Inside the image
As a studio for colourful and compelling wildlife photography, the world beneath the waves is hard to beat, with coral reef habitat particularly inspirational and productive. The diversity of marine life has called to me for more than 30 years – I’m happiest when watching the daily bustle of the reef residents through my camera.
SWIMMING INTO SPACE
I was scuba diving at Challenger Bay on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef when I came across a 70cm wide giant clam Tridacna gigas with the most amazing markings decorating the fleshy folds of the mantle tissues between its huge shells. It was as if I was seeing the cosmos in miniature, an electrical storm raging around a decaying sun in a far-distant galaxy.
The psychedelic scene begged to be photographed, so I approached cautiously. There was no fear of the sessile mollusc fleeing, of course, but these animals sometimes close up when a diver’s shadow falls across them. I was in luck, able to position my bulky camera housing and flashes a mere 10cm from my obliging subject. Under the magnification of my macro lens, the mesmerising swirl of neon blue striations set my imagination free. I envisioned at least a dozen otherworldy abstract images awaiting creation, all in front of me, all within the universe of this clam’s brilliant smile.