an artist.

“That brings me back to the image that you see here of a large male mountain lion checking out a rocky outcropping on a late winter morning in Montana. It is a combination of several of my passions. Tracking, wildlife, and photography all wrapped up into a single image. Technology has come a long way since I first started building my own remote cameras back in the early 2000s. Nowadays, I build much more sophisticated camera traps using DSLR cameras, infrared sensors, and off-camera flashes so that I can get creative with the light.

“In order to capture this image, I spent several winters tracking and studying the habits and movements of these big cats. During that time, while out checking on camera traps one morning, I was even fortunate enough to witness a cougar successfully hunting its prey at very close range. On one particular morning, I was out scouting for sign and located a single, partial imprint in the snow beneath this overhanging rock. Based on that single impression and behavioral knowledge of the animals themselves, I decided it was worth setting up a cam in hopes the cat would eventually return to this location. After several long months of patiently waiting, this large male finally returned to this rocky overhang and triggered my camera early one morning as winter was coming to a close. The location was so specific that this cat and a few passing elk were the only animals that I captured over a three-month period of time!”

See more of Zack’s work:

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More top work from my peers, by year:

2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

More Year in Review Content

Best of 2023, Part 1: My Favorite Images and Moments of the Year

Best of 2023, Part 2

My Not Quite Best of 2023

My 2023 Clients’ Photos

My 2023 Favorites from Entertainment and Literature

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