Ondřej Prosický Fotolia collection is as if someone combined every single ‘Wildlife Photograph of the Year’ into one individual portfolio. The clarity and intensity of every shot, whether it’s a domestic dog or polar bear caught in its natural habit, is incredible. We spoke to him to discover more about his passion for photography, wildlife and travel.

Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla, with blue ice glacier, iceberg, in background, Svalbard, Norway

Can you firstly give a little introduction to yourself, what you do and how you came to start contributing to stock? 

I was originally a geologist but currently I am more professional photographer than geologist. In my photographs I am trying to document the behaviour of wild animals in their natural habitat.

I live in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, but I try to hide as often as possible in the nature of mountains on borders of our country and at least six times a year I travel somewhere even further. Ideally the aim is the wilderness where animals are not afraid of people and still behave naturally – these are the places where I can capture interesting stories with my camera.

Eurasian Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo, flying bird with open wings in grass meadow, forest in the background

What has been your most tricky animal or bird to photograph? And what were the difficulties?
Usually it is not so difficult to simply capture the photograph of an animal. It is much more difficult to add something else to make that photo really interesting. I keep in my mind a lot of ideas of specific photographs of specific species – I am trying to think about the right conditions … and I try it again and again till I have the photograph I wanted.

For example currently one of the hardest for me is to capture the ibexes in the Alps. I would love to photograph them duelling during the rut, ideally with the Alpine panorama in the background.

Another example would be mating calls of grouses in Sweden. It is really hard to catch the right conditions. Wildlife photographers must be good meteorologists and must know everything about the species they want to photograph.

In both cases I am trying to capture the dream photograph for four years now.

Antler Alpine Ibex, Capra ibex ibex, with mountain waterfall and rocks and water in background, National Park Gran Paradiso, Italy

Detail portrait of wild cat jaguar, Costa Rica

What’s been the most spectacular place to visit for your work?
For me the most unforgettable journeys were those to the polar bears in the Arctic and to penguins in the South Atlantic. These are remote places where animals behave naturally, unmarked by human activities. Unlike Africa we may still speak of these places as wilderness. It’s a completely different world, where there is always something happening around. The problem is that you can not catch everything at a single moment. The photographer must always decide what is most attractive to him and what to focus on.

Big polar bear on drift ice with snow, blurred sky in background, Svalbard, Norway

What’s the longest you’ve ever waited to capture that ‘perfect shot’?
I must say I am still waiting for the perfect shot! I am fairly critical to my own photographic work and maybe that is the reason I still have the motivation to go out with a camera to the nature. I have few photographs I like even after a long time, but on every single one I can see what I should have done better.

Exceptional photo needs to combine several aspects – attractive animal kind, perfect lighting conditions, nice environment, interesting composition, ideally together with unrepeatable moment of animal behaviour.

The most valuable skill a wildlife photographer needs to have is decisiveness. In the split second – based on current conditions – he needs to correctly decide what and how is most important to photograph.

Yacare Caiman, crocodile with piranha fish in with evening sun, Pantanal, Brazil

What animal or bird have you not photographed yet that you’d really like to?
Long years I am dreaming about shooting the emperor penguins. I already photographed four different species of penguins, including the Patagonian penguin, which is very similar, but as is usual – the dream one attracts me the most. Mainly because of the untouched environment the emperor penguins inhabit in Antarctica. The nature close to the Earth’s poles attracts me in the long term and with this penguin it would kind of click together.

A few years ago I was very close to going there – I had all the plans and the money as well – but it was not certain, whether we would be able to reach the place because of the floating ice. So I postponed my dream, but I know it will come true once.

King penguin colony, many birds together, in Falkland Islands

Can you share with us some of your favorite photos from your portfolio?
I chose photos from the trip to the polar bears at Svalbard in 2013, which was really unforgettable for me.
Polar bear on drift ice with snow feeding bloody kill seal, skeleton and blood, Svalbard, Norway, white big animal in the nature habitat, food in the ice

You can discover more of Ondřej Prosický’s work in his Fotolia portfolio, his website, Facebook and you can connect with him on Twitter.