WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Finalist 2017

Animal Portraits

Klaus Nigge, Germany

Bold eagle

After several days of constant rain the bald eagle was soaked to the skin. ‘As the eagle edged nearer, picking up scraps, I lowered my head, looking through the camera to avoid direct eye contact,’ says Klaus. His low perspective and simple composition concentrates the portrait on the eagle’s expression, enhanced by the overcast light.

Opportunists with a penchant for fish, bald eagles gather at Dutch Harbor to take advantage of the fishing industry’s leftovers. After dramatic declines in the twentieth century, the species has started to recover, but the birds are still poisoned by eating carrion containing toxic lead ammunition. A ban was recently overturned in the USA.

Technical specification

Nikon D200; 200–400mm f4 lens and 1.4x extender; 1/80 sec at f10; ISO 500.

Dutch Harbor, Amaknak Island, Alaska, USA: latitude 54.637882, longitude -165.02861 Dutch Harbor, Amaknak Island, Alaska, USA: latitude 54.637882, longitude -165.02861

Dutch Harbor, Amaknak Island, Alaska, USA

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Love this image?

Choose your favourite from this year's collection. You can only choose once.

Top five favourites

Klaus Nigge

Klaus Nigge, Germany

Klaus is a professional photojournalist with a degree in biology. He is a past president of GDT (the Society of German Nature Photographers). His stories are published in several magazines, mainly in National Geographic and GEO. He has also published five books, on Kamchatka, American bald eagles, European bison, European cranes and whooping cranes.

  • A swirl of flamingos