WPY 2014

Photograph Details

Finalist 2014

Amphibians and Reptiles

Sergio Pucci, Costa Rica

The great arrival

The mass nesting, or arribada, of hundreds of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles occurs at Costa Rica’s Ostional National Wildlife Refuge once or twice a year. The endangered turtles arrive from their feeding grounds to mate offshore, and the females then haul themselves up the beach to lay their eggs. Sergio witnessed his first arribada when he was 10. Over the years he has photographed the spectacle many times but, until now, never from the air. Its timing is unpredictable, and it usually peaks at night. For five years Sergio tried to get his dream aerial shot taking off in the dark in an ultralight autogyro so as to be overhead at first light. Arriving at the shore in the early hours to take this shot, he found the beach empty - – all the turtles were in the ocean. When he returned that afternoon, they had crawled back onto sand and he finally had his chance. He focussed on the pattern of their tracks on the wet sand as a way of representing the multitude.

Technical specification

Nikon D800 + 24–70mm f2.8 lens at 70mm; 1/320 sec at f3.5; ISO 800.

Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica: latitude 9.99646, longitude -85.7019 Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica: latitude 9.99646, longitude -85.7019

Ostional Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica

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.

Sergio Pucci

Sergio Pucci, Costa Rica

Sergio originally studied business, photography and graphic design. He has practised photography for more than 18 years, working as a freelance photographer in Costa Rica for the past 11 years. He has taken part in 16 exhibitions worldwide, won numerous awards and published a number of books – his latest looks at Costa Rica from the air. He teaches photography in Incubo, Costa Rica.