Chris Linder Photography - Science and Natural History Storytelling

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Great grey owlet © Chris Linder

Great grey owlet, Siberia

2015 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards

Winner, Birds Category

Great gray owls, the world’s largest species of owl by length, live in the Arctic boreal forest across North America and Eurasia. In early summer, great gray owl chicks leave their nests and spend several days on the forest floor before they can fly. I followed the raspy g’waik-g’waik calls of an encouraging parent to find this fledgling resting in a boggy meadow.

View the 2015 winning images on the Nature's Best website.


Reindeer herder © Chris Linder

Reindeer, Siberia

2014 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards

Highly Honored, Polar Passion category

The Evenks are a nomadic indigenous people of Northern Asia. During a winter visit to an Evenki community in the Siberian Arctic, I was honored to participate in various traditions. I photographed an Evenki family as they drove several hundred reindeer across frozen lakes and through the taiga forest. When an unusually large all-white male stepped out of the herd and fixed me with a stare, I made this portrait.


Arctic cotton-grass © Chris Linder

Arctic cotton grass, Siberia

2012 International Conservation Photography Awards

Honorable Mention, Flora category

Arctic cotton grass (Eriophorum callitrix) thrives in boggy tundra environments. In historical times, the Inuit used the fluffy white seed heads as wicks for seal oil lanterns and stuffing for diapers. It also serves as a food source for migrating animals such as snow geese and caribou. I positioned my wide-angle lens at ground level to isolate the backlit, glowing seed heads against a clear blue sky.


Duvannyi Yar © Chris Linder

Siberian permafrost thaw

2012 International Conservation Photography Awards

Honorable Mention, Natural Environment at Risk category

Since the last ice age, vast reserves of plant and animal matter have been locked up in frozen arctic soil, or permafrost. However, as temperatures rise, permafrost is thawing, and the gooey carbon-rich soil is becoming food for microbes. As they consume this ancient carbon, they respire methane and carbon dioxide, potent greenhouse gases. The amount of carbon stored in Arctic permafrost is estimated to be 1,500 gigatons—double what is currently in our atmosphere.


Saguaro cactus © Chris Linder

Saguaro cactus

2010 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

Highly Commended, In Praise of Plants category

The saguaro cactus is a treasured symbol of the American Southwest. In this photograph, I wanted to convey the feeling of awe I felt while walking among these stately giants. I positioned myself so that the rising moon was hidden behind one of the cactus's arms, giving it a halo. Use of a high ISO allowed me to keep the stars from blurring.


Moulin © Chris Linder

Moulin, Greenland Ice Sheet

2010 International Conservation Photography Awards

Honorable Mention, Natural Environment at Risk category

Greenland is home to the second largest ice sheet in the world. If this ice, which is over two miles thick at its center, were to melt, global sea level would rise by 7 meters. Satellite images have revealed a network of freshwater lakes forming--and rapidly disappearing--high on the ice sheet during the brief summer season. In July 2008 I joined a team of glaciologists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Washington studying these 'supraglacial lakes'. One afternoon, we came across this spectacular moulin, or hole in the ice, where there had been a lake the day before. Research has shown that when the lakes drain, the water lubricates the base of the ice, speeding its descent to the sea.


Roadkill © Chris Linder

Mule deer roadkill, Wyoming

2010 International Conservation Photography Awards

Honorable Mention, Natural Environment at Risk category

In May 2008, members of the International League of Conservation Photographers held a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) to bring attention to gas development in Wyoming's Upper Green River Valley. I focused my efforts on an area north of Pinedale known as Trapper's Point. This is where migrating pronghorn, antelope, and mule deer are funneled across a busy highway by housing developments, fences, and natural barriers. The result is often fatal.


Reindeer herder © Chris Linder

Reindeer herder, Siberia

2008 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards

Winner, Indigenous Cultures category

In March 2008, I traveled to the Siberian Arctic to document an international scientific expedition. On the way we visited two small communities on the Lena River north of the Arctic Circle. The Evenki indigenous people who live there subsist primarily through hunting, reindeer farming, and fishing. During our visit we were honored by an invitation to participate in a traditional reindeer roundup. It took eight hours—bouncing along on sleds pulled by ancient snowmobiles in subzero temperatures—to reach the herders' camp. The following morning, I photographed an Evenki family as they drove several hundred reindeer across frozen lakes and through taiga forest to a wooden-fenced corral. While the reindeer swirled in a giant vortex around the pen, one herder stretched out his arms in a gesture of appreciation for the spectacle.