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"Endangered Beauty"

The incredibly beautiful snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is indigenous to the mountains of Central Asia. Their dense coats and snowshoe-like paws are ideally suited for their cold, dry, rocky native environment. These shy, elusive cats, when fully grown, weigh up to 120 pounds and nose to tip of their very thick, furry tails measure up to 7-1/2 feet long. Sadly, these phenomenal cats are an endangered species.

This photograph was taken on a private reserve in Kalispell, Montana. The black and white palette adds depth and drama to this cat's intense posture, mesmerizing eyes, and her exquisite spotted coat.

Snow Leopard Photograph is Viewer's Choice Winner in National Geographic's 2008 International Photography Contest

"Endangered Beauty," by acclaimed Fine Art Photographer, Stephen W. Oachs, captures the beauty, stealth and strength of the endangered snow leopard, in a poignant black and white portrait.

San Jose, CA--December 5, 2008--Fine Art Photographer, Stephen W. Oachs, has been filming nature and landscapes for relatively few years, but his quality of work has garnered him many awards and attention. When he heard three of his photographs were selected for the National Geographic 2008 International Photography Contest, he was thrilled. However, nothing compares to the exhilaration of actually winning.

"To be recognized by National Geographic for my work is exciting, and to be ranked among the incredible caliber of quality photography associated with the National Geographic name is an incomparable honor," said Oachs. "There were excellent images in the nature category, and this win is a personal milestone, and spurs me on to strive for even better work."

Oachs' photography has won much acclaim, along with numerous awards and photography contests before National Geographic, including Popular Photography Magazine and National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest. His photo of the Fly Geyser in the Black Rock Desert will be in the Singh-Ray national ad campaign. His work is sold online and through his art gallery shows in the northern California/Bay area, and he is currently offering photography workshops, and is available for presentations and speaking engagements. To contact Oachs or learn about his workshops, visit his Website,

About Stephen W. Oachs

Stephen is a successful entrepreneur, technology veteran and award-winning photographer working out of San Jose and San Francisco, California. He began his journey in photography the moment he picked up his first SLR camera. Ever since, his lenses have focused on the inspiring majesty of mother earth and the unflinching beauty of the animal kingdom. Stephen truly has a gift for capturing rare and breathtaking moments of light and time. Learn more about Stephen and his work by visiting his photography journal at, his online gallery, Light: The Expedition, and his blog,



Visitor Comments

Isabella - (January 31st, 2009 (4:49pm) PST)
This is absolutely stunning.
Gloria - (March 17th, 2009 (5:48pm) PDT)
Im a lover of all cats big aand small. They are all very special to me.
Lobo Lederle - (March 17th, 2009 (9:05pm) PDT)
Beautiful cat. We must do all we can to protect them !
Carly Fraser - (March 20th, 2009 (2:56pm) PDT)
Oh. My. Gosh. This is an indescribable photo. I am doing a project on some local snow leopards at my zoo right now for university...this picture simply captures the essence of beauty and everything that can be said about these amazing are a GREAT photographer.
Erik - (March 31st, 2009 (11:13am) PDT)
incredible photo with stunning snow leopard... just beautiful !!! compliments.. :)
Jene Britton - (April 10th, 2009 (8:40pm) PDT)
In one word "AMAZING"! As a supporter of the Snow Leopard Trust, I know we have to do everything in our power to protect these gracious animals. Absolutely fantastic photo by a skilled photographer!!! Well done.
Sue - (April 11th, 2009 (12:15am) PDT)
Thank you for sharing your photography - so awe inspiring! I am also a member of the Snow Leopard Trust and if people would like to help preserve and protect these beautiful cats they can do so very simply by signing up for the e-newsletter - The Sengupta Fund has pledged $4,000 if the trust can sign up another 2,000 people ( Thank you.
norio - (April 11th, 2009 (8:10am) PDT)
this is the beauty! the best! photo...
kyla - (April 24th, 2009 (7:19am) PDT)
i love it how did u even get that close
Vernon Dittenbir - (April 26th, 2009 (5:50pm) PDT)
You have captured your usual superb shot including that hugh tail. I am always waiting to see what will be the next thing in your camer's eye!
Nichola-Charlotte - (May 3rd, 2009 (11:33am) PDT)
Now that's how you capture an beautiful creature without endangering it. Truly beautiful! I'm a strong believer that photos can change the world. You are what I call a photographer!
Betty Ing - (May 8th, 2009 (8:56am) PDT)
What an amazingly beautiful photo! Great job! The world needs to see how gorgeous the snow leopard is and what a shame it would be if we were to lose this unique creature!
Naveen - (June 28th, 2009 (8:05am) PDT)
All I can say is that this is a perfect pixel.
maria - (October 9th, 2009 (7:36pm) PDT)
Kat Hammond - (November 21st, 2009 (2:34am) PST)
I've been a member of Snow Leopard Trust a few years now. Recently, while in Germany, I had the joy of seeing one in real time. The magnificence and glory of this cat cannot be captured, even in a photo, but sir, you seemed to do so in this one. The presence of these great cats is almost too much beauty to bear. I was overwhelmed and humbled, by the greatness of this being. No, we are not the top of the food chain. Humanity needs to get with the program and save these great cats. I will do all in my power to help any way I can. All my christmas presents this year are from Snow Leopard Trust and Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge. Go to Snow Leopard trust, order your christmas cards, gifts and get something for yourself! Do your part to save the ghost of the high mountains. Thank you for this beautiful, magnificent photo. It made me weep.
Niegel - (May 29th, 2010 (7:07pm) PDT)
My god, what a stunning shot! absolutely breathtaking
Elisha Cullins - (November 30th, 2010 (8:31am) PST)
This is a really beatiful animal, and i think we should do more for these creatures. So they don't disappear off the face of the earth
Treva Coomes - (December 3rd, 2010 (10:28pm) PST)
yes very stunning isn't it? i love all animals i believe they know much more than we do... indeed we take these curious creatures for granted when in the end they'll be the ones living high and mighty while we're face down in the dirt worrying about taxes and other finical problems such as the economy and such!
Andy - (June 8th, 2011 (11:30pm) PDT)
Wonderful! This amazing Cat is really a beauty. So Handsome and clean! Take more pics of this one!, a documentary etc – God Bless!
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CJ - (January 9th, 2012 (2:02am) PST)
My wife and I have been admiring this image for years. We have talked about it non-stop for almost four years. Today we brought the 4'x6' stretched canvas image home! We are SO excited! Thank you for taking this wonderful picture.
Lindsey Green - (May 10th, 2012 (2:06pm) PDT)
Beautiful. Stunning. Flawless. These animals are so captivating, they take me breathe away. I wish the human race would end their suffering and leave them alone..
GeCic - (October 29th, 2015 (8:38am) PDT)
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