Planktonic animals like this juvenile sharpear enope squid are usually photographed under controlled situations after they’ve been caught. But Fabien is fascinated by the beauty of their living forms and aims to photograph their natural behaviour in the wild. Night diving in deep water off the coast of Tahiti, he was surrounded by a mass of tiny planktonic animals. Apart from the occasional sound of a dolphin, it was silent, and he became fascinated by this tiny squid. Just three centimetres long, it was floating motionless about 20 metres below the surface. It was probably hunting even smaller creatures that had migrated up to feed under cover of darkness. Its transparent body was covered with polka dots of pigment-filled cells, and below its eyes were bioluminescent organs. Knowing it would be sensitive to light and movement, Fabien gradually manoeuvred in front of it, trying to hang as motionless as his subject. Using as little light as possible to get the autofocus working, he finally triggered the strobes and took the squid’s portrait before it disappeared into the deep.
Nikon D800 + 105mm f2.8 lens; 1/320 sec at f16; ISO 200; Nauticam housing; two Inon Z-240 strobes.
Tahiti, French Polynesia
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Fabien Michenet, France
Fabien is an underwater photographer who has lived in French Polynesia for the past six years. His images of rich marine wildlife focus on everything from the smallest animals on a reef to sharks and whales. He has recently completed night-dives off the coast of Tahiti, documenting the diversity of life that migrates up from the deep after dark.