WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Runner-up 2013

Animals in their Environment

Wim van den Heever, South Africa

Surfing delight

Wim began to regret setting out in such a small boat that day. His tough-plastic camera bags were leaking salt water onto his precious camera, the heavy swell made it a challenge to balance, and he had painful cramp in his arm from holding the heavy lens to his eye. 'I had to concentrate hard', Wim says, 'on keeping the dolphins in the viewfinder while not falling out of the boat.' But the moment the mass of bottlenose dolphins exploded in unison, he knew it was all worth it. The perfect backdrop for such a serendipitous moment was the backlit curtain of sparkling spray. Some scientists argue that dolphins don't play for the sheer fun of it in the way we humans do. What Wim observed that day off Port St Johns, South Africa, suggests otherwise.

Technical specification

Nikon D4 + 200-400mm f4 lens; 1/3200 sec at f8 (-0.7 e/v); ISO 1000.


Port St Johns, South Africa: latitude -31.6288, longitude 29.5369 Port St Johns, South Africa: latitude -31.6288, longitude 29.5369

Port St Johns, South Africa

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Wim van den Heever, South Africa

I have had an interest in both photography and nature for as long as I can remember. I come from a family where photography is more a lifestyle than a hobby, and we never missed an opportunity to visit the Southern African Game Parks. So, from an early age, my interest in both photography and the natural world were stimulated and facilitated. It was a natural progression to combine the two when life conspired to ensure that I was placed in a situation to enjoy Wildlife Photography as a profession and lifestyle rather than a hobby. Initially I did do a lot of commercial photography to supplement my income as a wildlife photographer but I very quickly realized that my true passion was with wildlife and nature photography and my efforts were concentrated in making this a reality.

  • Rhino in charge