Desert survivor

Sergey Gorshkov's Image

Flying over the desert dunes of northern Namibia in 2013, Sergey spotted many gemsbok – mostly dead, following the worst drought in the region for a generation.

When the pilot pointed out a live one, Sergey had only seconds to capture the solitude of the hardy survivor, set against the silky ripples of the dunes. Gemsbok are remarkably adapted to arid environments, surviving for weeks without water. They are able to increase their internal body temperature as high as 45°C, to cope with high external temperatures. Tissues in their long nose expose a large area of veined tissue to the surrounding air, cooling the blood flow beneath.


Behind the lens

Sergey Gorshkov

Sergey Gorshkov

Russia

Sergey's early years were spent in a Siberian village, but it was in his 30s that he discovered photography as a way to re-engage with nature. He sold his business and took up photography, determined to record the richness of Russia's wilderness. He is widely published, has four books to his name and is a National Geographic contributor. He has been a regular winner since 2007.

Image details

  • Nikon D4
  • 70-200mm f2.8 lens
  • 1/8000 sec at f5.6
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.

More images from Sergey Gorshkov

View all

Discover more

Sign up to our newsletter

Get email updates about Wildlife Photographer of the Year news, events, science, products and fundraising activities. You must be over the age of 13. Privacy notice.