ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque photographer is being named one of the top African wildlife photographers in the world. Kevin Dooley owns Idube Photo Safaris, which takes people all over the globe to see wildlife, most recently returning from Africa.
“I’ve had a wedding and portrait studio in Albuquerque for 38 years, actually, 39 years now. I’ve been a professional photographer my entire life,” said Dooley. “However, I’ve also been an outdoorsman my entire life, and to combine photography and the outdoors is basically combining the two biggest passions that I have. As the years progressed, I began to acquire more and more opportunities to photograph wildlife in really exotic places.”
Dooley’s wildlife photo safaris take him everywhere from Alaska to Brazil’s Pantanal, as well as parts of Africa and Asia. One photo he captured during a trip to Namibia — showing a cheetah and her cubs sneaking into a watering hole — is now getting worldwide acclaim. Dooley says he and a few safari guests, camped out early, waiting for the cheetah they had seen prior to make another appearance.
“She was so careful and she snuck into that waterhole and those little babies were so thirsty and they started drinking,” said Dooley. “The mother cheetah just leaned over them and got a drink as well but her eyes were just scanning the area as those cubs were drinking.”
Out of nearly 38,000 photo submissions to Africa Geographic’s Photographer of the Year contest, Dooley is among 12 winners from around the world. He is also only one of two American winners in the contest. He says he’s honored to represent the United States.
“It really felt so good to make sure America, and of course, Albuquerque, New Mexico, got in there and we were represented as the best wildlife photographers in the world,” said Dooley. “It’s really spectacular. I love America, I love New Mexico and I love being able to show people on the map where we are.”
Africa Geographic says this year’s record 37,853 photo submissions is a 27% increase from last year’s contest. The publication says judging is based on “whether the image evokes an emotion, tells a story and reflects the true diversity and amazingness of Africa,” also factoring in technical issues.