WPY 2015

Photograph Details

Finalist 2015

15–17 Years Old

Juan van den Heever, South Africa

Battle of the bee-eaters

Two southern carmine bee-eaters fly repeatedly at each other, using their long bills to ‘joust like fencers with swords,’ says Juan. He challenged himself to capture a close-up of this action before the end of his trip, but ‘the speed and sheer number of birds was verwhelming,’ he says. With determination and a fast shutter speed, he managed it. Every August, thousands of these strikingly colourful birds form huge breeding colonies on the banks of the Zambezi. Males fight for the best nesting spots on the steepest, highest parts of the banks. Twisting and turning in long aerial pursuits, their mid-air tussles sometimes send rivals tumbling to the ground.

Technical specification

Nikon D4 + 200-400mm f4 lens; 1/4000 sec at f7.1; ISO 1000.

Katima Mullilo,  Namibia: latitude -17.540215, longitude 24.557167 
Katima Mullilo,  Namibia: latitude -17.540215, longitude 24.557167

Katima Mullilo, Namibia

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Juan van den Heever

Juan van den Heever, South Africa

Juan received his first camera for his fifth birthday, and used it to take photographs around his home in South Africa. Several years later he had his first real experience with photography on a family holiday to Cape Town, South Africa, and instantly fell in love with it. Since then, he has frequently accompanied his father on photography trips.