Tag Archives: Body Impoltic

Underwater Photographs: Glorious Fish

Laurie says:

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


scorpion fish_1200

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 fish_1200

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


Additional images

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.

The Art and Science of Sushi

Laurie and Debbie say:

We’ve all had the experience of looking at a beautiful display of sushi, in a window or in a photograph or on a tray at our table, and feeling like we’re in the presence of art. And, in a sense, we often are: Japanese sushi chefs pride themselves on the beauty of their sushi, and the best of them make extraordinarily beautiful displays.

Sushi art goes one step further. Johnny at Spoon and Tamago explains:

Based in Tokyo, Takayo Kiyota is a self-proclaimed illustrator and makizushi artist who goes by the name Tama-chan. What exactly is a makizushi artist, you might wonder? Well have a look below. Tama-chan lays her ingredients just so, visualizing in her head how the cross-section – her creation – will look once cut.

“I never know what the inside looks like so I’m never sure if it will come out the way I imagined. And I can’t make edits once it’s done,” writes Tama-chan. “Facial expressions are especially difficult because small ingredients or overly exerted force when wrapping can completely throw things off. It’s always a special moment when I make the first incision to reveal the image.”

While much of Tama-chan’s sushi is either fanciful (mermaids, demons) or working with the familiar (famous paintings, everyday logos), we were charmed by her light-hearted take on naked men. Keep reading to see her amazing scientific sushi.


Without taking away from the sheer whimsy of these men, we can’t help but notice that: they are visually diverse, they are not sexualized, and they are rare examples of male nudity used to convey charm and silliness. Our experience in Japan in the late 1990s through middle 2000s was that there was a lot of unwillingness to show penises: things may have changed, or sushi art may be different than paintings or photographs, but there’s probably still some element of transgression in Tama-chan’s choice of subject here.

Her tour de force (of what we’ve seen) is this roll which, depending on where you cut it, takes you through the developmental cycle of an embryo.



It’s art. It’s science. It’s sushi. It’s delightful.

Thanks to Robbie Gonzalez at io9 for discovering these.