Nature, first prize stories
Gros Ventre Wilderness, Wyoming, USA
A camera trap set up at the mouth of a cave captures a female cougar and her cub seeking refuge from the cold.
Cougars, once in decline, have for the past 40 years been making a comeback across the western United States—though they remain extremely elusive. The cats are protected in California and Florida, but prized game in 13 other states. The success of the recovery in cougar numbers depends in part on where the public will tolerate them, and on strategies for dealing with the difficulties of interaction between humans and cougars in populated regions.
for National Geographic
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About the photographer
American photographer Steve Winter started taking photos as a child while growing up in rural Indiana. After graduating from the Academy of Art and the University of San Francisco, Winter signed on as a photojournalist for Black Star Photo Agency. Since then, he has produced stories for GEO, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Natural History, Audubon, BusinessWeek, Scientific American, and Stern, among other publications.
He became a National Geographic photojournalist in 1991. Since then, he has covered many subjects for the magazine, including Cuba, Russia's giant Kamchatka bears, tigers in Myanmar's Hukawng Valley, and life along Myanmar's Irrawaddy River.
Winter has been named BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and BBC Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year. He was a two-time winner of Picture of the Year International’s Global Vision Award and twice won the first prize in the nature category from World Press Photo.
In November 2013, National Geographic published his photography book Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Cat, with text written by Sharon Guynup and co-sponsored by Panthera, the world's leader in Big Cat Conservation. Winter currently lives with his wife, son, and pets in New Jersey, USA.