WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Winner 2013

Urban Wildlife

Pål Hermansen, Norway

Life after rust

Most of the human visitors to the Båstnäs car graveyard in Värmland, Sweden, come to photograph the hundreds of old cars from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, abandoned to a slow, rusty disintegration and the encroaching vegetation. Some are covered in moss, others enveloped by shrouds of brambles. Seeds take root in ripped upholstery, and plants and trees grow out of windows. But though the cars are worthless now to humans, they have been reborn as habitats for all kinds of animals. 'There are more birds nesting here than anywhere else in the neighbourhood,' says Pål. They have become used to the human visitors, and Pål was able to get just a metre or so away from this song thrush nest. Having rejected Saab and VW, Volvo and Benz, the pair had chosen to raise their brood inside a rusty Opel Rekord. The lighting was particularly difficult, and it took days to work out when the sun was in the right place and how to illuminate the nest with indirect flash. Pål 's intention with this wideangle composition was that the viewer should spend time reading and digesting it. 'My preference is always for shots that tell stories.'

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 17mm tilt/shift lens (both tilt and shift enabled); 0.3 sec at f11; ISO 250; radio-triggered indirect flash; Hähnel Giga T Pro II Remote + monitor.

Värmland, Sweden: latitude 59.7294, longitude 13.2354 Värmland, Sweden: latitude 59.7294, longitude 13.2354

Värmland, Sweden

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Pål Hermansen, Norway

A trained dentist and a homeopath, Pål has also written and illustrated more than 30 books. His pictures have been published and exhibited worldwide, and have garnered many prizes in major competitions such as Wildlife Photographer of the Year, World Press Photo and GDT (the Society of German Nature Photographers). His work has also been published in National Geographic, GEO and BBC Wildlife.

  • Life in the balance
  • Shelf life
  • Bumper life