The National Wildlife Federation

Donate Donate

Photos of the Week: California Wildlife

  • NWF Staff
  • PhotoZone
  • Feb 13, 2017

Check out some of our favorite photos from past National Wildlife photo contests. Each week we'll celebrate nature and wildlife from a different state. This week we're featuring California wildlife!

Nature photographer Barry Rowan photographed this "wild bobcat kitten exploring and practicing its climbing skills while its mother was off hunting" in Santa Barbara, California using a Canon 7D with a 300mm f/2.8 lens. Read National Wildlife's Survivor and Ranger Rick's Bobcats.

Nature and Wildlife photographer Pat Ulrich made this image of a California quail at Point Reyes National Seashore. He writes, "California quails are typically secretive birds and it's not always easy to find them out in the open most of the year. But in the late spring and early summer, the males become much more conspicuous as they try to attract a mate." The California resident used a Nikon D90 with a 200-500mm lens on a tripod. 

Photographer Judith Sparhawk took this photo at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California, writing even though this moment was fleeting, she was pleasantly surprised to have been able to capture the moment this pollen-laden bee passed by. The California resident used a Canon Rebel XTi with a 74-300mm lens. 

Wildlife photographer Sean Crane writes, "Griffith Park is in the middle of Los Angeles. It is hard to believe such wildlife lives within the city, but I captured these two very healthy looking coyotes early one morning while passing through the park." The New York resident used a Nikon D300 with a 200-400mm lens. Read National Wildlife's Coyote Nation.

Bird Photographer Andy Nguyen made this image of an American avocet "on a rare completely windless afternoon" in the wetlands at California's San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. To get this shot, Nguyen "laid completely flat in the mud and patiently waited for them to come closer." The Florida resident used a Nikon D300 with a 300mm lens and 1.7x teleconverter. Read NWF's Blog post, Why Chicks Need Potholes.

Landscape photographer Carr Clifton shot this scene of a mudpan in California's Death Valley National Park using a Toyo 45A Field View 4x5 camera. He writes, "Beauty in the desert, Death Valley is another geological wonder and with the right light and weather conditions, you can maximize photo opportunities."

Photographer Antonio Busiello took this picture at the Channel Islands in California. He writes, "I'm fascinated by sea lions, they are so elegant in the water, and it is beautiful looking at them swimming in the kelp forest." The California resident used a Nikon D200 with a 12-24mm f/2.8 lens. Read National Wildlife's Exploring the Sensory Lives of Sea Lions.

California bird photographer Mike Anderson made this image of a chestnut-backed chickadee taking flight at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California using a Nikon D4 with a 200-400mm f/8 lens and a 1.4x teleconverter on a tripod.

Wildlife photographer Sean Crane was "photographing elephant seals just north of San Simeon, California. The mothers had just given birth to their pups, and I was getting a lot of shots of the motherly interactions when this Brewer's blackbird came into my shot. I got this one picture before the bird moved on." The New York resident used a Nikon D300 with a 200-400 mm f/4 lens. Read Ranger Rick's Elephant Seals.

Travel and landscape photographer Cherina Hadley made this image just as there was a "break in the clouds and rain and this tule elk basked in the momentary sunlight in Point Reyes National Seashore, California." The Australian resident used a Canon 7D with a 70-200mm lens.

Photographer Brian Clopp shot this image of "An Allen's hummingbird perched on a branch, perfectly camouflaged with surrounding flowers at Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, California." The California resident used a Canon Rebel T3i.

Wildlife photographer Bill Klipp writes, "Hiking on San Esteban Island in Baja California, we slowly approached this spiny tailed iguana, who didn't seem to be bothered by our presence as he leaped from one cardon cactus to another. As he sat upon the highest cactus, I prepared for his next leap. As he rose up to jump I hit the shutter release for a stream of 10 photos per second." The Florida resident used a Nikon D4 with a 200-4000mm f/9 lens, stacking the first 6 images to create this composite. 

Photographer Beverly Houwing "Took a long exposure (about 2 hours) and got Polaris right above a tree in California's Joshua Tree National Park. The trees in the distance are back-lit by the nearby cities of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree." The California resident used a Canon 5D Mark II camera.

David Windsor writes, "My yard is graced with quite a few chipmunks that provide infinite amusement with their scurrying antics. This one appeared to be waiting for me to drop some food." The California resident made this image in his backyard habitat using a Nikon D300 with a 80-400mm lens. Read National Wildlife's Chipmunks: More Than Cute.

Elena Northroup photographed the "pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, California, and the beautiful boulders that have laid here since there was a glacial ice." The California resident used a Canon EOD 7D camera.

Conservation photographer Sebastian Kennerknecht made this image of a mountain lion in Monterey Bay, California using a Canon 30D with a 10-22mm lens in customized housing and triggering system. He writes, "Mountain lions stay about two years with their mother before they leave the safety she provides to look for their own territory. Many individuals will cross hundreds of miles before they find a large enough area that is suitable habitat." Read National Wildlife's The Ultimate Urban Cat.

Frank Deckert took photos of exposed sea anemones in Old San Simeon, California, at low tide using a Sony DSC-H5 camera.

Nature photographer Sebastian Kennerknecht writes, "I had the amazing opportunity to photograph this sea otter mom and pup for three month. It was amazing to see the pup grow and learn to be more independent. The California resident used a Canon 30D with a 500mm lens and 1.4x teleconverter. Read Ranger Rick's Floating Through Life.

Photographer Jim Shoemaker made this image "one February at sunrise in Yosemite National Park, when the sun was just breaking the horizon and long before it cleared the canyon wall." The California resident used a Canon 20D with a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens on a tripod.

Nature photographer Ira Estin made this award winning image, 'Foggy Valley View,' in Yosemite National Park. He writes, "I happened to be in Yosemite Valley very late on a warm winter day as the sun set over El Capitan. As the warm air cooled off, a heavy fog settled in the valley. The rising moon added the final touches to this magical scene." The California resident used a Nikon D200 camera.

More from the National Wildlife Federation:

About NWF's California Affiliate, Planning and Conservation League »
NWF's Work in California »
NWF Blogs about California Wildlife »
Planning and Conservation League's Facebook Page »
Find a Park: California »
Nature's Witnesses: Powerful images of wilderness can inspire conservation ».
Nature and Wildlife Photography Tips Center »

Get Involved

   Please leave this field empty

Happening Near You

You don't have to travel far to join us for an event. Attend an upcoming event with one of our regional centers or affiliates.

Learn More