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Sunday, June 17, 2012

School of deep-sea diving: Breathtaking underwater photos capture exotic marine life in remote parts of the world

Daring diver in his 60s goes to remote parts of the world to take beautiful pictures

By Emma Reynolds

Sea life through a lens: An Australian sea lion peers playfully into the camera off Hopkins Island South Australia

These are the breathtaking underwater pictures captured by a marine life photographer in the wildest parts of the planet.

David Doubilet's awe-inspiring images were taken in far-flung parts of the Antarctic and around exotic islands.

The vibrant photographs range from cute Australian sea lions peering inquisitively into the lens to a terrifying Great White Shark opening its jaws in South Africa.

I said, no pictures! A great white shark makes a less friendly subject as it tries to bite the camera in Gansbaai, South Africa

Even a black and white scene is utterly beautiful, showing a group of southern stingrays floating above the seabed of the Cayman Islands with sun rays falling from above.

Another fascinating photo shows a chance encounter between a parrot fish and a school of grey grunts in Galapagos.

Intrepid Mr Doubilet is now in his mid-60s but remains unafraid to come face-to-face with predators of the deep.

He has also enlisted fellow adventurers to appear in his photos, with one showing diver Dinah Halstead surrounded by a circle of barracuda in Papua New Guinea.

Happy feet: Chinstrap penguins survey their surroundings from the top of a 'bergy bit', or small ice floe, off Danko Island in the Antarctic Peninsula

In the spotlight: Barracuda encircle daredevil diver Dinah Halstead as intrepid photographr David Doubilet captures the moment in the clear waters of Papua New Guinea

Shimmering surface: A Papuan fisherman stands in his wooden outrigger above schools of flashing baitfish in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Vibrant characters: A chromodoris nudibranch raises its mantle to detect its environment in a white studio, while a spine cheeked clownfish nestles in bleached anemone in a more natural setting of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea

All smiles: A parrotfish seems to grin in its sleep near Heron Island, Great barrier Reef

Sad face: The talented photographer picks out incredible detail in this close-up of a funny-looking shortnose batfish, or Ogcocephalus nasutus

He said: 'People forget that there are more humans that eat sharks than sharks that eat humans and in some areas the shark population is down by 90 per cent.

'For example in China they eat shark soup as a way of proving wealth and success.'

The New York photographer has spent hundreds of hours travelling the world to see the ever more intriguing secrets of the ocean.

He is one of the greatest underwater photographers in the world, and his work in both fresh and salt water has been elevated to new heights with the advent of the digital age.

Between sea and sky: A southern stingray glides across the waved raked sands of North Sound bay, Grand Cayman island

Light and shade: The beautiful pictures have great impact, even in black and white

Fish-eye: A Maori humphead wrasse at Australia's Great Barrier Reef, left, and a male tomato clownfish, right, guarding his clutch of eggs - which hatch in a week

Amazing aerial view: A De Havilland Beaver Biplane delivers scuba divers to Hook and Hardy Reef on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Vast and blue: A red Waco biplane over Key West and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - the birth place of the Gulf Stream

He said: 'That Cartier-Bresson moment that is hard to achieve on land is 10 times harder to achieve underwater, because you’re swimming around with a large housing with arms as long as 24 inches long and attached to the end of the arms are your strobes.

'Sometimes you’re using six or seven strobes or large surface-powered HMI movie lights.'

One picture shows a male tomato clownfish guarding his clutch of developing eggs in the Philippines, while another captures a weedy sea dragon patrolling a Tasmanian kelp forest.

Mr Doubilet said: 'There are always moments that are dangerous. I wouldn't say I have ever been scared as such but I can't deny I have certainly put myself in many dangerous situations.

Unearthly imagery: A weedy sea dragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, patrols a kelp forest at Waterfall Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Green menace: A baby Nile crocodile hides in a veil of algae in the Ncamasere Channel of the Pan handle region of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, Africa

Nice to sea you: A parrot fish confronts a school of grey grunts in the Galapagos Islands

'One that sticks in my head is when we were doing night dives in a river in Okavango Deta, northern Botswana.

'The water was full of crocodiles and hippos and because they follow sound and movement we couldn't go back to shoot in the same place twice.

'There was a mother and baby hippo close by and they can be very defensive in that situation. Not to mention the crocodile eyes glowing all around us.

'Being faced with something like that is much more intimidating than a shark.'

Hidden world: A stack of mating loggerhead turtles in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Key Largo Florida

Picturesque: Australian sea lions play in a sea grass meadow off Hopkins Island, South Australia



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