WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Finalist 2017

Under Water

Alex Sher, USA

Big sucker, little sucker

‘The tricky part for the remora, and me,’ says Alex, ‘was staying close enough without being sucked in.’ Alex swam with this whale shark for three hours, even after his camera ran out of battery. Keeping an eye on Alex, the gentle giant granted him this powerful close-up, the wide arch of its mouth set off by the timely curve of the remora.

The world’s largest fish, whale sharks are filter feeders, sustaining their huge size with plankton and small crustaceans, like krill. Remoras often associate with a larger host, using the modified fin on their heads like a suction cup to hitchhike. They get free transport, protection, and a tasty and steady supply of parasites from the larger sharks.

Technical specification

Nikon D4; 16mm f2.8 lens; 1/250 sec at f16; ISO 100; Nauticam housing; Ikelite DS160 strobes.


Republic of Maldives: latitude 3.354703, longitude 73.185905 Republic of Maldives: latitude 3.354703, longitude 73.185905

Republic of Maldives

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.



Love this image?

Choose your favourite from this year's collection. You can only choose once.

Top five favourites

Alex Sher

Alex Sher, USA

Alex is a fine art photographer who started taking his cameras underwater in 2010 on his holidays. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he is working on a new environmental project focusing on the decimation of California's kelp forest.