WPY 2014

Photograph Details

Finalist 2014

Amphibians and Reptiles

Hannes Lochner, South Africa

Spikes and stars

Hannes was based in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a protected area of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. The desert is a hot, harsh place, but the creatures that live there are experts at making the most of every opportunity. It had drizzled the night before, bringing out a host of insects and, in turn, geckos looking for a meal. The Bibron’s thick-toed geckos became acrobats, running, jumping and leaping from bush to bush to catch insects. ‘They would run across our tent roofs, leaping up to grab a meal mid-air,’ Hannes says. After one such leap, this individual landed on a tumbleweed (the dried, detached, seed-dispersing part of a plant, blown along by the wind) that was glowing in the light of the campfire. Gambling on capturing the Milky Way as a backdrop, Hannes risked a long exposure. Using soft flash to freeze the gecko as it paused, he managed to capture the spiky reptile, the spiky seedpods and the stars.

Technical specification

Nikon D3s + 16mm f2.8 lens; 73 sec at f4; ISO 3200; Speedlight Kit R1C1; Benbo tripod.


Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa: latitude -26.4739, longitude 20.6133 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa: latitude -26.4739, longitude 20.6133

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

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Hannes Lochner

Hannes Lochner, South Africa

Hannes’ love of nature began with childhood visits to game reserves from his South African home. He went on to study graphic design, became a river guide and travelled the world. When he returned to South Africa, he pursued his various interests until 2007, when he decided to become a wildlife photographer full time. He has won several awards and published three books.

  • Curiosity and the cat
  • Lion by lightning