SFU shutterbug scores winning stamp

July 22, 2010

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By Julie Ovenell-Carter

Talk about a bird in the hand.

Martin Cooper’s intimate shot of a Great Blue Heron at rest in Burnaby’s Gray Creek, which earned top prize in the bird category in Canadian Geographic magazine’s 2009 annual wildlife photography contest, is now on a Canada Post stamp.
 Cooper, an arts and social sciences faculty computer technician, has been photographing urban wildlife for more than 20 years.  

He came to Canada from the UK five years ago and was delighted to discover that “Canada still has wildlife.” He often rises at dawn to wander nearby trails and riverside parks to capture candid shots of local critters such as coyotes, beavers, herons, owls and raccoons. 

Early-morning risers on his walkabouts call him “the coyote man” because the normally elusive animals have become so accustomed to his presence they are willing photo subjects.

Cooper’s $1,000 prize-winning heron shot was chosen from more than 6,400 entries in five categories in last year’s Canadian Geographic contest—his first photo competition—and his shot of a coyote earned a $500 runner-up prize in the urban wildlife category.

The first-place photos in each category appeared in the December 2009 Canadian Geographic and Canada Post issued stamps featuring the images in May 2010.

Says Cooper: “It’s a great feeling having my photo on a stamp, and even better when I get mail with the stamp on the front of the envelope.”

Counter clockwise from top: Cooper’s Canada Post stamp featuring his photo of a Great Blue Heron on Burnaby’s Gray Creek; Coyote on a little-used CP Rail Freight track in South Burnaby; American Bullfrog in an overflow pond at Burnaby Fraser River Foreshore Park; Cedar Waxwing on the Fraser River bank in Burnaby; Black Bear eating Indian Paintbrush plants in Jasper National Park, Alberta; Coyote feeling the sun on his face near Riverway Golf Course in Burnaby; Cooper and a campsite visitor at West Hawk Lake Manitoba; deer at Whiteshell Provincial Park Manitoba




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