WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2011

Animal Portraits

Bence Máté, Hungary

Lunge feeding

Usually only fish get to see the inside of a Dalmatian pelican's beak at such an angle. But on Lake Kerkini in Greece, local fishermen feed the pelicans, which means part of the population is particularly bold and anticipates the meals of fish offal that are thrown to them. Bence planned his trip for February, when most of the pelicans are in their breeding plumage, which includes vibrant orange throat pouches. He constructed a special floating system that would enable him to take unusual perspectives using an underwater camera with a fish-eye lens, operated from a boat some 10 metres away. 'As the pelicans lined up for fish scraps from the fishermen,' says Bence, 'I couldn't believe my luck when they lunged forwards in unison, mouths wide open.'

Technical specification

Nikon D300S + Tokina 10-17mm f3.5-4.5 lens; 1/320 sec at f16; ISO 500; Subal housing; three linked SB-800 flashes; floating remote-control system.

Lake Kerkini, Serres, Greece: latitude 41.21, longitude 23.13 Lake Kerkini, Serres, Greece: latitude 41.21, longitude 23.13

Lake Kerkini, Serres, Greece

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Bence Máté, Hungary

Bence grew up in Hungary in one Europe’s most significant bird migratory and nesting areas. He took up photography when he was 13, and soon his hobby became an obsession. He has been a professional bird photographer since 2004, making a living out of wildlife photography tourism. He was won many awards for his innovative images, often using self-built equipment and hides.

  • Ant rider
  • The great gape
  • Pelican perspective
  • Flight of the hoopoe
  • Brilliant show
  • Great catch
  • The lost supper
  • Workers' reflections
  • Fire on the Pantanal
  • King of the vultures
  • Leg-work
  • Attention time
  • A marvel of ants
  • Caiman's little mouthful
  • Herons in time and space
  • Portrait of a pelican
  • The bird rack
  • Hanger-trap