About Sam Wirzba
As a youngster I loved visiting Grandpa’s farm, helping him with farm chores, exploring the farmyard, roaming the nearby fields and creek system. But I especially loved interacting with the chickens, rabbits, pigs, cattle and dairy cows – feeding them and cleaning their pens. Watching Grandpa milk the cows – during which time he would squirt milk into the open mouths of nearby kittens – was always a thrill, especially when I got to try it. I loved holding the kittens, piglets, baby chicks and new-born rabbits that Grandpa put in my hands and wrapping my arms around baby calves.
Eventually my dad got into farming as well, and as his three sons got older, we bought a larger farm and started a feedlot operation. Helping on the farm and working in dad’s construction company kept me busy after school and on weekends in senior high school. When I graduated from Grade 12 I had to choose between farming, building houses, or pursuing a post-secondary education – I chose the latter. After nine years of college and university studies I became self-employed as an environmental consultant. This was followed by a 28-year career with the Government of Alberta where I was actively involved in land use planning, natural resource management, facilitation, mediation, project management, and First Nations and stakeholder consultation. Most of my government career was taken up in developing policies and plans for the management of Alberta’s public lands and natural resources.
I had an interest in photography at an early age, starting with the purchase of a Rollei 35s while I was a teenager. I used my first 35mm (Rollei 35) film camera to chronicle my mountain adventures: hiking, backpacking, climbing, camping and hunting. I then purchased a Canon professional SLR system in my early 20’s so that I could pursue photography more seriously. The annual purchase of large quantities of film and the high costs of developing exposed film were alarming to my wife so she encouraged me to consider generating some income through photography. I decided to pursue this after placing well in two prestigious international photography competitions in 2003.
Last Light BOVINE Photography
In 2003 I spent some time thinking about where I would like to concentrate my energy as a professional photographer. I eventually decided to pursue agricultural stock photography. 2004 was spent developing a portfolio of agricultural photos and finding a stock agency. In 2005 Ed Young, owner of AgStock USA (now AgStock Images), – the world’s premier agricultural stock photography agency – took me on as a photographer. In 2012 I decided to establish my own photography business (Last Light Photography) and developed a website to showcase my photos. I also decided to specialize in bovine photography and worked hard to establish a large library of high-quality cattle images. I now have the largest personal collection of cattle photos in North America (approaching 20,000 images on my website). I have worked for numerous clients over the years and am continuing to expand my network of agencies, livestock producer organizations, ag publications and agricultural interest groups.
In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 my photography was recognized by the American Agriculture Editor's Association (Master Photography certificate; 1st, 2nd and 3rd place photo awards; and several honourable mentions).
I get out in the field on a regular basis, travelling both within Canada and the US to capture new images. My photos are used in every imaginable way within the agricultural sector. After 15 years I still enjoy photographing cows.
Please take a moment to look through my photo galleries to acquaint yourself with my work. And thanks for visiting my website. Sam