WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Runner-up 2013

Behaviour: Birds

Charlie Hamilton James, United Kingdom

Light path

This dazzling picture of a kingfisher was taken on a river in southwest England, close to where Charlie lives. He has been passionate about kingfishers since he was a teenager, and as with all his photography, he tries to devise new ways to present familiar scenes and subjects. To create this image took two days and a lot of prior experimentation. Charlie lit the kingfisher's flight path artificially, while simultaneously creating a shadow on the bank to highlight the colourful trajectory. Firing two strobes at the end of the exposure caught the detail of the head and wings. The result is a vivid scene, showing not only the kingfisher taking a fish to its young in their nest hole but also the family's riverine territory. The other parent is on a perch downstream, busy digging a new nest for a second brood.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 24mm f1.4 lens + cable release; 1/6 sec at f11; ISO 400; two Canon strobes + one 2.5kw blonde light.


River Boyd, South Gloucestershire, UK: latitude 51.50232, longitude -2.37505 River Boyd, South Gloucestershire, UK: latitude 51.50232, longitude -2.37505

River Boyd, South Gloucestershire, UK



Love this image?

Choose your favourite from this year's collection. You can only choose once.

Top five favourites

Charlie Hamilton James, United Kingdom

  • Lookout for lions
  • Treading water