A new book, Truly Madly Deeply, showcases impressive images of underwater life, including camouflaged seahorse, ethereal corals – and swimming gazelles. The photos, mostly taken in Sulawesi and Raja Ampat in Indonesia, show a panoply of microlife – gobies on coral strands and clownfish – to land animals swimming across white-sand seabeds.
This image shows two bargibanti pygmy seahorses in Manado, Sulawesi, camouflaged against corals. The seahorse is just 2cm in size when fully grown.
The photography, Ali Bin Thalith, is a Dubai national but has travelled extensively to some of the world’s best dive sites to capture his close-up imagery.
This image shows a green sea turtle off Sipadan Island, Sabah, Malaysia, resting on a barrel sponge.
Off the Wakatobi Islands in Indonesia, a white-spotted boxfish swims on a shallow coral reef. It changes colour and pattern as it matures.
Other boxfish are yellow – this juvenile in the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia swims in front of a vibrant soft coral. The fish feeds by blowing tiny jets of water into the muddy or sandy bottom, which stirs up invertebrates.
A hairy red hermit crab in the Wakatobi islands. Hermit crabs change their shells as they grow.
Steve McCurry, the renowned photographer, wrote: “Ali Bin Thalith pushes the limits in order to capture the natural world, as evidenced through this collection of underwater photographs.”
Seahorses make astonishing use of camouflage. These red Denise’s Pygmy Seahorses in Raja Ampat are a rarer variety, which live on a different coral to their orange counterparts.
The orange ones are just as beautiful, however. The species was only properly researched and documented in the 21st century.
Can you spot the crab? It is not just seahorses that use camouflage for protection. This soft coral porcelain crab in the Lembeh Strait peeks out from its home.
It is not just fish and crabs that are the attraction of underwater photography. Corals display ethereal rainbow-like colours, such as this bommie just below the surface at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Although many of Mr Bin Thalith’s photos were taken in Indonesia and Malaysia, otthers were taken in the Mediterranean Sea. This image shows the scale of Atlantic Bluefin tuna off Malta.
At the other end of the scale, this tiny whip coral goby in Komodo National Park live on coral strands, which are home to such an array of fauna and flora that they are sometimes compared to the Amazon rainforest.
A toothy goby sits on honeymoon coral in the Wakatobi Islands area. The fish are found in most tropical waters from Africa to New Caledonia.
Gobies can be difficult to photograph, and need to be approached with utmost care as they will quickly scarper if they feel threatened.
At the other end of the scale, large land animals in water make for curious photography. These Arabian sand gazelles were photographed crossing between two islands off Abu Dhabi in the UAE. It is very rare to see them swimming – they normally inhabit arid desert areas.
Elephants can also swim – as seen here off the Andaman Islands. This one, which has been domesticated and is called “Rajan”, is more than 60 years old.
via – telegraph