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UPY Behaviour - Winner
'A striped marlin in a high speed hunt in Mexico'
This is a terrifying scene for the small fish, fleeing for their lives as a striped marlin hunts them. The slightest mistake means life or death. There are often birds hunting from above and sometimes a dozen other marlin and sea lions attacking from all sides. Marlin are one of the fastest fish in the sea, a terrifying predator for a small fish in the great blue desert. I went to Mexico to document these feeding frenzies but was not expecting such a fast paced hunt, almost too fast for my brain to process. For a brief moment, this scene unfolded before me and I had to rely on all my instincts and practice underwater to take this photo. I used natural light and stayed on the periphery of the bait-ball so as to try and minimize disturbance. Watching wild animals hunt is one of the greatest spectacles in nature.
Judge's comment: Most bait ball images are taken from further back but this one, bang in the middle and in your face, is amazing and strikingly different. The fish's eyes seem even wider open than normal. No wonder!
- Peter Rowlands
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