Josiah makes history after being named Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year for the 2nd time

He’s done it again! On January 23, 2018, Josiah was named the 2017 Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year! This is the second time Josiah has received this distinction, which marks the first time any photographer has won a category twice in the history of the competition!

It is such an honour for Josiah to be recognized in this highly regarded competition that saw entries from photographers from more than 60 countries this year.

Josiah’s Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year winning image, “Ridgeline Sentinel” features a Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep ram standing atop a ridge to survey the valley below after a winter storm.

This is one of those images that didn’t come without a significant investment of time and energy (and discomfort!). Each year our family heads to south-central British Columbia to search out and photograph some of the resident Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep. After days of snow and extreme temperatures in the region, we were able to get out and search for sheep in an iconic winter scene.

Josiah enduring the cold and wind on his quest to find some rams to photograph in the snow. A little over an hour after this picture was taken, he spotted the ram that would result in his award winning image, “Ridgeline Sentinel”.

As brutal as the temperatures were that day, we had left even colder conditions in Alberta a few days before, so -25C windchill seemed almost tolerable. Of course, anything is tolerable for Josiah when bighorns are involved. Here’s the story behind “Ridgeline Sentinel” in his own words…

I love bighorns, and Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep are extra special because they are considered a species at risk. We had a harder time finding rams during our visit to their area this winter, but just as the light was beginning to fade I spotted this ram standing majestically on a high ridge. I was afraid I wouldn’t have time to get my camera on my tripod before the ram disappeared from view, so I leaned my camera against a solid support as I framed up my shot. I loved all the snow and sage brush and knew as soon as I put my camera to my eye that I wanted it to be a black and white image.

Josiah’s instincts for the composition of the image and his final presentation of it were spot on, even though initially he wanted to capture some rams in front of their stunning environment in the hills above the Thompson River Valley. The mix of extreme light and dark tones balanced by the greys of the sagebrush resulted in a classic black and white work.

We love the spectacular environments in which bighorn sheep live. Josiah often says that’s part of why bighorns are his favourite species to photograph. Here he is hiking through deep snow earlier in the day on his quest for another memorable bighorn image.

“Ridgeline Sentinel” will be published in the upcoming Outdoor Photographer of the Year Portfolio III book and is scheduled to be released as a large fine art Limited Edition print from Launstein Imagery in early 2018. Please contact us directly if you are interested in bringing this special image into your home or workplace.

Here’s a wonderful video introducing the category winners of the 2017 Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition, with commentary from some of the judging panel sharing what stood out for them in each of the winning images. You owe it to yourself to watch the whole thing, but if you’re pressed for time and focused on Josiah’s image, it shows up at the 5:40 mark. Enjoy!

PS If you haven’t gotten to know our young bighorn fanatic yet, learn more about Josiah and his photography!