Shooting star

Tony Wu's Image

Tony Wu (USA/Japan) watches the electrifying reproductive dance of a giant sea star.

As the surrounding water filled with sperm and eggs from spawning sea stars, Tony faced several challenges. Stuck in a small, enclosed bay with only a macro lens for photographing small subjects, he backed up to squeeze the undulating sea star into his field of view in this galaxy-like scene.

The 'dancing' posture of spawning sea stars rising and swaying may help to release the eggs and sperm and sweep them into the currents where they fertilise together in the water.

Natalie Cooper, principal researcher at the Museum and judge said, 'This image reminds me of something from a science fiction film. It's a technically brilliant image, with a strong atmosphere of mystery that draws you in.'

Behind the lens

Tony Wu

Tony Wu


Tony devotes most of his time to researching and documenting rarely seen marine animals and environments, spending more days at sea that he does on land. After spending years photographing tropical reefs, whales and large aggregations of spawning fish, he is currently exploring the varied and diverse marine environments of Japan, which encompass everything from tropical to Arctic environments, as well as many unique habitats in between.

Image details

  • Nikon D850
  • 105mm f2.8 lens
  • 1/250 sec at f18  •   ISO 320  •   Nauticam housing  •   Backscatter Mini Flash 1 + Inon S2000 + Z240 strobes  •   RGBlue compact tripod
  • Kinko Bay, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
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