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Wildlife Photo Winners

Douglas Croft's photograph of a Humpback Whale breaching earned the grand prize in the 2018 California Wildlife Photo of the Year Contest

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Douglas Croft's photograph of a Humpback Whale breaching earned the grand prize in the 2018 California Wildlife Photo of the Year Contest. In this spectacular display of athletic prowess, the whale dove beneath the surface for a few seconds or minutes only to surface vertically with great speed. Often these 45-foot, 40-ton animals will twist while in mid-air and then come crashing down with a thunderous splash. Getting a good breach photo requires skill and experience. A dedicated marine mammal photographer, Douglas scores high in both categories. The yearlong contest is presented by California Watchable Wildlife and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's magazine, Outdoor California, and sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and Out of This World Optics.


On January 28, 2019, Douglas joined his state senator, Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), on the floor of the State Senate, where he received a Proclamation honoring his photograph. The top eight images from the 2018 contest were part of a week-long display, February 25 through March 1, 2019, at the State Capitol outside the Governor's Office. The photographs included all of the year's top finishers and special honorable mentions selected by representatives from Sierra Nevada Conservancy and California Watchable Wildlife. Currently in its eighth year, the photos are submitted bi-monthly. During each submission period, three winning images – first place and honorable mentions for California Watchable Wildlife and Sierra Nevada Conservancy – are selected by our three judges. At the end of the year, the top three winners are chosen.

We would love to see Outdoor Writers Association of California photographers in the winners circle!

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