Patrik’s goal was to photograph a group of beautiful Banggai cardinalfish, which are found only in the waters off Sulawesi, Indonesia. They are endangered because of overfishing for the aquarium trade. Patrik encountered this scene while diving in the Lembeh Strait to the north. The contrasts of movement and texture entranced him – the anemone’s soft tentacles swaying in the current and the flicks of the angular, patterned fish sheltering within them. During his trip he mostly came across small groups of adults gathered around the coral. But he was after a group associating with an anemone. During the day juveniles use the anemones’ tentacles for protection, either avoiding their stings or being in some way unaffected by them. It took many dives before he found this large grouping. It appeared to Patrik like an underwater fire display, the tentacles like licking flames and the fish like erratic sparks. To capture the moving pattern he chose to shoot from above. Holding his position in the current, he waited for the fish to move so he could frame the composition.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 16–35mm f2.8 lens; 1/8 sec at f9; ISO 320; Seacam housing; Seaflash strobes.
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia
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Patrik Bartuska, Czech Republic
Patrick is a professional wildlife and landscape photographer, who has travelled worldwide to capture diverse wild landscapes, and photograph rare and hard-to-find animals. He has spoken at seminars around the world, and his images have been published and exhibited widely, as well as winning many awards, including in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.