WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Commended 2013

Behaviour: Birds

Steve Race, United Kingdom

True love

Northern gannets show impressive devotion to each other, pairing for life and returning to the same nest site each year to breed. At the seabird colony on Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast, Steve has watched gannet behaviour for a number of years. 'Many times I have seen a male offer the female a gift such as a feather or blade of grass,' he says. 'But on this occasion I was amazed to see the male give his partner a necklace of red campion.' Gannets are beautiful birds but their bright white plumage can be challenging to photograph in the contrasting coastal light conditions. Here the challenge was also to create a composition that would reflect the devotion between the pair. The gift was the soft evening light that enhanced the tenderness of the moment.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark III + 500mm f4 lens; 1/800 sec at f6.3 (+0.7 e/v); ISO 400.


Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire, UK: latitude 54.1466, longitude -0.162144 Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire, UK: latitude 54.1466, longitude -0.162144

Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire, UK

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Steve Race

Steve Race, United Kingdom

Steve has had a keen interest in wildlife and the natural world from a very early age. His parents love the outdoors and even though they are not experts they helped him learn about the natural world around him. He then started to take a keen interest in wildlife and joined the YOC (Young Ornithologists Club) and what started out as an interest soon turned in to a passion. It was a biology teacher from his secondary school who introduced him to wildlife photography. In 1985 he bought his first SLR camera a Zenith E, this was obviously a film camera in which he took some great images. He then entered the era of digital photography and purchased a Canon 300D and the rest is history. Steve has lived in the Yorkshire coast area all his life and has accumulated a vast knowledge of the different habitats and wildlife of this incredible coastline. He has a true passion for seabirds and you will often find him with his camera at Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve where he also works part-time as Community Education and Outreach Officer for the RSPB. In addition to his role for the RSPB he is a Director of Yorkshire Coast Nature which is a nature tourism company based on the Yorkshire coast – www.yorkshirecoastnature.co.uk. The company specialises in nature tours, photography workshops, talks/lectures and exhibitions. Steve’s work has been published in several magazines and publications and he has undertaken projects for the RSPB, National Trust and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. He has also worked with the national media and appeared on the BBC's Countryfile, Newsround and regional television programmes.