WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Winner 2011

Urban Wildlife

Alexander Badyaev, Russia/USA

Boy meets nature

Each year, on a few warm late-summer evenings, satin moths flutter at the windows of Alex's cabin deep in the Montana wilderness. Introduced to North America with timber shipments from Europe in the 1920s, they emerge over just a few days in August and are attracted by lights. In turn, they are irresistible lures for the neighbourhood long-legged myotis bats, otherwise restricted to feeding mostly on mosquitoes and caddisflies. 'It took a couple of summers before I figured out how to photograph the scene without overpowering the warm glow from the window lamp or disturbing predators and prey,' says Alex. 'By the time I'd mastered the technical side, my 13-month-old son Victor's love of bat-watching completed the tableau. Here he's standing on his bed, spellbound by the scene unfolding before him.'

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + EF 24-105mm lens at 35mm; 1/200 sec at f14; ISO 320; remote flashes.


Blackfoot Valley, Montana, USA: latitude 46.9521, longitude -112.719 Blackfoot Valley, Montana, USA: latitude 46.9521, longitude -112.719

Blackfoot Valley, Montana, USA

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Alexander Badyaev, Russia/USA

Professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, USA, Alexander is a regular contributor to several international natural history magazines. His scientific work, nature photography and popular science writing have all been recognised with major awards. His images tell stories about species, capturing their essence and revealing rarely seen behaviours.

  • Midnight snack
  • The mouse, the moon and the mosquito