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Peter Delaney Wins the Animal Portrait Category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

South African X-Photographer Peter Delaney’s image “Contemplation” is the Winner of the Animal Portraits category and the finalist of the overall award for The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017. took this opportunity to learn more on Peter’s background as a photographer and his winning image.

Can you tell us the story behind the image?

I was on an assignment for a conservation project to photograph the chimpanzees and mountain gorillas of Uganda. We spent a week in Uganda but most of those days were spent traveling to our destinations. I had one morning to photograph the chimpanzees in Kibale National Park. My time was limited and I was under a lot of pressure to get successful photographs for my client. I have to admit I was apprehensive as this was my first time to use my FUJIFILM X-T1 and the XF50-140mmF2.8 lens in a rainforest environment. Photographing in a rain forest with dim light levels and splashes of highlights from the overhead sun means your exposure settings are ever changing. The conditions as expected were wet underfoot and humid. Finding chimpanzees is not as easy as you think in the dense undergrowth. Your first hours will leave you frustrated just getting glimpses of chimpanzees as they swing from tree to tree. Eventually as the morning wore on the Chimpanzees descended to the forest floor. Finding yourself on a one to one basis with chimpanzees can be intimidating. Chimpanzees are intelligent and stronger than humans. If you get too close they will react, fight or flight.
Totti is the name of this wannabe alpha male chimpanzee. Totti came down from the canopy to the forest floor with one motive. Desire. A young female chimpanzee is above him in the canopy. Totti is doing his best to entice her away from other males. He poses and gestures and calls in every seductive way possible. But alas to no avail. His advances go unnoticed. The female chimpanzee ignores him. Totti concedes defeat. lies back with hands behind his head and dreams of what could have been.