WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Winner 2017

Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles

Brian Skerry, USA

The ancient ritual

Like generations before her, this leatherback turtle journeys back to the ocean. Nesting turtles were not seen every night and were often too far away. When at last Brian got the encounter he wanted – under clear skies, with no distant city lights – he hand-held a long exposure under the full moon, artfully evoking a timeless atmosphere.

Leatherbacks are the largest, fastest, deepest-diving and widest-ranging sea turtles. Much of their lives are spent at sea, shrouded in mystery. Sandy Point provides critical nesting habitat, but elsewhere, leatherbacks are not so lucky. They are threatened by fisheries, coastal development and climate change.

Technical specification

Nikon D5; 17–35mm f2.8 lens at 24mm; 10 sec at f8; ISO 1600; Nikon flash at 1/64th power and tungsten gel; Nikon remote release.


Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands: latitude 17.682316, longitude -64.89887 Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands: latitude 17.682316, longitude -64.89887

Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

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Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry, USA

Brian is a photojournalist specialising in marine wildlife and underwater environments. He's the author of 10 books and has lectured at venues such as the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), The National Press Club in Washington, DC, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He has held solo exhibitions in cities such as Perpignan, Geneva, Barcelona, Lisbon, Shanghai and Washington, DC. In 2014 he was named a National Geographic Photography Fellow.

  • Feast of the ancient mariner
  • Last of the tuna
  • The commodity market
  • Scraping the bottom
  • The true cost of shrimps
  • Waste products
  • The sacrifice
  • Creative dining
  • Dolphin downtime
  • Tears of blood