'Wild' Wolf Too Tame! - Wildlife Photographer of the Year Disqualified

Discussion in 'Nature' started by clay2, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Wildlife Photographer of the year Disqualified:
    http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/bbc-wildlife-photo010.html#cr
    Best regards,
    /Clay
     
  2. also posted later at (link )
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

  4. For alot of people, this one single photograph is the first they've ever heard of the Photographer of the Year competition. This photo is already ten times as famous as any other past winner. For them to bring shame down on Mr Rodriguez like this really brings shame and dishonor on themselves. They're taking their best chance to spotlight wildlife photography to the world in a time when this is a dying art, and flushing it down the toilet in a monumentous feat of arrogance and ill-conceived malice.
     
  5. I am somewhat confused by Hal B's response, after all this is a 'Wildlife' photography competition, as it is, then to exclude a photograph of an animal that is not wild would seem a natural response. I also understand from this years entry that captive wildlife entries will not be allowed. It may be a dying art, but photography of trained captive animals is not the solution. There is a world of wildlife out there to photographed in its natural habitat and we don't need to stoop to the level of 'trained monkeys'. If they are certain of their case then I say well done BBC and the Natural History Museum.
     
  6. As a counterpoint to his disqualification, I found a blog entry from back in October in which he describes using an infrared beam to catch the jump. In a way, that's neither here nor there by the "modeling" of the animal. Yet, it may explain part of the catch of the picture.
    http://www.photoradar.com/blogs/article/interview-with-jose-luis-rodriguez-winner-of-wildlife-photographer-of-the-year
    They had a follow up article on the prize money: http://www.photoradar.com/news/story/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-winner-disqualified
    And an interview with one of the judges of the contest, in a blog entry describing the wolf as one that is captive in a zoological park: http://www.photoradar.com/news/story/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-2010-“no-captive-animals-allowed
    The photographer has been noted several times as stating that the wolf is wild.
     
  7. The contest owners stated that the award money won't be given out because its a blind competition and the other "commended" photographers are identified, thus, spoiling the competition. The rules for this year mention only commended photographers but looking at the 2009 galleries there are runner ups listed. If these runner up photographers were chosen blindly and the rules of 2009 are the same, then any lone runner up in the category where the winner was disqualified should be the winner and paid accordingly. I don't know about contest laws in the UK but, if a single runner up was chosen blindly, the disqualification makes that person the winner. Failing to pay them would seem a classic instance of a breach of contract. In the U.S., it may violate contest type laws as well. I see some categories have more than one runner up which makes little sense as the term usually means second place. The contest rules should be modified. They obviously know this situation may happen again.
     
  8. Revisiting the site and reconsidering my thoughts, I did not see or missed the actual criteria specifically for photographer of the year category. It discusses votes but not much else. It could be that the the next top vote getter may not have received the most votes if the winning image had been prevented from being in the contest. Still, it seems wrong, if not questionable, that no prize money will be awarded to anyone. There is still a need to make a rule, for future instances, for what happens in the event of winner disqualification.
     
  9. I don't think that is a trained wolf, and as far as I can tell, I have as much proof as anyone else: none. In absence of any proof that this is a trained wolf, this is an outrageous act on the part of the Competition judges. All they can say is that it is "probably" a trained wolf. From what I can make out of the backlash against this photo, there were alot of sore losers who just hadn't considered the idea of setting up professional lights and an infrared camera to catch the shot of a wild animal in the dark. The shot was "too perfect" and therefore had to be faked.
    Yeah, the photo looks good. It looks REALLY good. Probably too good to come from MY collection! I would be skeptical if my neighbor had shot a photo this good, or my brother, or any of my friends. I would be skeptical to see this picture on the wall of any photographer, because it is just SO STUNNING! It transcends boundaries. However, it is in no way impossible. It is well lit, and that is remarkable considering the extreme proximity to the animal. Is there any reason why this can't be a wild animal?
    Jealousy is not enough of a reason to strip a contest winner of his prize. Shame on the Museum, and shame on the Competition.
     
  10. Hal,
    You can get on your indignant high horse as much as you like. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is the most prestigious competition of its kind in the world. They demand the utmost honesty (to the extent that you have to send in the RAW file with your entry for authentication reasons) and they have become such an important competition because of their strict rules.
    The evidence they have is supposed to show the same wolf in other circumstances and you can rent it, that is not a wild animal. Besides, many many images set up just like the "winner" have been made, it is not a skillful image to make, just find a good tracker or spend some time, set up your gear, sleep for the night, after breakfast check your results, repeat if necessary. Just check the guys website, he has many images like it, I was impressed with the underwater Kingfisher though.
    For the competition to maintain any credibility when questions are asked they have to respond (remember the National Geographic debacle?) , by acting like they have they have sent a very clear message, we are not interested in consequences, if your images can't be proven to be of immaculate provenance then we will act, even if we are embarrassed. I think they did the right thing.
    With regards second place becoming first, well if the scoring structure does not allow for that then it shouldn't, that is just a fact. The short listed images can't be re-voted on, the votes for the first placed image can't be re-assigned. It is not an Olympic 100m race.
    Nobody is jealous, that is infantile to suggest, they are in an incredibly difficult position, questions were raised, their competitions reputation is at stake. There is no shame in the way they have reacted, the only shame is that the circumstance was not anticipated and a fallback plan to allow a credible winner to rise from the other entrants. The prize money is a small matter and one I am sure the owners are not too concerned with, but for diplomatic reasons it would seem a good idea to donate it to a wild animal protection charity.
     
  11. Hal--
    I have a ton of portable lights (17 in total) and am a very active outdoor night time flash photographer. I go out several nights per week during winter to take shots. (I'm saying I have some experience here.) I also grew up on a farm (still own it) and am very familiar with wildlife, and live on the edge of wolf country myself. The odds of catching something as rare as a wolf at night, being at the right fence, getting perfect exposure in one take--is in my opinion pretty much zero. Lights were set up, flashmeter used to perfect exposure, and wolf was encouraged to jump the fence. Probably several times to get it right. I think the committee was correct in rescinding the award as their rules state subject must be wild. I also think they are incredibly ignorant of how much work it is to get a flash shot like this so perfect, and really question how they could have thought this was a spontaneous shot in the first place. My reaction would have been, "Natural? Yeah, right."
    Kent in SD
     
  12. "they concluded that it was likely that the wolf featured in the image was an animal model that can be hired for photographic purposes"
    "The judging panel looked at a range of evidence and took specialist advice from panel judges who have extensive experience of photographing wildlife including wolves. They also considered the responses to specific questions put to the photographer "
    If that is what they concluded then it would make sense to disqualify the photo. Too bad it was later rather than sooner.
     
  13. Hal,
    One of the many links to this story in addition to all the other evidence has identified the wildlife park that this particular wolf lives at. I read that the first complaints originated from fellow photographers in Spain who recognised this particular animal. It does suggest that the evidence was overwhelming. Whilst of course it would have been better had this been discovered prior to the award being made, which I am sure is the view of both organisors, they do rely on the competitors honest participation.
     
  14. This is interesting:
    http://www.wild-wonders.com/photo_competition_winners.asp?month=2&year=2009&cat=EWW&age=18+&show=3
     
  15. The interesting thing to me is the utter lack of published evidence. Maybe the photo was of a tame wolf, maybe not: But why are we supposed to take the competition judges' word for it?
     
  16. Although it's in Finnish, the photos alone tell most of the story:
    http://www.suomenluonto.fi/bbc-luontokuvakisassa-epaillaan-huijausta
     
  17. I think if a question arises, it's the photographer's responsibility to back up his claim. If it were my shot being questioned, I'd be out there the same day, taking pictures of the gate and the surroundings, to prove that it wasn't shot in a zoo or preserve. I'd also send the contact sheet containing the frame that was in question. If the photographer didn't or couldn't back up his claim that the shot was done in the wild, then his claim doesn't have much validity.
    With regard to the judging procedure, withdrawing first prize negates any chance that any other entrant had to win the contest. All entry fees ought to be refunded to all the entrants. The judges failed to do their job. The validity of the winning photo should have been determined before the winner was announced.
     
  18. Why would you not believe them?
    They have absolutely nothing to gain from this debacle other than saving a little prize money, they have a huge amount to lose in credibility though. I would expect that given the high profile of this incident and the probable fallout from it that they are pretty certain the image is not as first presented.
    Do you not find it strange that he didn't do it once, this "impossible, once in a lifetime, image" but at least twice from different angles in different locations with very similar looking wolves (all bar the white balance!)?
     
  19. Thanks Bob,
    He is so busted, bitten ear or not.................
     
  20. Scott--
    I wouldn't have believed it was a wild wolf even if there was just one shot. The lighting is just too perfect. The shadows fall perfectly behind the wolf, the light fall off is perfect, there is no spill at all, the exposure is spot on and very even. In my own experience this just doesn't happen in one take, at least not in real life. It would take a lot of time to set up lights etc. and meter this. That would have left a lot of human scent around. I would bet he spent two to four hours getting this shot "right." Again, speaking as someone who has some experience doing night flash shots, I'm just not buying this wasn't set up and staged. I truly admire his skill with flash, and his ability to previsualize and create the image. It is a shame that someone with this level of talent felt it necessary to deceive the judges. Lest anyone feel sorry for him, how about feeling sorry for the 1st runner up who did follow the rules and has now been cheated out of the prize that was rightfully his (hers)?
    Kent in SD
     
  21. The kind of evidence I would like to see is, for example, a statement from someone at Canada Real that the photographer actually worked with their wolf Ossian.
    The wolf photos might look similar. They might not. Likewise the photo of the gate might be similar and might not. There are a lot of "mights" there.
    I don't know about the photographer, but perhaps he's kept out of it because he felt the deck was stacked against him. He has a number of other similar photos on a website and seems to specialize in this kind of image. I don't, myself, find them very compelling, but I also don't think they would be impossible to create with wild animals and plenty of hard work.
    Take a look, for example, at the work of Michael Durham, who sets up exceedingly intricate camera traps and leaves them in place for weeks at a time.
     
  22. I'm a little surprised that nobody has commented on the link posted by Dave Reichert that appears to be an almost, but not
    quite identical shot on the same wolf jumping over the same fence.
     
  23. Mark
    Sorry, I looked at it but thought it was the same image, silly me!
    Bob,
    That is a daft approach to take. The "evidence" that we have linked up in a couple of hours is more than damning enough. The competition adjudicators will take a far more serious look at the pictures and consult experts. But were we in a civil court and going for likely probability, the other side would have settled before now, if it were going to beyond reasonable doubt then I'm pretty happy to convict too.
    Now you say the photographer has been quiet because he knows the odds are stacked against him, I say piffle, he is quiet because he has been busted. All he had to do was give a fair account of how he took the image when entering the competition, which he almost certainly didn't, then it could have been judged fairly on its merits against the other entries. Were I to be wronged like he has if he is innocent then I'd be making one hell of a noise.
     
  24. Why doesn't the photographer just take one of the judges (or representitive) of the competition to the spot where he took the photo? Doesn't the game park have a list somewhere of people who have signed up to photograph their animals?
     
  25. I looked at the photo Dave R. linked to (http://www.wild-wonders.com/photo_competition_winners.asp?month=2&year=2009&cat=EWW&age=18+&show=3 ) and note the little bumps and shapes of the timbers that make up the gate. They match up perfectly with the "winning" shot. Same gate. Also look at the lighting. In the photo Dave linked, it's very crude. There is a hotspot on the wolf's paw, exposure is uneven, and the direction is not very good. Also, not enough light was used. I'm not buying that this shot was from an infrared trap either. The shot by Rodriguez obviously was building on the first shot. He dramatically improved the lighting, but I still refuse that EITHER shots are what they claim to be. Both are staged photos.
    Kent in SD
     
  26. On a different note here is a quote from a photogrpaher I know who was in that category - and whether or not you believe the photo was a fake - the effect on at least one photog is considerable:
    Reply posted by Danny Green on 01/20/10 at 11:16 am EST
    Registered on 11/27/05, 220 Topics, 1448 Replies
    When this story first broke out I was gutted and was hoping this was not going to turn out to be true, I was hoping it was just a mis-understanding and that everything would be how it should be. I was one of those Category winners on the night and was secretly hoping that this was it, this was the year and this was the time that my hard work would be regonised on a world stage, who amongst us wouldn't. There was 12 of us in that room on the night and we must have had all the same thoughts. Then the winner was announced and I was dissappointed but accepted it and just reminded myself of how well I had done in the first place. So to say this has tarred the event is an understatement. It is sad for the Competition, sad for the people that work so hard on it behind the scenes, sad for the judges, sad for all the photographers that entered it and sad for the people who have brought the book, products, etc, etc. The photographer in question has made a huge mistake and will regret this for the rest of his life, but it is only a mistake and I hope he is not hounded to death over this. The competition will bounce back that I am sure and will just get bigger and better as the years go by. If one good thing will come of this, that wolf shot will be very famous for years to come and I sincerely hope that it highlights the plight of the Iberian Wolf and changes this animals fortunes around.

    Danny [​IMG]


    Here is the original quote: http://www.naturephotographers.net/imagecritique/bbs.cgi?a=vm&mr=51689&CGISESSID=ba6b52a5e7bc2a07ada50337db1951e2&u=22741
     
  27. OK, having seen that the photo Dave R. posted is a slightly different take on the same event, I'm ready to concede that the winning photo is almost certainly of a tame animal.
    The contest judges, though, handled this poorly. To announce that a nature photographer "probably" faked a photo in today's world is a bit like announcing that someone is "probably" a child molester. You need a high standard of evidence for something like this or you keep your mouth shut. They didn't provide it.
    I think the judges had good intentions but are better photographers than investigators.
     
  28. Whoops, let me take that back... Go over to The Online Photographer and read the discussion in comments there on this issue.
    It seems quite plausible that the two photos are of the same event, taken by two separate cameras triggered at about the same instant from slightly different points of view... Rather more plausible, in fact, than the idea that this is a photo of another leap by the same wolf.
    So, again, I question where is the hard evidence of fakery?
     
  29. I wonder if the photographer has said whether he had multiple cameras in multiple positions with mutiple triggers. That would explain two almost (but not quite) identical shots. Clearly this event is HIGHLY unlikely to have happened more than once if it was "in the wild", so unless he's claiming mutiple shots with mutiple cameras, he's busted.
    If he was using multiple cameras you'd wonder why he had both of them set up in almost an identical position, in fact they must have been side by side.
     
  30. Why is it any more plausible than another leap by the wolf after rearranging the lighting and the camera to get a better shot?
    I'm going to defer to the experts and judges on this since they have a lot of information that I do not... probably including exif information with camera serials, time stamps, communications with the photographer, and experts at wolf identification.
    With all this information they likely came to the correct conclusion.
     
  31. In any case, this captive animal stuff has been going on for too long as it is and I'm glad that the judges are putting their foot down. They could have covered this up and avoided controversy but it is good for the continuing relevance of wildlife photography that this is getting aired out.
     
  32. Why is it any more plausible than another leap by the wolf after rearranging the lighting and the camera to get a better shot?​
    Because, according to Wolf experts, Wolves don't leap gates like that when they can easily crawl through. If you've seen wolves you'll know that in general they are pretty low key when hunting and are unlikely to go leaping over gates in the dark. I suppose it's not impossible, but I'd say it's pretty close to impossible that it would happen twice, at night, in the same place, with the wolf leaping at exactly the same angle, and that both times the photographer was setup in the same spot to capture this rarest of events.
    On the other hand trained, semi-domesticated, wolves could probably be easily induced to jump over a gate over and over again.
    I'm not sure you can ever "prove" with 100% certianty it was a fake any more than you can prove with 100% certainty that someone commited a crime unless you have a video tape of them doing it. Even by the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt", this looks like a setup shot. It easily passes the "by the preponderence of evidence" test.
     
  33. It does seem like an unlikely place to setup a camera trap (the gate). Probably about an even chance of capturing a saucer-man doing the high hurdles.
     
  34. Bob--
    The lighting in the two shots is RADICALLY different. No way was this done with the wolf jumping once. The first guy to shoot it had no where NEAR the sophistication in use of lighting that Rodriguez had in the second, formerly winning, shot. The lighting in the first shot was very primitive.
    Kent in SD
     
  35. There were several rather protracted (and largely interpersonal sniping threads on Dpreview on this). One contained a link to the Museum contest site. The link appears to have become disabled or the site changed or at best, I can't find it and I'm not going to re-read a couple of 100 plus entry threads to track it down. It included an explanation (the photographer's original story?) of how the photographer worked up to the shot. It discusses that he found the location/wolf and began by providing bait of some sort, then allowing the wolf to become accustomed to the camera noises, then flashes etc, then eventually, the capture was made by a triggered camera trap.
    So it's probably not a "fake" in that it was a real wolf, etc., the location and nature of the wolf may have been misrepresented - so one may argue over the wildness of a wolf on game farm, or if it was trained - as opposed to just conditioned, but it seems that the totality of the explanation or story of how the picture came about wasn't sustainable and was bent enough that it's possible the judging might have turned out differently if a more accurate description had been provided.
    Here's another link that has some extracts of the story:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/dec/21/wolf-picture-rodriguez-wildlife-photographer
     
  36. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    There is a parallel threads on the News Forum here in photo.net. Bob Atkins posted about some of the rules for the contest. Baiting animals is not allowed: http://www.photo.net/photography-news-forum/00VYYQ
    Perhaps hindsight is 20/20, but the image in question certainly does not look very natural to begin with. The judges should have noticed that from the very beginning.
     
  37. The shot is AWESOME! Staged or not, I could care less. If it was staged a whole lot of work went into it to get it right. The shot is perfect and he deserves the prize. Again, I am totally outnumbered here, other than Hal. I guess it is my lack of jealousy? I guess if I had tried for years to capture a shot like that, and failed, I would think different. No I wouldn't.
    Does everyone here think the shot is great?
    I checked out his other work. He does a lot of night photography. It all looks very good. I guess it is possible to set up a shot with a wolf. Deer are prey animals and very weary of people, even the tame ones. So was his deer shot set up? How about all the other great photos on his site, were they all set up?
    So they strip his prize, who wins? The runner up is a Red Fox sticking his nose into the camera lens. I bet this photographer had a piece of bacon right up under the lens. Would that be set up? How about the third place, an underwater shot of a bird catching a minnow. I wonder how many hours went into this set up? Great shot but it too is set up. How about all those great photos of songbirds you see. What you dont see is the feeder right beside them. What a joke. All of you folks who are complaining, how many shots have you set up?
    Derek
     
  38. Oh, and if I had a dime for every photographer that I have seen at the waterfalls picking up twigs. I saw a man brushing off a rock with one of those mini wisk brooms! However, Mr. Rodriguez cheated so the prize should go to the bacon sniffing fox.
    Hey Hal, I did not realize you had used the "jealousy" word until I went back to find Mr Rodriguez name in your first repsonse. Not trying to steal your fight. It surely is the right word to use in this argument.
     
  39. stp

    stp

    Derek, you may not care, but they have rules, and rules need to be followed. If someone doesn't like the rules, they can 1) not participate, and 2) work to get the rules changed.
     
  40. Those who don't see any problem with the image and disagree with the decision to strip the award are missing the point. It doesn't matter if you like the aesthetics of the shot or not. It's the fact that Mr. Rodriguez is guilty of misrepresentation that is the problem. He claimed the wolf is wild. The evidence indicates that the wolf is not wild, but is a handled captive animal. If he had captioned the image "captive wolf handled by a trainer," then the judges would have been appropriately empowered to make an informed decision. Instead, he hoped that his image would be thought to be of a wild wolf, and that his lie wouldn't be found out.

    The impact and significance of wildlife photography, at least in terms of its editorial relevance, has everything to do with its veracity. Mr. Rodriguez's image would be eligible to compete in a photography competition based solely on aesthetics, but it fails the journalistic ethics test of the BBC competition.
     
  41. Derek--
    I've already made several posts to this thread and I think I praised the guy's ability to set up great lighting in each. I've also said I think the guy has great talent. What he does NOT have is great judgement or integrity. I do a lot of outdoor night flash photography too, and have had cover shots from it. (Not nature subjects.) I'm hardly "jealous." Rather, I'm just thinking of all those other 40,000 contestants who also tried very hard to win. They played by the rules. Rodriguez didn't. If talent trumps integrity in your world view, you and I (and apparently most here) have some major differences in our approach to life in general. Rodriguez's intent was to deceive.
    Kent in SD
     
  42. The shot is AWESOME! Staged or not, I could care less. If it was staged a whole lot of work went into it to get it right. The shot is perfect and he deserves the prize.
    The director of the animal park said Mr. Rodriguez has been photographing virtually all the animals of the park, and that he thinks the animal in the photo is probably Ossian. The surroundings are apparently familiar from the park, and the photographer has photographed several different animals leaping the same fence, including other pictures of the wolf. Since this is obviously against the rules to use a taught animal there is no way the photographer could be let keep the prize. It's a wild life photographer competition, not the animal actors' academy "oscars".
    BTW. there is no 2nd prize; there are multiple "runner-ups" in different categories and the wildlife photographer of the year prize is considered with different criteria than category winners. In any case the fame is far more important than the money in this case, and to have no overall winner sends a message to candidates that the rules must be obeyed. Although the books have been sold.
     
  43. Or, to say it another way, it looks like Rodriguez's intent was to steal money through intentional deception. To do so he needed a good photograph and produced one.
     
  44. I just read that entering captive animals to the competition according to 2009 rules was allowed if marked clearly as captive. Rodriguez claimed that it was a wild animal. In 2010 rules, only pictures of wild animals can be entered.
     
  45. I may have missed it, but has the photographer himself had nothing to say? It would seem reasonable for the judges to ring him up and ask for an explanation. Then he'd either have to own up to fraud or offer some explanation for the points brought up here. His apparent silence doesn't prove guilt, but it's certainly not helpful.
     
  46. Kent,
    I do not believe talent trumps integrity. I also do not believe that the 40,000 other contestants played by the rules. I have only seen two other photos, the runner-ups, and it is easy to see that those shots were set up too. Photographers are so good with photoshop you cant believe half of what you see. If I could do anything other than set white balance and sharpen, I still would not. Today, not many folks have integrity. We all know Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Lance Armstrong are juiced. All athletes cheat, they have to keep up with the others who are also cheating. Photography is not much different. Now that we are in the digital era, maybe we should put an asterisk beside every winner.
    If Mr. Rodriguez broke the rules he should be disqualified, without a doubt. First, you have to prove that he did. If they are going to give the prize to someone else than they should prove that the others did not break any rules either. Ilkka stated that there will be no winner. That is good, I am all for that.
    I guess I can expect a lot of 3/3's on my pictures. It happens every time I go against the grain here. But, I still love you guys anyway.
    Derek
     
  47. First of all, it's hard to imagine that anyone could still trust that this is a legitimate picture of a wild wolf. It didn't look like it from the beginning and there is overwhelming evidence that it was set up. I'd say we are at least 95% sure he cheated. And although it is disappointing if other photographers cheated also, that doesn't give this guy a free pass. Second of all, I don't think this is an awesome image. Technically, it looks wonderful. But it is WEIRD. It doesn't look like a wild wolf. It doesn't show normal wolf behaviors. A good wildlife picture of a generally wild animal should show us the animal in a way that we would possibly see it in the wild. This does a terrible job of that. It's like saying a technically perfect picture of an elephant at the circus could pass as a wildlife picture.
     
  48. Photographers are so good with photoshop you cant believe half of what you see.
    In this competition you are required to submit original RAW files, as well as your finished image, so that the judges can see how far you have manipulated the image.
     
  49. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I am sure the "problem" with the image was that once it had been declared the winner, it received a lot more scrutiny by everybody. And the rest is now history.
     
  50. Gary Anthes: An interview with one of the judges, linked to above, clearly stated "There was a lot of correspondence with him..." It also stated that he is sticking to his guns and claiming the wolf is wild.
     
  51. stp

    stp

    He probably also has an attorney who is advising him to keep quiet about all of this.
     
  52. Shouldn't this be a "photograph" of the year competition and not a "photographer" of the year competition. The winner was based on only one photo, and anyone can get lucky and get "the shot," but for it to be a photographer of the year competition I think they should have shown an entire portfolio to prove they can get "the shot" over and over and that they are a truly great photographer and not just a hack that got a lucky photograph.
     
  53. "Does everyone here think the shot is great?" No, it's boring, the judges should be fined for picking it in the first place.
     
  54. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The shot might not be all that great if, again, IF it is a "designed" image where a trained wolf was baited and jumped over the fence many times so that the photographer could capture the jump over and over until he got a perfect image.
     
  55. "Three Wolves Jumping" has potential for POW.
     
  56. I always thought this picture was a set up, although I thought it was a stuffed wolf proped up to look like it was leaping over a, too good looking to be true, rustic gate.
    If anyone on the panel of judges really were wildlife/photography experts, including a 'wolf expert', why did no one twig that this 'fairy tale' image might be all it seemed? This will not do their (the judges) credibility any good.
    If they had any doubts they should have awarded the top prize to someone else.
     
  57. Its a shame this had to happen, competition at the highest level of nature and wildlife photography is extremely tight, but that does not warrant desperate measures like this. In my opinion he should have done what many others do, wait for lengthy hours in hiding around the natural habitat of the sought after wolf until he got that lucky break. If he didn't get the shot he wanted just keep trying, there will be other contests.
     
  58. The two photos are clearly not two shots of the same jump taken with different cameras. The most obvious difference to me is the position and angle of the front paws. The lighting is different, demonstrated by the shadow line on the back part of the body. Also the the angle of the body is different, and it appears that in the winning photo the animal is further over the fence.

    I agree with those that say the picture looks unnatural, and that should have piqued the judge's curiosity and caused them to not take it at face value.
    I also agree that it just seems odd, and not what a wolf would be likely to do, with him more likely to crawl through the gate or jump up on the wall and then down. Animals are less inclined to jump over things than to jump onto and then off something else if they can. It uses less energy. I suppose if the wolf were in hot pursuit of something it might do what the picture shows, but otherwise, I think not. Even if he were in pursuit of something, I think he would be more likely to jump on to the wall, using the height and traction to his advantage to recover lost momentum.

    Even though the picture looks dark, I doubt that it was really that dark. Given the abundant color the amount of actual light in the sky can be estimated. Flash with an open shutter was probably not used.
    I think that, coupled with a typical wolf's night vision would have enabled him to see well enough to choose his path freely.
     
  59. Quoting Bob Adkins: "Because, according to Wolf experts, Wolves don't leap gates like that when they can easily crawl through"
    Yes that's generally true. A friend of ours in Canada raises champion sled dogs. He has a 3' tall fence around his kennel perimiter with his sled dogs staked out on chains inside. We asked him why so low of a fence since most sled dogs could easily jump over a 3' tall fence. He said it's not so the dogs can't get out, it's so the wolves won't get in to the dogs area. He said the wolves won't jump over or cross a 3' fence. And that worked for him. He lives in prime wolf area up by Ely, MN and is a well known musher.
    When I first saw the photo my first though was that it was a wolf mount and not a real wolf at all. The wolf looked to fake. After all this, now I'm back to wondering if he really did hang a wolf mount for the shot? It would be interesting to find out for real.
    -Julie
     
  60. I agree with the Derek the shot is very good, despite all the "I knew it was fake" wise after-the-event" comments. The image is clearly post processed (manipulated), but then a photographer should be able to do that and I don't think the competition disallows that, particularly as any RAW image needs it to look good.
    As others have said though his mistake was that he lied and said it was a wild wolf when it probably isn't. Do doubt he never expected to win. I can see that the rules are not there to be broken in this case.
     
  61. Last year I attended a masterclass given by Mr. Rodriguez. He showed that picture of the wolf. My first reaction was "what a big picture" but soon after I thought that a wolf does not jump the fence when he could go under and, on the other hand, the wolf looks too "domestic". For anyone who has seen semi-wild wolves, this one is a "real dog", with the fur very well treated. The wolves of Portugal and Spain are rare, with few prey, hungry and this is reflected in their hair and physical condition.
    That said, I think this is a good shot, almost certainly is not a wild wolf and the work of Mr. Rodriguez is very good, though, but dont deserve the prize, because (if) he did lie...
     

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