WPY 2014

Photograph Details

Finalist 2014

Invertebrates

Alex Mustard, United Kingdom

You have been warned

When Alex went diving in the Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, he was on a mission to celebrate the smaller sea creatures. Equipped with a new high-magnification lens, he encountered this variable neon nudibranch, a species of sea slug, crawling across the seabed. Less than two centimetres long, it has green gills on its back and orange mouthparts. It uses its orange, feather-like rhinophores to smell out its prey, primarily sea squirts. It incorporates distasteful chemicals from sea squirts’ skin into slimy mucus, and uses its neon colours to warn predators that it tastes bad. Alex wanted an eye-level view of this unforgettable mollusc. But even with a small aperture it was a challenge. There was little depth of field and the subject was moving – and even a slug’s pace under magnification is surprisingly fast.

Technical specification

Nikon D4 + 105mm f2.8 lens + Nauticam Super Macro Converter; 1/250 sec at f40; ISO 200; Subal ND4 housing; two Inon Z-240 strobes.


Lembeh Strait, Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia: latitude 1.46233, longitude 125.228 Lembeh Strait, Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia: latitude 1.46233, longitude 125.228

Lembeh Strait, Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

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Alex Mustard

Alex Mustard, United Kingdom

Alexander been taking photographs for over 30 years, and his work has won several awards. In 2013, he was named European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the only time an underwater photograph has won the award. He has also been a judge for Wildlife Photographer of the Year. In 2016, he released two books - Underwater Photography Masterclass and Secrets Of The Seas.

  • Rig diver