Irene Middleton was announced as 1st Place Novice DSLR Ocean Art 2015 for her image “Panic Puffer School”
Shot in cooler New Zealand waters I’m sure Irene is looking forward to cashing in her prize, A 7 night dive package at Volivoli Beach Resort diving with Ra Divers Fiji and honing her skills in some what warmer water
Check out the website for the other category finalists
The story: Every summer schools of Starry Toado Pufferfish (Arothron firmamentum) start appearing at the Poor Knights Islands, off Northern New Zealand. Normally found in Pelagic waters, strong easterly winds blow the pufferfish into the marine reserve islands where they often survive for less than a few hours. The marine reserve offers a safe haven to many fishes but the thriving population of Jacks and Bream make short work of this exotic delicacy. As soon as divers enter the water the schools of puffers race over to seek shelter which is what they were doing when I snapped off this shot. Soon after I left the water about half of them had been devoured.
Location: Maroro Bay, Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve, Northland New Zealand
Camera: Nikon D300, Sealux housing, Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye lens, Ikelite D125 strobe and DS50 on slave.