WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Finalist 2016

Under Water

Joris van Alphen, The Netherlands

Current riches

In the strong current, with sea bamboo reaching up behind him, Joris struggled to keep the elements lined up. Eventually, a few seabream passed by completing the composition – their silvery forms singing out against the turquoise, nutrient-rich water. ‘I also liked the shape and colour of the split-fan kelp,’ says Joris.

False Bay is where two formidable currents meet, warm and cold swirling together creating a unique ecosystem. Once teeming with a diversity of fish, populations have collapsed after years of exploitation. Hottentot seabream are among the few fish that are still easy to find in this boulder-reef community.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + Sigma 15mm f2.8 lens; 1/60 sec at f14; ISO 400; Nauticam housing + dome; two Inon Z-240 strobes.


False Bay, South Africa: latitude -34.254612, longitude 18.481056 False Bay, South Africa: latitude -34.254612, longitude 18.481056

False Bay, South Africa

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Joris van Alphen, The Netherlands

Joris specialises in stories about nature and science. Growing up with biologist parents, he embarked on his first field trip to Africa at the age of three. He went on to study biology, but abandoned a career in science to become a full-time photographer. His work has since spanned five continents. Joris is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.