Heupel image wins national award

FREDERICKSBURG nature and wildlife photographer Jim Heupel holds a framed print for which he was recognized by the North American Nature Photography Association.

Jim Heupel, local nature and wildlife photographer, was notified that his image “Stormy Seas, A Mother’s Touch” was selected as a “Showcase” winner in the North American Nature Photography Association’s 2014 juried competition.

The image shows a mother walrus on a rocky island outcrop, surrounded by stormy seas, with her flipper appearing to calm a walrus pup while last year’s pup looks on.

Heupel took the photograph last September, some 600 miles below the North Pole at the northern edge of the Svalbard Archipelago while on an international photo expedition to photograph polar bears.

“I like to show wildlife in action or exhibiting some type of character,” Heupel said. “This image really was touching to me, personally. The photograph was especially difficult to get as the rubber zodiac I was in was bobbing quite a bit in the same heavy seas.”

As a Showcase winner, the image was selected in the top 100 of some 2,400 images submitted in the competition. It will be printed in the association’s journal Expressions and shown on the association’s web site at various times. Several of his images are previous Showcase winners.

Two other Heupel images were selected in the competition as semi-finalists in the competition: “Loggerhead,” which shows a grizzly bear draped over a driftwood log on a beach, and “Ah, My Nails, How Beautiful,” which shows a grizzly bear laying on its back, lazily examining the long nails on its left paw.

Both images were taken last August in Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

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