WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Winner 2011

Animal Portraits

Marco Colombo, Italy


Snakes can be difficult to find and even more difficult to photograph in an attractive setting. So when Marco found this female grass snake beside a beautiful stream in Lombardy, Italy, he knew he had struck gold. The snake stayed relaxed and motionless - her head held in profile - while Marco set up his tripod to take her portrait. She was probably watching for amphibians such as frogs (grass snakes can swim) and just didn't notice the human behind her. Marco took the decision to use a slow shutter speed to capture the movement of the water. 'I was enchanted by the scene,' he says. 'The beautiful reptile, the polished pebbles, the red roots and the flowing water created the image. I merely had to look in the viewfinder and press the shutter.'

Technical specification

Nikon D700 + 70-200mm f2.8 lens; 1.6 sec at f18; ISO 200; Manfrotto 190PROB tripod + 804CR2 head.

Seisa Valley, Piedmont, Italy: latitude 44.893, longitude 8.88199 Seisa Valley, Piedmont, Italy: latitude 44.893, longitude 8.88199

Seisa Valley, Piedmont, Italy

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.

Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Marco Colombo, Italy

Marco works as a naturalist, wildlife photographer and science communicator. His photographs have won several awards and, along with his papers, have been published in several magazines. He is the author of several books - his latest is I Tesori del Fiume. Marco also leads photo workshops to increase knowledge of species behaviour and identification.

  • Little treasure