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UPY  Up and coming - Highly Commended

Alexander Venn

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UPY  Up and coming - Highly Commended
'Saupe and Seagrass'
Alexander Venn

I often encounter schools of saupe in the bay of Eze, South of France, where this photo was taken. Last spring, I tried to capture motion blur shots of these fish swimming over the swaying seagrass meadows they inhabit. Freediving in shallow water, I made numerous attempts at panning the camera with long exposures using a neutral-density filter, trying to stay in the shade of tall pine trees to reduce light levels. Even in the failed attempts, I noticed how their yellow eyes and stripes really stood out against the muted greens of the background. Eventually, I got lucky with this shot: a patch of sunlight caught the eyes and stripes, and the fish seemed to move in unison with the undulating seagrass. As an afterthought, a blurred shot is quite a fitting way to represent saupe, as apparently, they can be hallucinogenic if eaten.

Judge's comment: Everyday fish photographed with fabulous vision. We see lots of panning photos, but the blur in this image gives a wonderful sense of the beating of the sea breams’ tails. The peaceful, limited colour palette creates a restful feeling, like a long, relaxing snorkel in the shallows. - Alex Mustard

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