People & Culture

Announcing the winners of the 2023 Canadian Photos of the Year competition

Canadian Geographic is proud to recognize 13 outstanding photographers who captured some of the best images of 2023

A long exposure enhances the drama of the 60-metre Kinuseo Falls, located in Monkman Provincial Park near Tumbler Ridge, B.C. (Photo: Brandon Broderick)
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A Canada lynx crouching on snow-dusted earth. A great blue heron plunging into a lake. Aurora borealis dancing across the sky. The winning images in Canadian Geographic’s 2023 Canadian Photos of the Year competition are a testament to the patience, dedication and skill that produce an unforgettable photo. Canadian Geographic is pleased to award Brandon Broderick of Tumbler Ridge, B.C., the grand prize of $5,000 and the title of Canadian Photographer of the Year. Read on to learn more about Broderick and see the images that most impressed our judges, Canadian Geographic Photographer-in-Residence Scott Forsyth, award-winning photographer Christian Fleury, Canadian Geographic director, brand and creative Javier Frutos, and the magazine’s editorial and design staff.

Canadian Photographer of the Year 2023

Brandon Broderick

A grizzly bear munches on clover on a foggy morning near Muncho Lake, B.C. (Photo: Brandon Broderick)
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After claiming runner-up in the “Epic Landscapes” category in last year’s competition, Brandon Broderick turned to his wife and made a resolution: “Next year, I want to win the whole thing.”

The 37-year-old, who originally hails from Windsor, Ont. but is now based in B.C., meant what he said. He spent the next year collecting as many shots as he could, with a focus on ethical wildlife photography. Broderick’s Tumbler Ridge surroundings offered chances to capture some of his favourite species, particularly the Canada lynx. Driving hundreds of kilometres down back roads along the Alaska Highway to the Yukon border proved most fruitful. “The cats are so much more relaxed out there.”

Some of Broderick’s most intimate encounters as a photographer have involved cats such as lynx and cougars. “They’re a challenge,” he says. “And, you know, cats are cats. They’re very entertaining to watch.”

Broderick recalls the moment a lynx fully relaxed with him, letting him accompany it as it walked down a powerline right of way, hunting voles. “Then it just laid down and had a nap right next to me,” he says.

A Canada lynx crouches on a snow-dusted ridge off the highway near Fort Nelson, B.C. (Photo: Brandon Broderick)
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The outdoors has long been important to Broderick, who spent his childhood wandering deer trails behind his house. Photography became a passion while he was studying fish and wildlife at college in Lindsay, Ont. At that time, Broderick took landscape photos with a three-megapixel Sony point-and-shoot. Since then, he has published three coffee table books on Northwest British Columbia and has gained a significant Instagram following. But Broderick says he isn’t satisfied yet. He hopes to start running grizzly bear photo tours in B.C. in the near future, and capture a dream shot or two — perhaps a polar bear or a wolverine. “I’m just gonna keep putting the miles in,” he says.  

Wildlife in Action

Winner: Liron Gertsman

A female pink salmon has completed its long journey from the ocean to its home river in central Vancouver Island to spawn — and perhaps become a meal for a hungry black bear. The photographer worked for three days to capture this split shot highlighting the relationship between these two keystone species. 

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Runner-up: Matt Parish

A common loon shakes water from its feathers as the sun rises over Mitchell Lake in Kirkfield, Ont. 

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Honourable mention: Shaun Antle

Water cascades over the eye of a great blue heron as it plunges its bill into Lake Chipican, near Sarnia, Ont. 

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Urban and Natural Landscapes

Winner: Aaron Ward

The rising sun shines through a gap between the horizon and a blanket of dark clouds, illuminating Vancouver’s Science World building. 

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Runner-up: Murray Cotton

The sun sets over the badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alta., a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its iconic hoodoos and abundance of dinosaur fossils. 

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Honourable mention: Bing Li

The Three Sisters mountains are reflected in a small lake at sunset in Canmore, Alta. 

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Outdoor Adventure

Winner: Alan McCord

A trio of surfers heads for shore, leaving the beach to the blackbirds as fog begins to roll in at Cox Bay in Tofino, B.C.

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Runner-up: Chandresh Kedhambadi

An ice climber scales the inside of a glacier cave on the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, Alta. Months later, the photographer returned to the area to find that this section of the glacier had disappeared. 

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Honourable mention: Sara Kempner

A racer takes on the Creeper Trail near Nanaimo, B.C. during the BC Bike Race, a seven-day, multi-stage mountain bike race. Dry trail conditions made for some atmospheric shots as the morning sun filtered through dust kicked up by the racers. 

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Weather, Seasons and Skies

Winner: Todd Mintz

Storm clouds gather over Powell Inlet on Devon Island, Nunavut. 

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Runner-up: Joel Waghela

A G3 geomagnetic storm produces a dazzling display of aurora borealis over dilapidated farm structures in Pense, Sask. The G-Scale is used to measure the intensity of geomagnetic storms, with G1 being the weakest and G5 the strongest. 

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Honourable mention: Braydon Morisseau

Alberta’s strongest tornado since the infamous 1987 Black Friday twister etches its mark on the landscape southeast of Didsbury on July 1, 2023, while a chase vehicle looks on.

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This story is from the March/April 2024 Issue

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