(photo courtesy of Guardian.co.uk)
The 2009 Veolia Wildlife Photographer Of The Year award was given for the above photograph back at the end of 2009. This week however the photographer who took the image was stripped of his award, and the £10,000 prize that went with it. The reason? His photo is said to have broken the rules. The wolf jumping over the fence is, it now appears, a tame one, who was encouraged to jump to trigger the remote camera and flash. Using tame animals or ‘models’ is against the rules of the category and so the Spanish photographer lost the title.
When I first saw the photo last year I was struck by the ‘so perfect’ capture of the moment, in what appeared to be studio like conditions. The claim was that infrared beams were set up, along with the camera and flash, meat was left out and one day it all just happened. I wasn’t impressed. To me a wireless flash set up is not wildlife photography. Wildlife photography is about carrying an insanely heavy lens on your back and having the exceptional patience and technical ability to hit the shutter at the perfect moment to capture wildlife at its most glorious or intimate.
What do you think makes a good wildlife image, have you got a favourite?