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How I got the shotShowcase

2023 Showcase Winner: Brennon Hensley

By May 2, 2023No Comments
Please ... Help!, Saint Paul Island, Alaska, 2023 Showcase Judges' Choice, Conservation © Brennon Hensley

Please … Help!, Saint Paul Island, Alaska, 2023 Showcase Judges’ Choice, Conservation © Brennon Hensley

Judges’ Choice: Conservation

Why is this photo special?

I spotted this seal along with my guide on the island. We were on one last morning hike before my plane was set to arrive to fly me out. After hiking up the edge of a cliff, I looked down below toward the water and noticed a lone seal sitting on the rocks. I paused for a moment after realizing that the seal was injured. I used my camera’s lens to investigate further and noticed a blue netting with rope that appeared to lacerate the skin. My guide and I discussed options to help, but quickly realized there simply was no way to access the seal. I captured this photo because I felt otherwise useless to this poor seal. “If the photo can raise awareness to help prevent this from happening again, at least it’s something,” I thought.

This photo was taken while laying down on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bering Sea. It was quite windy, so I had to lay down with my lens hanging off the cliff, pushing tall grass from it’s view. It was very hard to look at this seal knowing I would not be able to physically help, but I wanted to make sure that it’s suffering wasn’t lost to the world.

The technical stuff

This photo was taken using the Nikon D850 with a 600mm f/4 lens.

About me

I am based in the Pacific Northwest, currently traveling fulltime. I am an amateur wildlife photographer working to turn it into a career. I’ve been practicing wildlife photography for a decade, honing my skills in the field. I started taking photos in my hometown of Hollis, Oklahoma. I’ve worked as a wildlife rehabilitator and a registered veterinary nurse and have used the skills I’ve gained in both professions to aide me in my photography.

I became interested in wildlife photography as a kid watching the National Geographic channel. Always interested in the wildlife-centric shows, I had a desire to travel to the far reaches of the Earth and capture images of animals that most people would not be able to see. I’ve recently been mentored by Tin Man Lee, an outstanding wildlife photographer and teacher, who helped develop my skills to what they are now.

I’ve only been a NANPA member for a year. The 2023 showcase was the first  photography competition I’ve ever entered.

Memorable moments

My most memorable moment in photography so far is winning the Judge’s Choice Award with this photo. It means so much to me to raise awareness toward the suffering that humans inadvertently cause with our own creations. It may bring on negative emotions, but it’s important not to disconnect from the animals we live amongst on this Earth.

Instagram: @brennonhensleyphoto
Vero: @brennonhensley
Website (Work In Progress):

See all of the Top 26 winning images from NANPA’s 2023 Showcase nature photography competition.

Top 26

See all of the Top 250 images from the 2023 Showcase competition in the 2023 edition of  NANPA’s Expressions journal.