WPY 2012

Photograph Details

Winner 2012

Creative Visions

Klaus Nigge, Germany

A swirl of flamingos

In winter, the 22-kilometre-long estuary of the Ría Celestún on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula attracts thousands of Caribbean flamingos, which congregate here to feed on the microscopic life in the shallow, briny water. These flamingos – the largest and pinkest of the five species – also use their time in the estuary to engage in synchronous courtship dancing as a prelude to breeding. To get the aerial shot that he wanted that would show the beauty of the mass aggregation of flamingos, with the birds appearing as if one organism, Klaus joined biologists on a regular flamingo count. ‘Taking images out of the door of a plane flying in narrow circles is a challenge,’ says Klaus. But lenses with image stabilisers helped overcome the vibration problem, and ‘the photography in this situation was all about capturing the beauty of pattern, form and colour.’

Technical specification

Nikon D3 + 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 200mm; 1/1600 sec at f5.6; ISO 250.


Yucatan, Mexico: latitude 20.7099, longitude -89.0943 Yucatan, Mexico: latitude 20.7099, longitude -89.0943

Yucatan, Mexico

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Klaus Nigge, Germany