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Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
North Head, entrance to Sydney Harbour, New South Wales
Humpbacks are jaw-droppers, especially when they jump. But just seeing this whale exhale against North Head’s cliffs – its blows ablaze in the setting sun – was enough to make me hold my own breath, completely awe-struck. If you squint you might even see a woman’s profile in the blow… maybe.
Canon EOS-1D X, Canon f/4.5–5.6L IS II USM 100–400mm 300mm, 1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 500, handheld from a boat
Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
A large female green sea turtle returns to the ocean at dawn, after laying eggs overnight. She leaves behind a track in the sand like those who finished before her.
DJI Mavic Pro 2, Hasselblad L1D-20c 28 mm f/2.8, 1/30, f/4.0, ISO 100, PolarPro circular polarizer
Eastern osprey (Pandion cristatus)
Cudgen Creek, Kingscliff, New South Wales
I was in my kayak paddling upstream when I saw the osprey circling above the water ahead. I was so lucky to arrive just as the osprey was coming out of the water with the fish.
Canon EOS -1DX Mk 11, EF 24–105mm f4L IS USM, 1/2000, f/4, ISO 500
Between Sydney Heads, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales
This humpback calf was chilling with its mum between Sydney Heads when it suddenly took flight. The calf speedily reached its cruising altitude then crash-landed with uncoordinated grace. Calves pull some wacky shapes when they’re learning to breach, but this pocket rocket’s hilarious moves were next level!
Canon EOS-1D X Mk II, Canon f/4.5–5.6L IS II USM 100–400mm 220mm, 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 400, handheld from a boat
Whale Shark Feast
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)
A rare sighting of a whale shark feeding on a large school of baitfish. Whale sharks are not often documented feeding on schools of baitfish as they’re most commonly seen filter feeding. This is the first time I have seen this behaviour after five years of photographing these animals on the reef.
Nikon D810, Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG diagonal fisheye, 1/250, f/11, ISO 250, freediving
Dance at Dawn
Cape Hillsborough National Park, Queensland
Apart from its beauty, Cape Hillsborough is renowned for its resident kangaroos and wallabies. I visited the area for three consecutive sunrises, but it was on my final morning that I captured this beautiful spectacle, two wallabies playing on the beach as the sun burst through the surrounding clouds.
Sony A7RIV, Sony 24–105 G OSS, 1/1600, f/9, ISO 100, handheld
Broome, Western Australia
Mudskippers are amphibious fish with unique adaptations that allow them to inhabit the rich, muddy intertidal zones of tropical estuaries. As the tide recedes the mudflats are exposed and the mudskippers emerge from their underwater burrows. Leaping into the air, males strive to attract females with the most impressive acrobatics.
Olympus OMD EM1X, 300mm, 1/4000, f/7.1, ISO 400
Black Ants Feeding on Broad-tailed Gecko
Broad-tailed gecko (Phyllurus platurus)
Royal National Park, Sydney NSW
Broad-tailed geckos are essentially found in Sydney Basin sandstone areas and are nocturnal. It was a most unusual find, especially as there are many bird species that would have made a quick meal of it. How it died is a mystery, but a feral deer or wallaby may have stepped on it the previous night.
Canon 6D Mk II, Canon EF100–400 ISL, 1/125, f/8, ISO 400, handheld
Ribbon sweetlips (Plectorhinchus polytaenia), oblique-banded sweetlips (Plectorhinchus lineatus), golden bullseye (Parapriacanthus ransonneti)
Dampier Strait, Indonesia
Cooperation plays a vital part in some of nature’s most fascinating interactions. These different species of fish are working together towards a common goal; protection against predators. They form a perfect dynamic symbiosis. This harmonic arrangement is mesmerising and provides the dynamic composition I was looking for.
Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 8mm f/1.8 fisheye Pro, 1/180, f/2.5, ISO 200, Sea & Sea ys-01, handheld
Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales
Not many kookaburras live high enough to get snowed on. This small family are an exception. They can often be found in a blizzard huddled together for warmth, the parents on the outside and last year’s young squished in between.
Nikon D850, Nikon 500mm PF f5.6, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 4000
Veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia
The animal inside the seashell is a tiny octopus about two inches in diameter. This kind of animal can utilise the valves as a house and for protection, taking the house with it as it moves. This shot was taken during his quiet rest.
Canon EOS 7D Mk II, Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM, 1/160, f/14, ISO 100, Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe with Retra snoot, Easydive Leo III housing
Tree of life
Cape York, Queensland
Whilst driving down a road late at night, I noticed dozens of fireflies were slowly falling to the ground. I looked up to see a single tree, illuminated by tens of thousands of fireflies. I noticed they were mating and had gathered together in unison for one giant breeding event.
Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 16–35mm f4L IS, 30, f/4, ISO 16000, tripod
West Australian seahorse (Hippocampus subelongatus)
Perth, Western Australian
I’ve spent many hours underwater at night photographing our West Australian seahorses giving birth. It’s the male seahorses that ‘get pregnant’ and brood the babies in their pouch. Photographing them having their babies takes lots of patience, persistence, good timing and a hint of luck.
Nikon D850, Nikkor 60mm macro, 1/200 sec, f/13, ISO 320, 2 x Inon Z240 strobes, Nauticam NA-D850 underwater housing with 230mm dome port, handheld
Step into my lair
Peacock spider (Maratus speciosus), Flesh fly (Sarcophagidae)
Woodman Point, south of Fremantle, Western Australia
After photographing male peacock spiders dancing on the dunes of my local beach, I watched this scene of a less colourful female tackling a much larger flesh fly. It demonstrates the hunting prowess and power of these tiny jumping spiders, which reach just 5mm in length.
Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM with Kenko extension tubes, 1/200, f/7, ISO 200, Yongnuo YN-24EX macro flash with homemade diffuser, handheld, 24 image stitch using Adobe Photoshop CC 2019
Home Topics Wildlife AG Nature Photographer of the Year 2021: Animal behaviour shortlist
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