Jellyfish shot scores in Ocean Art

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Jellyfish shot scores in Ocean Art

Australian underwater photographer Matty Smith's shot of a bluebottle – otherwise known as a Pacific man o' war jellyfish (Physalia utriculus) – has won the title Best of Show in the prestigious 6th annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest.

Smith's photograph “Blue Lasso” also won the Wide-Angle category in the online nature-photo competition, which attracted entries from 60 countries.

More than US $75,000 in sponsor prizes were awarded, which the organiser says puts Ocean Art among the highest-value prize competitions in the world. Smith won an 11-day Cocos Island cruise on the Sea Hunter liveaboard.

The Ocean Art competition is organised by the California-based Underwater Photography Guide, with entries considered in 16 categories. The judging panel consists of well-known underwater photographers Martin Edge, Marty Snyderman, Tony Wu and UPG’s Scott Gietler.

Smith’s winning shot was taken at Bushrangers Bay in New South Wales.

“The bluebottle uses its deadly blue tendril to paralyse prey of small pelagic fish and crustaceans,” he said. “Once its meal has been immobilised, the tentacle is quickly retracted to draw the victim up the stomachs, where it will be digested.

“There are often hundreds of these animals washed into the bays near my home overnight during the correct wind and current conditions. A lucky composition and beautiful illumination highlights the beauty of this elegant predator.

“It was one of those rare moments when it all came together for me, the fortunate photographer. I knew I had just witnessed something very special.”

Smith used a Nikon D810 camera, Nikkor 16mm f2.8 fisheye lens and two Inon Z240 strobes and snoots.

See other winning photos and find out more about the competition here

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