Deep-sea dragon

Laurent Ballesta's Image

Laurent Ballesta (France) endures below-freezing dives to reveal the diversity of life beneath Antarctica’s ice.

Braving the extreme cold, Laurent descended 70 metres through an opening in the ice to reach the seafloor in what he describes as 'one of the most difficult dives I’ve ever done'.

The reward was rich. Not only was he met with a variety of invertebrates he also encountered what was possibly a new species of Antarctic dragonfish. Like the other 15 known species of Antarctic dragonfish, this one is elongated with a long snout and sharp teeth, but unlike the other species it has an unusually rounded upper jaw.

Behind the lens

Laurent Ballesta

Laurent Ballesta


Laurent has authored 13 photography books on underwater wildlife. As co-founder of Andromède Océanologie, he’s been leading major expeditions for 10 years. He illustrates the underwater world as both a naturalist and an artist, whether that be capturing the first images of a coelacanth taken by a diver at a depth of 120 metres, documenting 700 sharks off Fakarava hunting at night or photographing the deepest and longest dive in Antarctica.

Image details

  • Nikon D810
  • 15mm f2.8 lens
  • 1/40 sec at f16  •   ISO 1600  •   Seacam housing  •   2x Seacam strobes
  • Adélie Land, Antarctica
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