Swimming in front of this dugong in the Red Sea are juvenile golden trevallies, riding the pressure waves created by its nose. They use the great mammal as protection from predators and also feed on any small creatures it disturbs. The dugong is a tranquil animal, and it used to be an easy target for hunters - its closest modern relative, Steller's sea cow, was hunted to extinction in the eighteenth century. These days, it's more at risk from the loss of its seagrass habitat and from encounters with boats and fishing nets. Though dugongs are slow-moving, this simple portrait required a certain amount of physical exertion, as Douglas, wearing full scuba gear, had to position himself ahead of the dugong, while not letting bubbles spoil the simple scene or scare the animal. 'I had pre-conceived this image,' says Douglas, 'and knew when the shutter clicked that I'd captured the intimate portrait I was after.'
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 16-35mm f2.8 lens; 1/200 sec at f11; ISO 640; Seacam housing; two INON z-220 strobes.
Marsa Alam, Egypt