How a National Geographic photographer captured a shot of a mountain lion in L.A.


posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 2:23 PM EDT

Steve Winter / National Geographic / March 2, 2013

Shooting wild animals takes a certain amount of patience, but National Geographic photographer Steve Winter has put even the most tolerant photographer to shame with a photo of a mountain lion in Los Angeles that took him 12 months to capture.

Winter made it his mission to capture a photograph of cougar P-22, which lives in Griffith Park, with the city of L.A. in the background. To that end, he set up an outdoor camera with an infrared beam trigger to capture it. And he waited. It took 12 months of patience before the animal was in the right place at the right time for the camera to snap off that one single shot — of a cougar against the LA skyline.

Steve Winter is not just a National Geographic photographer, but is also the media director for the wild cat conservation group Panthera. His photos of big cats have won him major awards, like BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year in 2012. So if there's anyone who would have waited as long as it took to capture the perfect shot of a big cat, it would have been him.

The final image (and maybe some otheres) are set to be published in the December issue of National Geographic

Steve Winter / National Geographic / March 2, 2013