WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Finalist 2016

Under Water

Ralph Pace, USA

Giant-killer

The struggle between this California sea lion and an ocean sunfish lasted almost an hour. ‘The fish would dive to escape,’ says Ralph, ‘then both would surface further away, thrashing madly. As they looked eye to eye, the fish seemed almost to plead for its life.’ In the end the sea lion secured its meal.

Sunfish, Mola mola, are the world’s heaviest bony fish, with adults weighing up to two tonnes. This one is a juvenile, and although it’s smaller than an adult its skin is already tough as rubber. Being ungainly swimmers, sunfish are no match for agile sea lions with their powerful jaws and large canines.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark II; Sigma 15mm f2.8 lens; 1/200 sec at f7.1; ISO 400; Aquatica housing; two Sea & Sea strobes.


Nine Mile Bank, San Diego, California, USA: latitude 32.649662, longitude -117.153534 Nine Mile Bank, San Diego, California, USA: latitude 32.649662, longitude -117.153534

Nine Mile Bank, San Diego, California, USA

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Ralph Pace

Ralph Pace, USA

Ralph is a freelance natural history and conservation photographer living in San Diego, California. Using his education in science, Ralph hopes to act as an interpreter to simplify scientific messages through imagery, to help tell scientific stories.