Julian is drawn to the striking patterns formed when animals group together, whether birds, mammals or, in this case, fish - a giant school of them. Here the silversides swirl as one to escape the potential (human) predator, on the basis that when each individual is part of a huge, flashing, moving group, it has less chance of being caught, both statistically and because of the confusion effect. Julian was watching them five metres down underneath a wharf on the island of Samarai in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. 'I would like to say that I had a creative vision in my mind,' he says. 'I knew that the coral-encrusted pier legs formed strong and interesting lines, but in truth I was more concerned with the difficulties in getting the shot.' To stop his air bubbles from invading the scene, he had to hold his breath while ascending slowly, something that if done without caution can cause a pulmonary embolism. 'I just let the fish do their own thing and photographed them as they formed this gloriously abstract pattern above me.'
Nikon D7000 + Tokina 10-17mm f3.5-4.5 lens; 1/200 sec at f8; ISO 100; two INON strobes; Seacam Prelude housing.
Samarai, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea
Julian Cohen, United Kingdom / Australia
As a small boy I watched the Jacques Cousteau documentaries on television, entranced by the world under the sea. After a career in the financial markets I was fortunate to be able to go exploring the oceans myself. To see the beautiful places that Cousteau visited before they are gone forever. To photograph the animals and behaviours that Cousteau saw, and many that have been discovered since, that he didn't get a chance to see.