WPY 2015

Photograph Details

Winner 2015

Under Water

Michael AW, Australia

A whale of a mouthful

An imposing Bryde’s whale rips through a mass of sardines, gulping hundreds in a single pass. Photographing this feeding frenzy was a real challenge for Michael. Already knocked clean out of the water by whales on two occasions, he just managed to stay out of the way during this encounter. This scene happened during the annual sardine run, when billions of sardines migrate along South Africa’s Wild Coast, attracting predators such as gannets, dolphins and sharks along the way. Bryde’s whales are among them. This species tends to exploit the activities of other predators, swimming through and engulfing the fish they have herded.

Technical specification

Nikon D3S + 14-24mm f2.8 lens at 14mm; 1/250 sec at f9 (-1 e/v); ISO 800; Ikelite DS‑200 strobe; Seacam housing.


The Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa: latitude -31.465778, longitude 29.733028 The Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa: latitude -31.465778, longitude 29.733028

The Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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Michael AW

Michael AW, Australia

Michael is an author, explorer and conservation photographer. He has won over 60 awards, and was named one of the world’s most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography in 2010. His work has been published in BBC Wildlife Magazine, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Nature, and Ocean Geographic. He is a senior fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers.

  • Manta-ray feast