WPY 2012

Photograph Details

Specially commended 2012

Urban Wildlife

Alexander Badyaev, Russia/USA

Midnight snack

Alexander’s research cabin in the Blackfoot Valley, Montana, USA, is permanently occupied. But not by him. He just goes there every so often to work. Instead a range of forest creatures makes full use of the shelter and food remains. He doesn’t see much of them, but there are always signs, particularly in the kitchen. ‘I had long suspected that a family of mice was living under my cooker and tasting my food,’ he says. ‘Then, late one evening, I returned to retrieve a peanut-buttered slice of bread I’d left briefly in the kitchen and discovered a deer mouse sampling it. When it disappeared into the hob, I grabbed my camera, quickly put a flash on the shelf behind the cooker, and when the mouse popped up again, shot a single frame. It took much longer to convince myself to finish my snack.’

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 16-35mm lens at 25mm; 1/200 sec at f18; ISO 250; two Speedlite 430EXII 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

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.

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.

  • Boy meets nature
  • The mouse, the moon and the mosquito