Con­tem­pla­tion

Pe­ter De­laney, Ire­land/ South Africa

Amateur Photographer - - Wildlife Photographer Of The Year -

Win­ner 2017, an­i­mal Por­traits

Totti couldn’t have tried harder. For more than an hour, he posed, ges­tured and called to en­tice one par­tic­u­lar fe­male down from the canopy, but noth­ing worked. The ob­ject of his de­sire ig­nored him. Pe­ter, too, was frus­trated. He had spent a long, dif­fi­cult morn­ing track­ing the chim­panzees – part of a troop of some 250 – through Uganda’s Kibale Na­tional Park. It was hu­mid, the ground was wet and the dense un­der­growth meant that, when­ever he did catch up with the chim­panzees, all he got were tan­ta­lis­ing glimpses as they swung from tree to tree. ‘Pho­tograph­ing in a rain­for­est with dim light and splashes of sun­light means your ex­po­sure set­tings are for­ever chang­ing. Keep­ing my cam­era at its op­ti­mum ISO set­ting meant low shut­ter speeds, and as the park au­thor­i­ties don’t al­low tripods and monopods, get­ting a sharp im­age with a hand­held cam­era was a chal­lenge,’ he says. Totti was on the ground at least, but he was busy with vig­or­ous courtship, pac­ing and ges­tic­u­lat­ing. It was only when he fi­nally flopped down, worn out with un­re­quited love, that Pe­ter had his chance. ‘He lay back, hands be­hind his head, and rested for a mo­ment, as if dream­ing of what could have been.’ Fujifilm X-T1, 50–140mm, 1/75sec at f/2.8 (–1.3 e/v), ISO 3200

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