WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Winner 2016


Luis Javier Sandoval, Mexico

Star player

As Luis slipped into the water, curious young sea lions came over for a better look. Grabbing a starfish, one of the pups started throwing it to him. ‘I love the way sea lions interact with divers,’ says Luis. Shooting towards the dawn light he created an artistic impression of their playful nature.

Young California sea lions often use games to hone their skills, especially their fishing techniques. This pup might have been assessing the edibility of the starfish, turning it around for examination. Another youngster slips behind, close to the rocks, its strong fore-flippers enabling it to manoeuvre in the tight space with precision and agility.

Technical specification

Nikon D7000; Tokina 10-17mm f3.5-4.5 lens at 10mm; 1/8 sec at f13; ISO 100; Aquatica housing; two Sea & Sea YS-110 strobes.

Espíritu Santo Island, Mexico: latitude 24.467207, longitude -110.34385 Espíritu Santo Island, Mexico: latitude 24.467207, longitude -110.34385

Espíritu Santo Island, Mexico

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Luis Javier Sandoval

Luis Javier Sandoval, Mexico

Luis is an underwater photographer who travels across Mexico to capture the beauty and behaviour of its animals and ecosystems. His images have won awards in several international photography competitions and have been published in a number of magazines and coffee table books.

  • Dive buddy