Bighorn Battle by Josiah Launstein

Josiah Launstein Named 2014 Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year

The biggest news in Josiah’s young life as a nature-photographer-in-the-making broke on January 14, 2015. At age 10, he had been named Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year (and was the youngest to have ever received this honour)! His winning image of two Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep rams doing battle was taken in Waterton Lakes National Park in SW Alberta, Canada in May, 2014.

In early January, Josiah learned that he had joined his dad and sister as a finalist in the 2014 Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition. Outdoor Photography magazine, based in the U.K., who puts on the competition each year, announced that the competition this year had received the largest number of entries ever, with more than 10,000 images submitted from around the globe. John (Josiah’s dad) had 7 images shortlisted, Jenaya (Josiah’s sister) had another 7 shortlisted, and Josiah one-upped them with 8 of his 10 submitted images selected for the final round, so the whole family was anxiously awaiting the results.

Then, in just the second week of the New Year, Josiah got an email with the news: the panel of judges had chosen his black and white image, “Bighorn Battle,” as the winning entry in the Under-18 division! Jenaya was also Commended with her image, “Salmon Swatter.”

Josiah and the entire Launstein Family are so excited for this recognition, and can’t wait to see what the coming year(s) bring as he pursues his photography with even greater dedication and increasing skill.

“Bighorn Battle” became Josiah’s first release as a fine art limited edition print, making its debut in August, 2015. Josiah will be teaming up with his dad on some Father-Son special collection releases, featuring matched sets of some of their favourite images made while photographing together.

The Story Behind “Bighorn Battle”

Every year the Launsteins get increasingly excited as the cold Alberta winter gives way to spring. While we are probably as ready as most Canadians for warmer temperatures, what really gets us excited is spring means four things above all to us: the emergence of local bears with cubs-of-the-year, the chance of photographing fox kits, the return of sorely-missed migrating birds, and a brief window of opportunity to photograph Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in decent numbers before they spread out deep into the mountains.

Josiah seems to have been infected by his dad’s immense affection for this species, and never misses an opportunity to go out searching for sheep in hopes of a great photo opp.

In February, 2014, Josiah and John found a small band of magnificent rams atop a windswept knoll in the Canadian Rockies and got some of their best sheep pictures to date. That got Josiah seriously back into sheep-photography-mode, and he began asking almost daily if they could head to the mountains to photograph them. Then, in late May, the entire family went for one of their weekly drives to nearby Waterton Lakes National Park, and caught glimpse of a large herd of sheep along the base of one of the mountains.

John, Jenaya and Josiah got their gear together and quietly headed up the slope when John noticed one of his favourite old rams bedded higher up. Just as he announced he was going for the big guys, the unmistakable sound of two rams head-butting each other at full-force echoed through the valley. Josiah and Jenaya opted for the action while their dad worked his way up for some portraits. It turned out to be a GREAT decision for Josiah!

With the evening light fading fast, Josiah changed his settings to try and capture the action that was unfolding in front of him. As two rams came together again, he squeezed off a shot, timing it perfectly to capture them at the moment of impact, with bits of hair and debris flying around them from the force of the hit.


To inquire about purchasing an Artist’s Proof or one of only 50 Limited-Edition Prints of this remarkable image, give us a call or simply fill out the inquiry form below, or of course visit us at our Wildlife Art Gallery in southwest Alberta to see “Bighorn Battle” in person!

To learn more about Josiah and his journey as a nature photographer, please drop by his bio page. You can also work through a short timeline of highlights in Josiah and his sisters’ journeys as a photographers on our About The Launstein Family page.

Finally, don’t forget you can follow Josiah’s and the rest of the Launsteins’ photographic adventures on Twitter @LaunsteinFamily and subscribe to our newsletter below!

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