South Okanagan man's photos to be featured in Canadian Geographic calendars | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan man's photos to be featured in Canadian Geographic calendars

These two photos captured by Curtis Zutz will be featured in upcoming editions of the Canadian Geographic calendar.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Curtis Zutz

A South Okanagan wildlife photographer is getting two of his shots featured in two separate calendars to be published by Canadian Geographic.

Curtis Zutz is a retiree from Willowbrook who loves snapping photos of birds. He lives on a large property near Secrest Hill, and he minimizes the amount of pesticide use to make it an inviting area for wildlife.

“So there’s lots of bugs and lots of food for the birds,” he said.

There’s an area near Zutz’s home where dragonflies like to snack on smaller insects, which makes it a good place to find waxwings snacking on dragonflies. It happens in the middle of every summer while waxwings are raising their fledglings.

“They just start gorging on these dragonflies," he said.

A Waxwing is making a meal out of a dragonfly.
A Waxwing is making a meal out of a dragonfly.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Curtis Zutz

After catching a dragonfly midair, the waxwings like to find somewhere to rest to enjoy the meal.

“This particular bird landed on that spot,” Zutz said about one of his winning photos.

“I didn’t even see the cobweb until I looked at it on my computer.”

A Stellar Jay preparing for takeoff.
A Stellar Jay preparing for takeoff.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Curtis Zutz

His other winning photo was of the moment a Stellar's jay took off from pine tree. While watching his subject resting on the tree, he noticed a second jay fly into his yard. The first jay, upon noticing the other one, took off to join its friend, and that was the moment Zutz captured it.

“Pure luck you’re getting it like that, that’s not a planned shot,” he said.

READ MORE: Three main types of hummingbird may be spotted at your feeder, says Okanagan birdwatcher

However, Zutz was prepared with a fast shutter speed on his camera settings – otherwise the flapping wings would have appeared as a blur.

And he feels fortunate to be able to cut his teeth in photography during the digital era, because the cost of film made it prohibitive to practice as much as he does.

“For every good picture you get you’re throwing 500 away, I don’t know how the guys in the days of film did it. And back then it was all manual focus. I have a huge respect for them.”

Zutz submitted the photos to be considered by Canadian Geographic in their annual bird-themed calendars, and recently learned that they were both selected. The Stellar's jay photo is part of the 2023 calendars are the waxwing will be featured in 2024.

The 2023 editions are available for purchase through the Calendar Club website for $21.99 plus tax and shipping. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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