Two of the world's best nature photographers are from Burnaby, B.C.
Award-winning photographers Connor Stefanison and Jess Findlay got start shooting wildlife around Burnaby Lake
When Jess Findlay was 11 years old, his family moved into a new home in Burnaby, B.C.
He now lived two houses down from his future best friend, Connor Stefanison. The pair grew up doing everything together: skiing, hiking, mountain biking — and shooting award-winning photographs.
Findlay and Stefanison took on photography as a hobby when they were in highschool, and their skills have since taken them around the world. They've shot everywhere from Scandinavia to the Andes — and recently made the trip to D.C. to watch their photos become inducted into the exhibition.
"You never assume that any pictures are going to be shown on this sort of scale," said Findlay. "We've both really enjoyed sharing our images ... having an image that can go on to do big things and be shown to millions of people that enter the Smithsonian, and potentially impact the way that they see wildlife ... it's amazing."
Sleepy sea otter
Each shooter has one photo featured in the exhibition. For Findlay, his prized snapshot of a sleeping sea otter in Alaska's Kachemak Bay will be on full display for nearly a year.
He says he came across the creature after he kayaked into a small, secluded cove. He shot several hundred photos before he captured the image he'd been waiting for..
"The shot that I really envisioned was when their fur is really fluffed up," he said. "The pose that I captured I thought was something special."
Connor Stefanison spent days hiking alone in the Norwegian back country, carrying a heavy load of camping and camera gear.
"It was really quite a tough trip, there was a lot of walking. I think I was averaging 20 kilometres a day trying to find [them]," said Stefanison.
He had to forego one his longest lenses to keep the load as light as possible — so he had to get close to get the shots he wanted.
"I got bluff charged a few times by a muskox — it's really quite nerve-racking."
Click here to listen to listen to their full interview on CBC's North by Northwest and hear more about their travels.