Czech photographer one of the winners in BBC Wildlife competition

Patrik Bartuška - 'It came from the gloom', photo: CTK

Czech amateur wildlife photographer Patrik Bartuška (37), a tax advisor by profession, was one of those awarded this week by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the London Natural History Museum. His photograph of a tiger-shark – taken in New South Wales, Australia – was selected as one of the five best in the undersea category in the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Mr Bartuška spent almost an hour below the waves in South West Rocks to get the shot.

Patrik Bartuška - 'It came from the gloom',  photo: CTK
A little earlier I spoke to him on a line to London and asked about the winning photo called ‘It came from the gloom’:

“The shot was taken in Australia, where I had been for approximately two months, and the shot was taken on the very last day of diving, in a place I had never heard about! My diving guide suggested we go to South West Rocks – the best place for diving with sharks in Australia. And I was very lucky: the Monday that I went all the operators were closed, so we just hired a boat and were there completely alone. No tourists or anything like that.

“We found the cave and eventually the sharks. It took almost an hour to get the shot. I had to wait because the sharks were afraid of the bubbles that come from the diving equipment and I had to wait until one got close enough because of the lighting conditions.”

How long have you have been photographing now?

Patrik Bartuška - 'Clownfish',  photo:
“I began approximately five years ago and started specifically with landscape and wildlife photography. But I only took up underwater photography earlier this year, in January. So for me it was a big surprise to win a spot in the underwater category.”

Had you ever entered this competition before?

“No, this was the first time.”

So a big success then…

“Yes, I think so.”

It sounds like a lot is going on behind you: what was has the atmosphere in London been like?

“It has been perfect: there was a ceremony two days ago in the museum and that has been followed by a symposium on wildlife photography which has offered a chance to meet many of the professionals working in the field, so very, very interesting.”

The winning photograph of Wildlife Photographer of the Year by Bence Máté,  photo: CTK
As a photographer what are you planning next?

“My next plan is to go to Christmas Island, a tiny island between Australia and Singapore. It belongs to Australia and is great for diving with sharks. In the coming weeks we will also be preparing an expedition to Antarctica which will be very difficult, where we hope to get pictures of marine life just on the breaks, on the icebergs. That is obviously taking a lot of preparation, so we are focusing on that.”