Is it Real or is it Memorex?

First of all, I’d just like to wish all of my readers happy holidays.  Up here in Wisconsin, where I am with my family for Christmas, the weather has brought us some snow but will be back with rain tonight.  Looks like our white Christmas will be washed away soon!

José Luis Rodríguez's The Storybook Wolf

My dad just sent me a link to an article I thought I should post on here concerning the winner of what used to be called the BBC Wildlife’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) competition for 2009, José Luis Rodríguez and his photograph “The Storybook Wolf.

The WPY is possibly the “best,” certainly one of the very biggest nature photography competitions that is held annually.  I was thrilled when one of my images from Bosque del Apache NWR became a finalist two years ago, as 32,000 entries had been submitted!

This year, the top award went to an image that, while visually interesting, always struck me as odd.  Rodríguez never said that  “The Storybook Wolf” was not baited–indeed, the story behind the image on the WPY Web site explains the process that he said he went through to acclimate wolves to fresh meat left for them in a corral, and gradually setting up a remote flash and camera.

However, at issue now is whether the story itself is factual–was this a wild wolf, as Rodríguez stated, or a captive animal,and was it really photographed on a rancher’s private land, or at the Cañada Real Center zoological park near Madrid?

These are the questions that the contest itself is now asking, according to Suomen Luonto (Nature of Finland) magazine.  The full article is available here:

Nature photography contests like WPY insist that images not be made of captive animals.  The staged situation in this image has bothered me, but was not in violation of the contest.  While manipulation of the image in post bothers some people, I think that manipulation of the scene and subject is a far greater offense.

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