It was two or three years ago when Okanagan resident Curtis Zutz was introduced to photography by a friend while traveling through Africa. Now, he’s the winner of one of the biggest annual photography contests in British Columbia.
Zutz was notified a few days ago by a BC SPCA representative that his shot of a bird munching on a berry near Oliver had won the “backyard habitats” photo category of the organization’s Wildlife-In-Focus contest.
The annual contest lets photographers showcase their best pictures throughout British Columbia and helps to raise thousands of dollars for the organization’s rehabilitation centre for injured animals on Vancouver Island. Almost $17,000 was raised this year.
Zutz’s shot beat out 640 other submissions by photographers across the country who submitted their photos during the three-month competition across two prize categories.
Zutz said that everything seemed to fall in place during the award-winning shot, which was taken right beside his place on some crown property.
“I was standing in the shadows and camouflaged in so the birds wouldn’t see me. I was waiting and all of a sudden this Waxwing flew into a Saskatoon bush and grabbed this berry,” said Zutz, who lives in Oliver.
“I whipped six really quick shots. The light setting on my camera matched the shot perfectly.”
The win came as a surprise to Zutz, who thought the contest had wrapped up a long time after his submission had been made.
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The results are in! The BC SPCA’s 11th annual Wildlife-In-Focus photography contest winners are:⠀ ⠀ Backyard Habitats⠀ 1st – Curtis Zutz, Oliver – Cedar waxwing⠀ 2nd – Patricia Irvine, Duncan – Raccoon⠀ 3rd – Jordan Blackstone, Qualicum Beach – Hummingbird⠀ ⠀ Wild Settings⠀ 1st – Elle Ambrosi, Prince George – Coyote⠀ 2nd – Maja Lakhani, Coquitlam – Black bears⠀ 3rd – Arsalan Butt, Surrey – Short-eared owl⠀ ⠀ People’s Choice Award⠀ Michelle Obre, 150 Mile House – LynxTo be notified the moment we open next year's contest, visit the link in our bio! #BCSPCA #photography #wildlife #nature
Despite the surprise, Zutz has said that the win will serve as a confidence booster for his photography skills.
“It definitely helps your confidence. You do this everyday, and you think all of your photos might be garbage. I have a Facebook page for just my pictures,” he said.
“You get comments, but you don’t really know how your doing in the scheme of things. Some days its good and some it isn’t.”
Zutz plans to continue taking shots in retirement during his excursion to Cabo San Lucas this winter. He will also be travelling to Peru and eastern Amazon later next year before he goes on a photography trip with National Geographic to the Galapagos Islands next June.
The win also means Zuch’s shot will now be featured in the Spring 2019 AnimalSense magazine, a bi-annual publication created by the BC SPCA and distributed to organization supporters and other animal welfare organizations.
Next year’s contest will open up to photographers in July 1.