I am enjoying a great run of success in the most prestigious nature photography contest of them all – the Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
I joined the Mares family three years ago, and since then I’ve been awarded in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition every year. Most of us dream to just be awarded once in the 'Oscars' of wildlife photography, so such regular success is beyond dreams, and I am determined to enjoy it because surely it cannot continue. The biggest reward is because of its profile, I am thrilled with the attention this contest brings to my photography and the issues that I care about.
My winning image this year is called 'Coral Connections' and was entered as an illustration of biodiversity and the connections between species on coral reefs. Like polar environments, coral reefs are an ecosystem on the front line of the climate crisis, and while coral reefs may not be the iconic, poster species of the poles (like penguins and polar bears), they are an environment that harbours huge biodiversity that we risk losing.
The amazing reach of this contest is a wonderful platform for getting these stories to a wider audience. The photos are seen in many exhibitions around the world, and when you see this image in a larger size, you can spot that it contains multiple gobies (one with a copepod parasite) and porcelain crabs. I’ve shot ghost gobies on fans many times, but I chose to enter this composition because it is more complex and involving than most of my similar shots. Visually, I really like the relationships between the colours: orange, blue and white in the frame.
I also had the chance to speak to Channel 4 news, in the UK, about my image and the importance of underwater wildlife photography in documenting the nature of our changing planet, along with other photographers.
I am really proud of my track-record of success in WPY, and it is normally the only contest I enter my photography into. In total, my underwater photos have been awarded in 9 different categories within this prestigious competition over the last 20 years.
The photo was taken in Lembeh, Indonesia, showing ghost gobies on a sea fan, backlit by ambient light. Taken with Nikon D850 and 105mm. Subal housing. Retra Pro flashes. Taken with a long exposure of 1/8th @ f/16, ISO 100.