Here’s how a Sask. wildlife photographer caught his 'Lucky Break'
Joseph Bernacki, CTV News Saskatoon
Published Friday, September 13, 2019 7:08PM CST
A Saskatchewan wildlife photographer is garnering attention around the world for his photo of a mother raccoon poking her head out of an abandoned Ford Pinto in the Sunningdale area.
It’s titled "Lucky Break" and photographer Jason Bantle said it took three years to get the shot.
The first year, the raccoon didn’t come out of the vehicle.
"The second year I went back, again she would not come out during daylight time. The third year I went back. I spent four nights on that particular year and on the fourth night she came out and it was incredible."
Bantle said the anticipation of the moment keeps him patient during that process. The wildlife photographer from Cudworth found his passion for the medium at a young age.
"I've always had a great love of nature. When I was 12-years- old my mother bought me my first bird book. I got my first camera at 16 and went on to do a master's degree in biology."
Bantle's thesis focused on arctic fox ecology. In certain conditions, Bantle must be wary of his natural surroundings for his own personal safety.
"I head up to Canada’s north on an annual basis to the Arctic Ocean ice and I photograph polar bears in their natural habitat and I've had a few close calls.
"You have to be very respectful and when your Inuit friend says 'let’s get going,' you don’t take one more photo, you get going."
With the release of "Lucky Break", Bantle has been nominated for the 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Out of 50,000 entries, 100 photographers were chosen by the Natural History Museum in London, England.
"It's an incredible accolade to have," said Bantle. "I mean to think that this is the longest running wildlife photography competition in the world. To be among that class of people, over 20 years of my photographic career and this is what you strive for. It's a great honor to be recognized internationally."
Through seven galleries, 20 years of work and countless hours in the field, Bantle continues to convey a message of conservation through his photography.
"I would just like to say raccoons are amazing species, I know they are misunderstood and called trash pandas in Toronto."