Media is so important for communicating science. Let’s be honest, if an article doesn’t come along with some juicy video clips or snazzy photos then you’re probably not going to bother. This is particularly important when it comes to science. So much of science is visual, and so much of science is pretty to look at. So here are my three entries to the RSB 2017 Photo Competition – “Hidden World” where my photos range from underwater, misty rainforest and your garden pond!


Tetrabaena socialis.jpg
Photograph title
The Algal Universe
Describe what is pictured?
This is a collection of Tetrabaena socialis algae – essentially what you’ll find in the garden pond! We can see each algal capsule containing four cells, with some at varying degrees of asexual reproduction. The cells are about 10um wide and each one will divide into four daughter cells.
How does this image fit with the theme of the competition?
When looking through a microscope, I feel a similar sensation to that of a telescope into space. We are somewhere in-between these two “hidden worlds”, one is huge, one is tiny. Algae remind me of the stars, with the occasional creature whizzing through like a giant spaceship. There is so much yet to be discovered in these worlds, yet one lies right at our feet – in this case the garden pond! This photo reminds us that we are just a finite visible fraction of what exists in this universe.
Location taken (be specific)
Imperial College, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot
Date taken
2017-07-24
Equipment and settings used
Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000
Software manipulation
Slight crop. Slight contrast enhancement using basic Mac editor.


IMG_0160_lzn
Photograph title
Nemo’s Retreat
Describe what is pictured?
A clownfish (Amphiprioninae) peeks out from his world in this classic scene. Clownfish share a mutualistic symbiotic relationship with anemones; they are protected by the anemone’s sting, and they lure fish for the anemone to eat.
How does this image fit with the theme of the competition?
For two reasons. Firstly the clownfish is the only one allowed into the hidden world of the anemone tentacles, and is such a specific relationship that it will remain hidden from others. Secondly, this classic image is one that now sums up the ocean as a hidden world. Through the massive success of ‘Finding Nemo’, more and more interest has been gathered about the underwater world and I feel this little animal is responsible for a new wave of passionate marine biologists.
Location taken (be specific)
Sulug Island, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Date taken
2016-05-18
Equipment and settings used
Canon Powershot G1X MII and housing
Software manipulation
Some gentle editing and colour grading for underwater correction in Lightzone.

P1150331.jpg
Photograph title
Maliau – A Land Lost in Time
Describe what is pictured?
This is Maliau Basin in Borneo, one of the last remaining true wildernesses to the human race. Here are the tops of this pristine tropical rainforest canopy poking out above the eerie thick fog. This shot is providing a glance into this undiscovered world, perhaps how it was seen by its first discoverer in 1947. Many describe Maliau Basin as ‘The Lost World’, referring to its unique isolation. I made a documentary about it on YouTube which goes by the same name as this photograph.
How does this image fit with the theme of the competition?
Maliau Basin could be the ultimate Hidden World. This huge bowl of thick jungle is surrounded by cliffs, and was first discovered in 1947 when a pilot nearly crashed into the escarpment. It was not until 1986 that humans managed to enter the basin. Only a few thousand people have ever stepped foot here today. This hidden world is separated form the outside world, resulting in it’s own endemic flora and fauna, and unique weather patterns. This photo sums up precisely why it remained undiscovered, and scrapes the surface of the incredible world which lies within.
Location taken (be specific)
Maliau Basin Conservation Area, Borneo, Malaysia
Date taken
2016-01-14
Equipment and settings used
Panasonic Lumix FZ-62
Software manipulation
Black and white with slight contrast adjustment. The old photo style B&W is intended to reflect the view of the pilot in 1947 who nearly crashed into the basin edge, leading to it’s discovery.

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