The Canadian Geographic Magazine Wildlife contest winning photo of a Northern Pygmy Owl. (Anthony Bucci Photography)

The Canadian Geographic Magazine Wildlife contest winning photo of a Northern Pygmy Owl. (Anthony Bucci Photography)

North Island photographer wins big prize for wildlife photo

Anthony Bucci continues to win awards for his fantastic photography skills.

North Islander Anthony Bucci continues to win awards for his fantastic photography skills.

Bucci was busy giving wildlife tours on the mainland, but was able to do an interview with the North Island Gazette via email about his latest photography contest win, which you can read about in full below.

Tyson Whitney: Hi Anthony, how did it feel to win the Canadian Geographic Magazine Wildlife contest?

Anthony Bucci: I was extremely happy when I found out I won the contest. This contest gets a lot of entries and some great photographers participate in this contest as well, so I knew the odds of winning would be a tough task. I’m truly honoured to have received first place. I’ve won a lot of contests and photography awards, but this contest was a big win for me personally and for my wildlife photography. I have a following of around 50,000 people and they were more excited than I was it seemed like.

Tyson Whitney: How long have you been photographing wildlife?

Anthony Bucci: I’ve been doing wildlife photography for six years now, I also do a lot of sports photography. I’ve been doing wildlife photography professionally for about two and half years now and leading all sorts of wildlife photography tours, workshops and public presentations all over the lower mainland and Vancouver Island about my adventures in wildlife photography and my favourite subject, owls!

Tyson Whitney: What kind of prize do you get for winning the contest?

Anthony Bucci: I won a $1400 prize pack – Benro carbon tripod, Nikon COOLPIX camera, Tenba Solstice Camera backpack, Black Rapid camera shoulder strap, and I will be published in the May/June 2020 Canadian Geographic magazine issue.

Tyson Whitney: Can you walk me through how you took the winning photo?

Anthony Bucci: Yes, I was driving down one of the many logging roads on the North Island near Port McNeill.

As I was approaching the area I was in, I noticed a small bird in a small tree on the side of the road. When I got closer I noticed it was a Northern Pygmy Owl. I quickly parked my truck and grabbed my camera.

As I was getting my camera from the passenger seat I looked over my shoulder to see if the owl was still around. It was gone, it flew off and I didn’t see where it went. These Northern Pygmy Owls are about the size of your fist or a pop can fully grown. I knew finding it again would be tough. I went for a walk around and I heard it calling. A series of short but loud toots.

I was able to relocate the owl and slowly approach it hoping it wouldn’t take off again. I would take a couple pictures and take two steps forward then take a few more pictures.

As I kept taking a couple steps forward I found myself about 15 feet away from the owl. The little owl and I spent about 45 minutes together capturing hundreds of unique images, not actually knowing at the time that I was capturing the winning image for the 2020 wildlife contest for Canadian Geographic Magazine.

Tyson Whitney: When did you move to the North Island and how have you enjoyed your experience living here so far?

Anthony Bucci: I moved to the North Island with my family back in June of 2019. We love it up here. We like the slow pace of life, no traffic, no crowds, and being in a wilderness setting. I’m just loving it up here. My son has fit in well making new friends and doing well in the hockey community.

Tyson Whitney: Anything else about your photography you’d like to mention?

Anthony Bucci: For more of my wildlife images please visit my facebook page @Abucciphotography and my website I sell all my images in a variety of prints in canvas, metal, photo paper, picture cards, calendars, coffee table owl photo book.