WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Winner 2017

Earth’s Environments

Laurent Ballesta, France

The ice monster

As soon as he saw the magnificent ice giant, Laurent craved to reveal its hidden depths. It took many hours to check out the location and prepare the shots but finally Laurent and his team were ready. Using a wide-angle lens they snapped 147 different images over three days. After careful stitching, the final image was assembled and ready to view.

Trapped by the surrounding ice field, the iceberg floats safely above the sea floor. When free to roam, however, these icebergs can gouge great marks across the ocean bed as they are turned about by the wind, current and tide. The curves and curlicues of the scars leave a record of the past that scientists can use to study climate change.

Technical specification

Nikon D4S; 13mm f2.8 lens; 1/30 to 1/60 sec at f6.3 (147 stitched images); ISO 3200; Seacam housing; flashlights.


Îlot de la Vierge, Géologie Archipelago, Antarctica: latitude -66.663055, longitude 140.00171 Îlot de la Vierge, Géologie Archipelago, Antarctica: latitude -66.663055, longitude 140.00171

Îlot de la Vierge, Géologie Archipelago, Antarctica

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

Laurent Ballesta

Laurent Ballesta, France

Coming from the coastal region of Montpellier in France, Laurent discovered the sea at an early age. While studying benthic ecology at university he discovered a new species of fish in the Mediterranean. He has published portfolios in many international magazines and appears on French television as a scientific advisor in marine environment for the show Ushuaïa Nature.

  • Swim gym