WPY 2015

Photograph Details

Finalist 2015

Birds

Charlie Hamilton James, UK

Inside job

Charlie wanted to capture an African vulture feeding scrum from its centre, so he positioned a specially adapted camera inside multiple carcasses. After three weeks and thousands of photographs ‘this was the only shot that worked,’ he says. The low angle captured the action as these endangered Rüppell’s and white-backed vultures gorged on carrion and bone. Vultures use cunning tactics to locate carcasses, which include looking for behavioural cues from other vultures. They also keep an eye out for eagles, which are more likely to spot a kill first, following them to the carcass, tucking in once the sharpbeaked eagles have made the first incision.

Technical specification

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 + 7-14mm f4 lens at 7mm; 1/500 sec at f5.6; ISO 800; PocketWizard remote release.


Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: latitude -2.333795, longitude 34.832108 Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: latitude -2.333795, longitude 34.832108

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Charlie Hamilton James, UK

Charlie is a National Geographic magazine photographer who specialises in conservation issues with particular interest in Africa and the Amazon.

  • Light path
  • Lookout for lions
  • Treading water
  • Filthy riches
  • Wild West stand-off
  • Children of the rainforest
  • The beautiful end
  • Big chick check-up
  • Patient care
  • Vultures as individuals
  • Vultures as commodities
  • The last stand