WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Winner 2018

Plants and Fungi

Jen Guyton, Germany / USA

Desert Relic

Jen had trekked all day across the Namib Desert looking for the perfect welwitschia plant to photograph before finally spotting this ragged-leaved subject. Adopting a low, wide angle, she caught the plant’s architecture and vibrant tones against the expansive landscape, just as the Sun was going down. ‘It’s like something out of a Dr Seuss book,’ she says.

The weird and wonderful welwitschia plant can live for up to 1,000 years. Growing from the base, it is comprised of just two slow-growing leaves that creep over the desert throughout the lifetime of the plant. As the centuries take their toll, the leaf ends fray and split taking on the appearance of multiple leaves.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 7D + Sigma 10–20mm f4–5.6 lens at 10mm; 1/100 sec at f22; ISO 400; Venus Laowa flash; Manfrotto tripod

Welwitschia Plains, Namib Desert, Namibia: latitude -22.67576, longitude 15.027589 Welwitschia Plains, Namib Desert, Namibia: latitude -22.67576, longitude 15.027589

Welwitschia Plains, Namib Desert, Namibia

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Jen Guyton

Jen Guyton, Germany / USA

Jen is an ecologist and photographer with a passion for wildlife conservation and communication. She spends much of the year working in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. She is a National Geographic Young Explorer and has a master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University, where she is also pursuing her PhD.