WPY 2015

Photograph Details

Finalist 2015

The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: single image

Thomas P Peschak, Germany/South Africa

The shark surfer

A curious blacktip shark sidles up to a paddling surfer. This popular dive site is the perfect place to test a prototype surfboard with an electromagnetic shark deterrent. ‘I wanted to illustrate a non-lethal approach to mitigating the shark-surfer conflict,’ explains Thomas, who used the complementary forms to suggest peaceful coexistence. Jelly-filled pores on a shark’s snout, called ampullae of Lorenzini, can sense electricity, able to detect even the minute muscle contractions of prey preparing to flee. This hi-tech board attempts to exploit this sensitive trait by creating an electrical field that repels the shark, causing it to flee to a safer distance.

Technical specification

Nikon D700 + 16mm lens; 1/1600 sec at f18; ISO 500; Subal housing.

Aliwal Shoal, Durban, South Africa: latitude -30.92974, longitude 30.552647 Aliwal Shoal, Durban, South Africa: latitude -30.92974, longitude 30.552647

Aliwal Shoal, Durban, South Africa

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Thomas P Peschak, Germany/South Africa

Thomas is an assignment photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He has written and photographed five books and won multiple Wildlife Photographer of the Year and World Press Photo awards. He is a speaker for the National Geographic Live series and in 2015 gave a TED talk titled Dive Into an Ocean Photographer's World.

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  • Tree of life
  • Goblets of desire
  • Green haven
  • The night shift
  • Crabzilla