WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Winner 2016

Black and White

Mats Andersson, Sweden

Requiem for an owl

In the first light of dawn, Mats used black-and-white to capture the melancholy moment following the death of this pygmy owl’s partner. The pair had accompanied Mats on his daily walks through the forest during the early spring. He recalls how ‘the owl’s resting posture reflected my sadness for its lost companion’. Soon after he found this owl dead too.

Despite being less than 20 centimetres tall and the smallest owl in Europe, pygmy owls can carry prey almost as big as themselves. Unlike other owl species, pygmy owls do not hunt at night so as to avoid larger owls and other predators. Unfortunately, it seems that this pair may have been targeted by a larger owl defending its territory.

Technical specification

Nikon D4; 300mm f2.8 lens and 2x extender; 1/160 sec at f5.6; ISO 400.


Bashult, Jönköping, Sweden: latitude 57.720566, longitude 14.229741 Bashult, Jönköping, Sweden: latitude 57.720566, longitude 14.229741

Bashult, Jönköping, Sweden

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Mats Andersson

Mats Andersson, Sweden

Mats studied photography at the Industrial Art School in Gothenburg, then worked as an art director and photographer in the advertising industry. He has been Art Director and Photographer at Concret Advertising in Jönköping, Sweden since 1989, and with photo agency Maskot in Stockholm since 2009. He was elected to the prestigious Swedish Association for Nature Photographers in 2011.