The Blue Heron, the garter snake, and the shrew.
The California Legislature honored Joshua Asel of Sebastopol as Wildlife Photographer of the year 2017. His wildlife photo of the year shows a great Blue Heron, a garter snake, and a shrew in a defining life and death struggle between the three species.
The photo shows a magnificent California great blue heron that has snatched a garter snake from the grass and is holding it in a death grip. Writhing in pain, the garter snake spits out a shrew it had swallowed moments before. The diversionary maneuver may have saved the shrew. We cannot tell from the picture.
The wildlife photo of the year deserves the honors. Not because of the individual actors but because it captures a crucial, defining moment in the life of each. The timing of the photo is perfect.
Asel encountered this once in a lifetime moment while strolling along a beach near Bodega Head at Bodega Bay. When he turned around, he saw, and captured the moment.
Wildlife Photo of the Year photographer Joshua Asel
Asel obviously spent countless hours observing wildlife to capture such a unique moment. Indeed, Joshua Asel founded and is directing the conservation group Wild Expectations. The group wants to “ensure a positive future for California’s ecosystems by sharing its wildlife through multimedia driven resources for public education.”
The declaration of Asel’s photo “Wildlife Photo of the Year” states:
“The photography of Joshua Asel illustrates the beauty and vital importance of California’s wildlife and natural environments, and he serves as a worthy model for all aspiring environmental stewards”.
Whether you agree with this statement or not, the photo is an impressive depiction of the everyday struggles all wildlife faces in our environment.
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