WPY 2012

Photograph Details

Commended 2012

Nature in Black & White

Thomas Hanahoe, UK

A wave of knots

The mudflats of the Wash in East Anglia provide feeding grounds for tens of thousands of knots each year. As the tide floods in, they move ashore to the banks of freshwater lagoons alongside the beach. To catch the birds at high tide, Thom got to the hide at Norfolk’s Snettisham Beach before dawn. ‘As first light spilt across the mudflats,’ he says, ‘I was greeted by the incredible sight of thousands upon thousands of knots roosting together on the sloping bank of a lagoon.’ The shoving of birds competing for space created giant snake-like waves of movement through the flock. ‘To capture the dynamic scene required a substantial depth of field,’ adds Thom, ‘and in the pre-dawn light, even accompanied by a high ISO, this resulted in a very slow shutter speed.’ The image was almost monochrome, and so it was a perfect candidate to develop in black and white.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 500mm f4 lens; 1/30 sec at f16; ISO 1600; hide.


Snettisham beach, Norfolk, UK: latitude 52.86659, longitude 0.446331 Snettisham beach, Norfolk, UK: latitude 52.86659, longitude 0.446331

Snettisham beach, Norfolk, UK

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Thomas Hanahoe, UK

  • Knot lift-off