Boy meets nature

Alex Badyaev's Image

Each year, on a few warm late-summer evenings, satin moths flutter at the windows of Alex's cabin deep in the Montana wilderness.

Introduced to North America with timber shipments from Europe in the 1920s, they emerge over just a few days in August and are attracted by lights. In turn, they are irresistible lures for the neighbourhood long-legged myotis bats, otherwise restricted to feeding mostly on mosquitoes and caddisflies. 'It took a couple of summers before I figured out how to photograph the scene without overpowering the warm glow from the window lamp or disturbing predators and prey,' says Alex. 'By the time I'd mastered the technical side, my 13-month-old son Victor's love of bat-watching completed the tableau. Here he's standing on his bed, spellbound by the scene unfolding before him.'

Behind the lens

Alex Badyaev

Alex Badyaev


Alex is a Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, USA, and is a regular contributor to several international natural history magazines. His scientific work, nature photography and popular science writing have all earned him major awards. His images tell stories about species, capturing their essence and revealing rarely seen behaviours.

Image details

  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
  • EF 24-105mm lens at 35mm
  • 1/200 sec at f14  •   ISO 320
  • Blackfoot Valley, Montana, USA
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

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