In­side the im­age

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Contents -

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.

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