A 22-year-old photographer from Burnaby has become the first North American to win an award from an organization that recognizes the best wildlife photographers from around the world.
Connor Stefanison won the Eric Hosking Portfolio Award, which honours aspiring young wildlife photographers from the ages of 18 to 26. The award was started in 1991 when Hosking passed away. He was well known for his bird photography.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year award is co-owned by the BBC Worldwide and the Natural History Museum.
Stefanison won for six photos after he submitted 10. He spent last week in London and attended the awards gala at the Natural History Museum. “It was all black tie so you had all these nature photographers that never dress up, all dressed up,” laughs Stefanison.
He has been taking photographs since he was 17 and says he would love to work for National Geographic one day.
“I first got interested from mountain biking,” says Stefanison. He and his friend would ride the trails and Stefanison always took notice of what was around him. Living so close to Burnaby Lake gave him a great opportunity to see the wildlife in their natural habitat.
One of his favourite photos of a barred owl took him two weeks to get the perfect shot and lighting. He has been taking pictures of that owl and her mate for the past two years, so he knew the flight path, but he had to learn to use multi-flash to get the perfect shot.
This is the third time the budding wildlife photographer has entered the photography competition and he worked really hard on his entries this year.
“Since I didn’t make it in last year I tried really hard,” he says.
The SFU biology student is now working on building his work, and passing his exams he missed last week while accepting his award.
His photos will be part of an exhibition at the Natural History Museum until next March.
To see more of his work and follow his progress, check out his Facebook page.
See the other five photos in the entry: