B.C. photographer wins two big international awards for stunning nature portraits

Photographer Connor Stefanison from Burnaby, B.C. has won two international awards for his breathtaking shots. The 24-year-old won the Fritz Polking Junior Prize from the Society of German Wildlife Photographers and the Rising Star Portfolio Award from London’s National History Museum, where he beat out 42,000 entries from 96 countries.

Unlike many nature photographers, Stefanison’s favourite time to shoot is at dusk and at nighttime. Stefanison took one of his winning photographs of a mountain goat laying under the stars while he was on camping trip. After three days of following the goats around, they finally warmed up to Stefanison. For the photograph, he took a couple test shots before taking the 25-second exposure. The final shot, which shows the goat perfectly illuminated, is his favourite of 2015.

A different winning photograph was less planned. Stefanison had set-up a camera trap to photograph spotted skunks. When he saw bear droppings on the track leading to his camera, he was worried his gear may have been destroyed by the bear. Instead, his found his gear unscathed and ended up with a close-up photograph of a curious bear.

Stefanison grew up fishing in interior B.C., a pastime that gave him special insight to finding amazing wildlife in his home province. He took up photography at the age of 17 and earned a biology degree in ecology, conservation, and evolution from Simon Fraser University. His photographs have been published in Canadian Geographic, Outdoor Photography, British Columbia Magazine, among other titles.