The Embrace

Sergey Gorshkov's Image

Sergey scoured the forest for signs of Amur, or Siberian, tigers, searching for the best place to set up his camera trap. He knew his chance of photographing one was slim, but his mind was made up. ‘From then on, I could think of nothing else,’ Sergey says. After 10 months, his dedication paid off: he captured a rare glimpse of this magnificent tiger in its wild habitat.

These solitary cats exchange vital information, such as the need for mates, by leaving scent, hairs, urine and other markers on prominent spots, including tree trunks. In the far east of Russia, a population of around 500 Amur tigers persists, occupying a fragment of its former land. Under threat from habitat loss and poaching, these tigers are close to extinction.

Behind the lens

Sergey Gorshkov

Sergey Gorshkov


Sergey's early years were spent in a Siberian village, but it was in his 30s that he discovered photography as a way to re-engage with nature. He sold his business and took up photography, determined to record the richness of Russia's wilderness. He is widely published, has four books to his name and is a National Geographic contributor. He has been a regular winner since 2007.

Image details

  • Nikon Z7
  • 50mm f1.8 lens
  • 1/200 sec at f6.3  •   ISO 250  •   Cognisys camera-trap system
  • Land of the Leopard National Park, Primorsky Krai, Russia
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