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People & Culture

12 Canadian photographers share the nature they love

We asked some of Canada’s most accomplished photographers why they dedicate their time to capturing images of nature. Here’s what they said.

  • Jun 24, 2019
  • 4,878 words
  • 20 minutes
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Canada’s biodiversity is a cornerstone of our way of life. Now more than ever, we have to come together to protect our nature. People protect what they love, which is why Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is hosting the #OurNature photo contest, a celebration of Canada’s biodiversity. Enter before June 30, 2019 by sharing a photo of the nature you love on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #OurNature and tagging @canenvironment, and you could win a Parks Canada Discovery Pass!

Click here for full details and contest rules

To help inspire our readers, we asked 12 of Canada’s most accomplished photographers — many of whom have contributed work to the pages of Canadian Geographic and its associated publications — to share a favourite image and briefly explain why they dedicate their time to capturing images of nature. Here’s what they said. 

Michelle Valberg, Canadian Geographic Photographer-in-Residence

“My whole world changed when I stood on the floe edge and discovered Canada’s Arctic. It became my mission to bring the north to the south and showcase the beauty and wonder of this magical place in Canada. As Canadians, we have the most diverse and beautiful country in the world. It is my hope as a visual storyteller that showcasing Canada will inspire people to take better care of their planet and spend more time exploring this great country we live in.”


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See some of Michelle Valberg’s recent work for Canadian Geographic 

Zach Baranowski

“Flying high over the Thousand Islands last summer, I was able to get a broader view of a region that is thought to be one of the most biologically diverse in North America. Every ecosystem in Canada plays a vital role in maintaining an environmental balance across the country and around the world, a balance which we depend on for our survival. That’s why I think it’s important to celebrate and support our natural heritage and work to bring awareness to the significance of the environment around us.”


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See more of Zach Baranowski’s photos from the Thousand Islands 

Paul Zizka

“I love that I’m able to combine two of my greatest passions, photography and climbing, to showcase the scale and magic of the mountains. For me, the Rockies are the ultimate playground, with so much to explore and ever-changing conditions. Being able to share the beauty of these places with others and show them what’s out there is a great reward for me.”


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See some of Paul Zizka’s recent work for Canadian Geographic 

Jennifer Fast

“This photo was taken during sunrise at Two Jack Lake, located about 11 kilometres outside of the town of Banff in the Canadian Rockies. A soft fog hovered just above the lake, and Mount Rundle came alive as the morning light shone on its peaks. Capturing the miracle that is Canada’s natural beauty is important to me because I am blessed to live in this incredibly scenic part of the world and feel the pull to share this splendor with others. My goal is to share the importance of preserving these parks so that generations can continue to enjoy their beauty for years to come.”


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See images from Jennifer Fast’s National Magazine Award-nominated photo essay on the Calgary Stampede 

Todd Mintz

“Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan was created to preserve the grasslands habitat, which has been nearly wiped out. In so doing, they have been able to re-establish native species like the plains bison shown in this image. Grasslands is a very special place for me. You never know what you might see on your hikes in the park; I have often said it is like going on a prairie safari.”


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Jake Graham

“This picturesque freshwater fjord in Newfoundland‘s Gros Morne National Park has two-thousand-foot walls of some of the world’s oldest rock, carved away by massive ancient glaciers. I love Gros Morne because it has lots in common with Norway and California’s Yosemite National Park, but it’s in Canada! I dedicate my time to capturing Canadian nature and wildlife because we have one of the most beautiful countries on the planet, and I believe we need to protect these wild and unique places indefinitely.”



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See Jake Graham’s photos of Galiano Island, B.C. for Canadian Geographic Travel 

John E. Marriott

“This is Spirit, the alpha male of the Pipestone wolf pack which dominated the Bow Valley in Banff National Park from 2008-2015. Banff National Park is our flagship national park in Canada and wolves, more than any other species, symbolize the wildness of this park for me. I dedicate my time and energy to help give our wildlife a voice. I think we have some of the best nature on the planet and I love to showcase that and tell the stories, both good and bad, of the diverse range of species found here.”


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Read more about John E. Marriott’s journey to becoming a published wildlife photographer

Matt Jacques

“I captured this image on the open tundra near Vuntut National Park in Yukon’s remote arctic ‘North Slope’ region. I’d journeyed there in 2016 with fellow photographer Peter Mather in hopes of encountering the 200,000 strong Porcupine caribou herd as they made their annual summer migration from their calving grounds along the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The herd is the only barren ground caribou herd across the north that isn’t in steep decline, but their future is uncertain with proposed development in their calving grounds. This was my first photographic adventure in such a wild and remote place, and witnessing the migration sparked an enduring passion for wildlife conservation. I think photography can be a powerful tool to both explore and shape our relationship with Canada’s remaining wild places and species.”


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Angela Gzowski

“The community of Tuktoyaktuk, located in the Northwest Territories, has a very brief but breathtaking fall. This photo was taken at the Pingo Canadian Landmark, where the historic site protects a unique arctic landform: ice-cored hills called pingos. Pingos have acted as navigational aids for Inuvialuit travelling by land and water. They are perfect for spotting caribou on the tundra or whales offshore.”


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 See Angela Gzowski’s photos of life inside the Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve

David Coulson

“Extending 40 kilometres into Lake Erie, the Long Point Peninsula is the longest freshwater sandspit in the world. It’s an incredible place: a rich mosaic of beaches, dunes, marshes and forest, where hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, such as these sanderlings, pass through every spring and fall. In this peninsula, we share a home with thousands of birds, butterflies and wildlife visiting from across the globe! When I visit Long Point, I’m reminded of how lucky we are in Canada to live with and share in such diverse, spectacular and accessible natural areas. However, I think these spaces are becoming increasingly rare, and if not valued and protected, they are bound to disappear. This is in part why I turned to photography as a tool for conservation. It is my hope that through images and storytelling, I can connect people with and encourage appreciation of our Canadian natural heritage, but also reveal it for what it really is: our shared home.” 


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Nick Hawkins

“A curious grey seal peers into my camera while diving on the American Bank, Bancs-des-Américains, one of Canada’s newest marine protected areas. This intelligent marine mammal never tired of playfully tugging at my fins or swimming circles around me as I strained to keep him in the viewfinder. At times he would pause for a careful inspection; perhaps he was wondering what something so clumsy and out of place was doing in his ocean. Oceans are my passion, and it’s been my privilege to travel to some of Canada’s most unique marine habitats and share these places, and the species they hold, with other Canadians. Protecting special areas like this ensures that marine life has a place to thrive, and our oceans remain healthy and productive for generations to come.”


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See some of Nick Hawkins’ photos from protected islands along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia

Austin MacKay

“I remember the feeling I had after we finished dinner on an overcast day in Riding Mountain National Park, only to see the clouds begin to disappear and the sky light up. We rushed out of the house and headed to one of my favourite spots just in time for the sunset. Riding Mountain National Park is important to me because it’s like a second home; its focus on preserving nature rewards those who get to experience it.”


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