I’m back from a vacation in Hawaii spent mostly snorkling and looking at beautiful reef fish and learning more about how to identify them. And eating lots of Japanese food. These photos of fish seemed the perfect thing to blog. The fish I saw were this beautiful although not, of course, so finely composed in images.
Alan Taylor wrote in In Focus in the Atlantic about these amazing underwater photos:
Organizers of the Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest have just announced their winning photos for 2016. The winner Davide Lopresti beat entrants from 54 different countries with his portrait of a spiny seahorse taken in Trieste, Italy. Prizes and commendations were also handed out in a number of categories, including Wide Angle, Macro, Wrecks, Behavior, Up & Coming, and, in British waters, Wide Angle, Compact, and Macro shots. UPY has been kind enough to share some of this year’s honorees with us below.
Hunting Long Nosed Hawkfish. Highly Commended, Behaviour. I love looking for Longnose Hawkfish. In the Maldives, the place to look for them is in the bushes of Black Frondy Coral. They are very skittish subjects at the best of times, some will swin off, and some will hang around. This little guy didn’t mind me looking at him, and only by studying him over a few minutes did I sense he was doing something unusual. Without warning, he shot off his perch to return a few seconds later with something in his mouth. I aimed my camera as best I could, and tripped the shutter. It was only later when I reviewed the image in my hotel room did I realise what I had actually captured. By Damien McGuirk
Lace Model. Highly Commended, Macro. This weedy scorpionfish was surrounded by many photographers when I found it. When it was my turn, I only had four minutes left before needing to ascend, so I took several shots in a hurry. I felt so disappointed and kept thinking about how beautiful it looked before. I decided to go back the following day. This also gave me more time to consider and manage a unique way to present her charm better. The characteristic of this fish is her beautiful lace, so I thought backlighting it would emphasize its details. I placed a light on the right back of this fish, facing left front and took several shots. While I was adjusting the settings on the camera, she suddenly turned about 80 degrees as can be seen on the picture. The angle, light, and position were perfect. Click! Taken near Anilao, Philippines. By Qing Lin
Goby on a Sea Pen. Commended, Macro. Gobies on sea pens and whip corals are a very common subject for macro photography and I’m always trying to come up with a new way of shooting them. I have had many attempts to get a shot like this with the snooted strobe either mounted on camera or off camera on a tripod but could never get the positioning of the narrow beam just right while trying to manage the camera as well. I was finally able to get the shot I wanted by using our dive guide to position the snoot where I wanted it leaving me free to concentrate on getting the shot. Taken in Anilao, Philippines. By Ross Gudgeon
Planktonic Predator. Runner Up, British Macro. In the summer of 2015, Scottish Natural Heritage asked a dive team to conduct site monitoring of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) which included North Rona, which is where this image was taken. We had come to the end of a dive inside a cave. Just before we reached the surface we noticed an unusual amount of zooplankton which had become trapped inside the cave entrance. We then spotted a couple of tiny, post-larval monkfish feeding on the plankton, something none of us had ever seen. Getting an in-focus shot with my macro lens was easier said than done with prevailing swell, but I managed a few before the boat came to pick us up. By George Stoyle
(all images © UPY)
I’m looking forward to my own future adventures looking at glorious fish.