Celebrating the Best of the Worst with the Wildlife Photo Fail Awards 2017

Robin Moore is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and Communications Director with Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC). Earlier this month, GWC invited photographers to share the best of their worst shots on Instagram with the launch of the #WildlifePhotoFail Awards 2017. Entering the final week for submissions, Robin shares his reflections on the entries that have come in so far for the first Wildlife Photo Fail Awards!

Shooting wildlife can be an exercise in patience and, too often, futility—long hours spent squatting in mosquito-riddled swamps, cowering in a small hide, or setting camera traps and waiting for an elusive creature to cooperate. All to freeze one single moment, when preparation, pre-visualization and chance coincide to produce an image that connects with an audience on a visceral level or offers a unique insight into our world.

But the journey to getting “the shot” is inevitably littered with bloopers, blunders and backfires: the tail end of a puma leaving the frame; an armadillo, startled by a camera trap, flying into the air (who knew they did that??); chimps the size of ants because you forgot to bring your zoom lens. We have all been there.

These flops, which we hide on hard drives like a closely held secret, are like a trail of breadcrumbs leading to the final, polished result. They are an insight into the journey that got us there. And now, we want to see them!

The inspiration to launch the Wildlife Photo Fail Awards came from the opportunity to win a wildlife adventure to the Galapagos, South Africa or Costa Rica with Global Wildlife Conservation (https://globalwildlife.tapkat.org/winanadventuretrip/). And who needs a trip like this more than someone looking to hone their photographic skills? So, we decided to honor the best of the worst. With generous sponsorship from Fujifilm, we soon had a X-T20 camera and kit lens to add to the prize. We assembled a crack team of photographer judges from iLCP and National Geographic  – and put out the call to share your biggest flops on Instagram with the hashtag #WildlifePhotoFail.

As with everything new, I was worried the contest itself would be a flop. But the response has been very encouraging, with so many accomplished photographers willing to share their fails. Some of the entries have made me laugh out loud. Below are some of my favorites so far.

Ninja armadillo. This capture by @tiputiusfq illustrates a nine-banded armadillo taking a break from scouring leaf litter for insects to fly through the air in fright.
Can’t catch me! @peruvian.desert.cat shared this image of a pampas cat taking a selfie in front of a trap designed to catch it to fit it with a GPS collar.
Oh deer. I had to take a double take at this deer image from @rchilton24 – a reminder that wildlife photo fails can happen in your own back yard!
Not today thanks. @macstonephoto shares a skeleton in his photo closet of a turtle who had had enough of this portrait session.
This image by @joshkempizzle – of a family of chimps strolling onto the road – reminded me of every time I have had the wrong lens with me for the situation.
And finally, haven’t we all been here? A perfectly composed shot backfires at the last minute as a gust of wind blows this Carunculated Caracara off course – giving @tiputiniusfg this shot…

You can check out the rest of the entries, and continue to share your own on Instagram with the hashtag #WildlifePhotoFail for a chance to win our grand prize. We will be announcing, thanks to our new sponsor Camtraptions, a People’s Choice Awards in late October, so keep sharing and check https://www.globalwildlife.org/wildlifephotofail/.

With thanks to our sponsors:




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Meet the Author
The mission of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. iLCP is a Fellowship of more than 100 photographers from all around the globe. As a project based organization, iLCP coordinates Conservation Photography Expeditions to get world-renowned photographers in the field teamed with scientists, writers, videographers and conservation groups to gather visual assets that are used to create conservation communications campaigns to foment conservation successes. iLCP is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Support our work at this link.