WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Runner-up 2011

Behaviour: Mammals

Richard Herrmann, United States of America

Big-blue mouthful

When news reached Richard that a mass of animals, including blue whales, were feeding on krill near the Los Coronados Islands in Baja California, Mexico, he dropped everything and set off. That same day, he was in the water with the animals. On his first dive, he began photographing a school of market squid feeding on a krill ball. Suddenly, he became aware of a huge shape to his left, moving fast towards another ball of krill near the surface. It was an adult blue whale, probably about 20 metres long. 'Opportunities like this with blue whales are very rare. I knew exactly the timing and distance I needed,' says Richard, 'I just had to swim as hard as I could to get in position and trust my skills to get it right'. He managed six shots before the whale disappeared into the krill. 'Charging through the ball on its side, with throat pleats expanded, the huge whale then gently collapsed them to expel the water and swallowed its meal.'

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D + 15mm fisheye lens; 1/200 sec at f9; ISO 400; Sea & Sea housing.


Baja California, Mexico: latitude 30.83867, longitude -115.29094 Baja California, Mexico: latitude 30.83867, longitude -115.29094

Baja California, Mexico

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Richard Herrmann, United States of America