A Canada lynx kitten stares intently over the top of a snowbank, surveying its surroundings. A northern pygmy-owl seems to frown amid a whirl of snowflakes. An underwater pillar decorated with sea stars, anemones and urchins rises toward the dim glow of the surface. Canada’s biodiversity is breathtaking in its beauty and variety, but it’s also vulnerable to climate change and the encroachment of human activities on critical habitat. The 20 winning photos of Canadian Geographic’s 2019 Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year Competition, hosted in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature, offer us an intimate glimpse at the often secretive lives of animals, and serve as a reminder that nature in all its forms is worth protecting. Scroll down to see some of the best images selected from among more than 5,400 entries by our panel of judges: Brittany Crossman, Daisy Gilardini, Dax Justin, Megan Lorenz*, Ben Powless, and Ryan Tidman.
*Megan Lorenz judged the Birds category only; she had no input into the selection of her own photo as a winner in the Animals in Action category, which was judged by Daisy Gilardini.
Animals in Action | Winner
What judge Daisy Gilardini said: “Even if there is no visual ‘action,’ in this shot, the tension is palpable. It looks like the lynx is about to pounce. I love the intensity of the look, and how the photographer used a low perspective and the snow in front of the lynx. Perfectly sharp and framed.”
Birds | Winner
What judge Megan Lorenz said: “The owl may not be impressed, but I am! The owl is sharp, showing wonderful detail in the feathers and eyes, and the soft background makes the subject stand out. The downward gaze draws me into the photo; these owls may be small but they mean business!”
Plants and Trees | Winner
What judge Ryan Tidman said: “This is a relatively common underwater shot, but very technical. The exposure is great.”
Winner | Up Close
What judge Ben Powless said: “I love the crispness of the eyes and individual hairs. This is one of those instances where macrophotography really opens up a new perspective, which I appreciate. The colours also really pop — another surprising detail. I like how the camera and photographer is just barely visible in the spider's eyes.”
Winner | Urban Wildlife
What judge Brittany Crossman said: “I love everything about this photograph: the angle, composition, colours, and the scene. Invertebrates are often overlooked; therefore, I like how they are the focus of this image, and not mammals or birds. These species are commonly seen in urban areas around marinas and wharves. I really enjoy seeing someone thinking outside the box, and highlighting urban wildlife that is under the water, out of sight for most.”
Winner | Young Photographers (17 and under)
Jan Przybylo, 14
What judge Dax Justin said: “What an amazing moment in time to capture. I love photos that profile interactions between wildlife and this is an exquisite capture.”