WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Specially commended 2013

Underwater Worlds

Solvin Zankl, Germany

Pearls of spring

Each year Solvin marks the end of winter by going into the field to photograph toads emerging from hibernation and migrating to their breeding ponds. This time he went to Solling, in western Germany, a wildlife haven with both forests and wetlands. As the ponds began to boil with mating toads, he chose his location and carefully lowered his camera and strobes into the water, trying to avoid disturbing either the toads or the muddy bottom. By linking his camera to his laptop with a special USB wire, he could see all the activity below the surface and take intimate, non-invasive pictures. 'To me the toadspawn looks like threaded black pearls,' says Solvin, 'neatly arranged in the scenery.' He was captivated by the event, as he has been since childhood, and rejoiced in the spring sunlight and the sounds of frogs, toads and running water - 'all somehow reassuring after the long winter'.

Technical specification

Nikon D3s; modified wide-angle lens; 1/250 sec at f8; Seacam housing; three Seacam strobes; remotely triggered using Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 software.

Solling, Germany: latitude 51.7228, longitude 9.62217 Solling, Germany: latitude 51.7228, longitude 9.62217

Solling, Germany

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.