WPY 2014

Photograph Details

Winner 2014

Birds

Bence Máté, Hungary

Herons in time and space

Bence had set up his hide to overlook Lake Csaj in Kiskunság National Park, Hungary. He had a specific image in mind and had planned to use both artificial and natural light. His subject was the shy grey heron. To overcome the various technological challenges of a night-time shot, he had built two timing devices for his camera to execute the single exposure. One device moved the focus, while the other adjusted the aperture within a single frame, so both the herons and the stars were in focus. It took 74 nights in the hide before the conditions were right and it all came together. The surface of the lake was still, reflecting the stars, and the sky was clear and motionless. Just after midnight, the seven stars of the Plough (part of the Ursa Major constellation) slid into position above the glow of a distant town. Bence took the shot, with both the stars and herons sharp, but with traces of the birds’ movement leaving ghostly impressions against the sky. Blending technology and passion in a masterful manner, Bence had finally created a picture that he had planned for many years – of herons imprinting their images in time and space.

Technical specification

Nikon D800 + Sigma 15mm f2.8 lens; 32 sec (1 sec at f10, then 31 sec at f2.8) + two custom-made gadgets; ISO 2000; four flashes; tripod; hide.


Kiskunság National Park, Hungary: latitude 46.8373, longitude 19.1943 Kiskunság National Park, Hungary: latitude 46.8373, longitude 19.1943

Kiskunság National Park, Hungary

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Bence Máté, Hungary

Bence grew up in Hungary in one Europe’s most significant bird migratory and nesting areas. He took up photography when he was 13, and soon his hobby became an obsession. He has been a professional bird photographer since 2004, making a living out of wildlife photography tourism. He was won many awards for his innovative images, often using self-built equipment and hides.

  • Lunge feeding
  • Ant rider
  • The great gape
  • Pelican perspective
  • Flight of the hoopoe
  • Brilliant show
  • Great catch
  • The lost supper
  • Workers' reflections
  • Fire on the Pantanal
  • King of the vultures
  • Leg-work
  • Attention time
  • A marvel of ants
  • Caiman's little mouthful
  • Portrait of a pelican
  • The bird rack
  • Hanger-trap