Aim and shoot. It may seem simple to a novice in the world of photography, but anyone who has tried to capture the right image on a cell phone knows that is not true.

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Paula Glaser did not have to delete when she captured a stunning image of a mountain lion in Utah showing its feline prowess in a simple jump.

The photo, called “Leap of Faith,” was among entries submitted to The Nature Conservancy’s global contest last year aimed at promoting and celebrating nature that is all around us, the threats to the environment and the reason to be good stewards of the only place we can call home. It did not win, but it reminds you of something outside yourself.

In 2022, the competition had the largest global participation ever, with entries from 196 different countries and territories across six different categories. Winning images were selected by a panel of judges that included renowned conservation photographer Ami Vitale and Coyote Peterson, host of YouTube’s Brave Wilderness.

From more than 100,000 entries, the contest’s winning photo featured a drone’s eye view of a lonely highway in Tibet, bordered on each side by gullies extending outward in the shape of a tree. It was taken by photographer Li Ping in China, who slept in a roadside parking lot overnight to get this striking early morning shot.

The contest is expanding this year and offers another opportunity for photographers in Utah and the West to get in on the action for cash awards of more than $25,000. This is the way to enter.

Last year put the world and nature on stage through the eye of the camera and the person behind it.

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“The diversity of images from around the world gave a glimpse into our fragile planet and all the life that inhabits it,” said judge Ami Vitale. “The contest itself was a mesmerizing odyssey and we are left with a profound message of how interconnected all of us are and what it means to our own survival to intermingle with wildness.”    

The Nature Conservancy is active in Utah and a vital part of protecting Great Salt Lake wetlands and other vital landscapes, such as the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.

New wetlands project near Great Salt Lake is nature’s great cleanser

The organization captures attention with boots on the ground conservation, outreach and of course, this contest.

“These incredible images from talented photographers all over the world remind us how connected we are to each other and to this beautiful planet, and at the same time of the challenges we face,” said Meg Goldthwaite, chief marketing and communications officer for The Nature Conservancy. “It energizes us as we work to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends, so that future generations can enjoy the same natural wonders depicted in these amazing photos.”

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