WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Runner-up 2011

Urban Wildlife

Thomas Peter Peschak, Germany/South Africa

Window on new life

This window looks out onto Malgas Island, once a thriving mining site. In the nineteenth century, the island was covered in a deep layer of droppings from centuries of occupation by seabirds - guano that was dug up and taken to mainland South Africa for sale as fertilizer. Abandoned since the end of the 'white gold' rush in the 1850s, the settlement has been reclaimed by the birds, and the island is now part of South Africa's West Coast National Park. Thomas took his shot from inside a derelict house overlooking the Cape gannet colony that now dominates the island. A feral pigeon from a flock that roosts in the roof space - hangers-on from the days when people lived on the island - is attempting to perch on the window, symbolic of the crossover between the urban world of humans and the lives of wild creatures.

Technical specification

Nikon D700 + 70-200mm f2.8 lens; 1/1000 sec at f16; ISO 320.

Malgas Island, South Africa: latitude -33.0528, longitude 17.9254 Malgas Island, South Africa: latitude -33.0528, longitude 17.9254

Malgas Island, South Africa

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Thomas Peter Peschak, Germany/South Africa

Thomas is an assignment photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He has written and photographed five books and won multiple Wildlife Photographer of the Year and World Press Photo awards. He is a speaker for the National Geographic Live series and in 2015 gave a TED talk titled Dive Into an Ocean Photographer's World.

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