“Fishing The Kulik” Wins Photo Contest

If  you’re not familiar with Cowboys & Indians Magazine® , it is the premier magazine of the West, highlighting western and ranch life and the people and places that make up that special part of theCowboys & Indians Magazine American West. It typically features one cover personality that is prominent in western film, literature or history along with other articles and stories for those who have an appreciation of western lore, wildlife, scenery, architecture, music and even poetry. Once each year, the focus is on some of the most interesting and high-quality photography of the West that can be found anywhere in one place.

Every year since 2004, I’ve entered the magazine’s annual “Photographing The West” contest.  I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of my images make it to the final selections and get published in the March special photography edition.  And,  I was very pleased to win the Landscape category in 2009 for my “Old Prairie Church” (1/24/2011 Blog post).

So I’m was really excited again to hear that I won this year’s Wildlife category with “Fishing The Kulik”.  It  is one of my favorites of the many bear shots from last fall’s trip with my friend, John DuBois, to the Katmai National Park in Alaska. It was taken along the Kulik River during the short period when the grizzlies fish for Salmon in the river.  This guy had just surfaced (without the fish he was trying to catch), about 25 yards from the boat.  I used my new Nikon D800 and 70-200mm telephoto lens with a 1.7 teleconverter, shot at 270mm.  In this type of setting, I usualy fire a burst of 3 to 5 shots (low speed continuous).  This happened to be the only one where his eyes were directly on me, with the water streaming from his face.  He was already unhappy to have missed his fish, but then to see me nearby rattling the shutter resulted in this pretty menacing look.

I’ve looked at all the entries, and especially the other winners, and have realized how really good these photographers really are. Some are professional, most are amateur, and a few are amazing budding young artists that still can’t drive. But when you look at the quality of this collection of work, and if you have any love for the American West and an appreciation for really good photography, this March issue is one to check out, either online or at the magazine section (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon til mid-February).

Cowboys & Indians Magazine


  1. Most incredible photo – should have been the overall winner!

  2. Amazing image. You have a gift to be able to capture with your camera what most of us miss with our eyes!!

  3. Thanks for the heads up, Jim. Gorgeous shot and 25 yards isn’t that far considering how fast those big guys can run!! Do they give awards for bravery, too???

  4. Harvey Van Andel

    Amazing photography. You certainly deserve a first place for this picture. Thanks for allowing me to respond.

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