In the dark and muddy depths of the Derwent River in Tasmania, there live an unusual species of fish that do not swim, but walk along the bed. Moving with hand-like pectoral fins, the spotted handfish lurks in the murky depths, ready to pounce on its prey.
Its cream color and dark brown or orange spots blend into the sandy soil, making it difficult to spot and even more difficult to photograph. Additionally, the species is critically endangered and it is believed that there are fewer than 3,000 individuals left in the wild.
However, French photographer Nicolas Remy decided to see the elusive fish with his own eyes. In 2022, he travels from his base in Sydney to the coldest state of Australia to take a dip in the 11°C cold waters of Derwent.
An hour later, he saw the first hand fish, but it flickered, leaving the picture with only a cloud of mud. Remy realized he needed to hone his technique: What had worked so far wasn’t working for the genre, so he spent a total of nine hours on the river over three straight days.
Finally, he got close to the rare species of fish using a special swimming technique that didn’t stir up the slime, and by using a different lighting technique to create a narrow spot light, so Remy got what he wanted: a close-up of the special slime. Fish. The image won first place in the Cold Water category in the Ocean Art 2022 Guide to Underwater Photography competition.
Remy hopes his photos will help raise awareness of this rare species. With his likeness portraits, he wants people to empathize with the “very strange-looking fish” and care about saving species – CNN reports.
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