WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Winner 2011

Underwater Worlds

Paul Souders, USA

The grace of giants

'Even before I slid off the iceberg into the sea, my heart was racing and my lips were turning blue,' says Paul. 'I had no idea what to expect, other than that, under water, these huge masses of flesh and tusk would swim with grace and power. And that's what I wanted to show.' Paul had gone to Svalbard in Arctic Norway hoping to photograph walruses under water. He knew they could be dangerous, but he planned to appear as unthreatening as possible and hoped that the walruses would just be curious about him. The first sight of one approaching out of the gloom was the gleam of white tusk. Paul instinctively used the glass dome of his camera housing as a shield. The walrus investigated him, pressing up against the dome, while its giant herd-mates slowly circled Paul. 'Their curiosity satisfied,' says Paul, 'they moved off in search of something more entertaining than a hyperventilating photographer.'

Technical specification

Canon 1Ds II + 16-35mm lens; 1/160 at f6.3; Seacam housing.


Tiholmane Island, Svalbard, Norway: latitude 76.980835, longitude 21.973888 Tiholmane Island, Svalbard, Norway: latitude 76.980835, longitude 21.973888

Tiholmane Island, Svalbard, Norway