Martin Gregus Jr., a student in Capilano University’s Documentary program, recently received an award in the prestigious GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. His image entitled Final Performance – selected as the runner-up in the Man and Nature category – captures a crowd around a beached humpback whale that died on a White Rock beach in June 2012.

Read Martin’s account of what happened the day he took his award-winning photo and his reaction to the announcement of the award in this Huffington Post article.

This was not the first award for Gregus despite being only 17. In 2010, his image “Crane Perfection” was the winner in the 11-14 age category at the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in London, UK following a special commendation for his “White on Blue” image in 2008 when he was just 11 years old. Martin’s “Infinity Flight” received an honourable mention in the Spirit of Flight Photography Exhibit at the Seattle Museum of Flight in 2009.

Martin is collaborating with his father Martin Gregus Sr., also a photographer, on “Thank You Canada”, a tour, book and exhibition project as part of the celebrations for Canada’s 150th Anniversary in 2017.

He is also working on a personal book project, Where Eagles Dare that branched off from his Snowy Owl story published in the Vancouver Sun last year. “I knew I wanted to document another great migration, and this project follows the lives of the salmon and eagles which gather in great numbers in and around Squamish and Harrison each year.”

In between winning awards, undertaking projects and capturing images and stories for his websites (links below), Martin is currently enrolled in the first year of Capilano University’s Documentary program, “because it touches on the other big part of my photography which is documentary street photography,” he remarked. “It is in this field that you really get to test yourself since anyone can photograph an animal but very few people can capture the spirit and character of a person in a still image. I wanted to expand this and start creating moving images of people and nature.”

His award-winning shot depicting a rare and emotional interaction between humans and nature certainly fits the bill. “This is why this award was such big news because up until now I only got rewarded for my wildlife photography; this was something a little different.”

No doubt more photography and documentary film awards are in Martin’s future.

To view some of Martin’s work, check out his websites: www.matkopictures.com and www.martingregusjr.com

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