Extending his camera ahead of him using two monopod poles and a float, Valter slipped into the icy water to photograph the walruses he had spotted from his dinghy. This caught the attention of some curious youngsters who began to swim towards him. Exhilarated by this peaceful encounter, Valter captured this intimate portrait from a pole’s length away.
These walruses are likely to live for up to 40 years, spending their days trawling the seafloor, using their whiskers and muzzles to find and extract food. Their thick skin protects them from the cold as they forage mainly for molluscs, such as clams. In the Arctic water, blood flow to the surface of their skin is reduced to retain heat.
Sony ILCE-7RM2 + 28mm f2.8 lens + ultrawide converter; 1/800 sec at f8; ISO 1250; Nimar II housing; Nikonos remote control; Feisol monopod
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.
Valter Bernardeschi, Italy
Valter began to take photographs in the 1970s, first of landscapes and then of animals around the world. His work has been published in National Geographic Magazine and other well-known Italian and international magazines. He is a long-time expert guide for Photo Natural adventures.