WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Winner 2018

Under Water

Michael Patrick O’Neill, USA

Night Flight

Late one night, over deep water, Michael was following a flying fish. By day, they move extraordinarily fast, but at night they swim slowly just below the surface. He tried various shutter and flash settings, all the while keeping track of his small subject. ‘I wanted to create a sense of movement,’ he says.

By rapidly beating their forked tails, flying fish such as this juvenile propel themselves in the water until they take off at the surface. By holding their long, pointed pectoral fins out stiffly, they can glide in the air for several hundred metres, away from underwater predators.

Technical specification

Nikon D4 + 60mm f2.8 lens; 1/8 sec at f16; ISO 500; Aquatica housing; Two Inon Z-220 strobes


Palm Beach, Florida, USA : latitude 26.7851, longitude -80.0375 Palm Beach, Florida, USA : latitude 26.7851, longitude -80.0375

Palm Beach, Florida, USA

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

Michael Patrick O’Neill

Michael Patrick O’Neill, USA

Michael is an award-winning photographer and author specialising in marine wildlife and environmental issues. For the last 25 years he has travelled extensively, photographing diverse aquatic animals and habitats and humanity's impact on them. His images have appeared in many publications including BBC Wildlife, National Geographic Magazine and The New York Times.