Podcast: The First Frame is Mine – Big Cat Photography, with Steve Winter


Continuing with our series of conversations from the Eddie Adams Workshop, we sit with National Geographic photographer Steve Winter to talk about his work and career, specifically regarding capturing images and telling the stories of the big cats of the world. Winter started his photojournalism career in the social documentary tradition and, working for the famed Black Star agency, fate (and fear) pushed him into the world of wildlife photography. He tells us how his path shifted, how he blends photojournalism and wildlife photography and how specializing in one subject has benefitted his career. With many adventures and close calls under his belt, he relates how travel and gear logistics and long stretches away from home can be the hardest part of his job. He also talks gear choices, working with scientists and local trackers and drone photography. Winter’s work spans the globe and includes an ark full of creatures, but he is most recognized for his big-cat photography, which entails long expeditions in mountains and jungles and also the proficient use of camera traps to photograph elusive animals remotely, including the cougar known as P-22, which Winter photographed in its territory—the Hollywood hills. 

Guest: Steve Winter


All Photos © Steve Winter/National Geographic

A tiger peers at a camera trap it triggered while hunting in the early morning in the forests of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. 2009

With proper protection and enough prey tigers breed easily. This four year old tigress returned to the cave where she was born to have her first litter. Bandhavgarh National Park, India. 2011

A villager honors a slain elephant with incense and prayers, reflecting the Hindu belief that these pachyderms are sacred. This animal was illegally shot with a bullet soaked in acid while it was raiding a rice field near Kaziranga National Park, India. It died of its wounds a few days later. 2007

These men were apprehended while trying to sell a tiger skin near Chandrapur, India. Illegal trade in tiger bone, eyes, whiskers, penises, teeth and other parts for traditional Chinese medicine may generate up to five million dollars a year. Most poaching is done by local people trying to supplement their income. 2011

A leopard drinks at a waterhole where the caretaker of a local shrine lives with his livestock just outside Mumbai, India. 2014

Photographer Steve Winter sets up a camera trap on a beach in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka, in hopes of photographing a leopard that’s known to roam the beach in search of prey.


Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves