Stranger Fish Of Northern Waters
The 600-page-plus Marine Fish & Invertebrates of Northern Europe is described by David Bellamy as a gem of a book which, he says, lets you into the secrets of the wealth and health of these cold waters. Here its photographer, Erling Svensen, introduces some of the more unusual creatures featured
|It started for me about 29 years ago. Life on the shore has fascinated me since childhood boat and beach trips with my parents in Norway. I have always enjoyed rummaging through the seaweed in search of small creatures. The variety of marine life is enormous, and investigating a small crab or shell felt more exciting than discovering the small creatures on land.|
I soon became aware that something was missing. I lacked both documentation of what I had seen and an ability to explain it to others, so I started to photograph under water.
After 15 years with Nikonos systems, I changed to a housing for a single lens reflex camera. A new world opened up to me.
I could, during the same dive, photograph a cod in full size, and a nudibranch as close as 1:1. For macro-photography, it is important to know the animals - how and where they live, as well as what they eat. Study of biology is a natural progression for anyone who spends most of his free time under water, photographing animals.
When I meet the writer Frank Emil Moen a few years ago, our shared interests led to plans to produce a book describing the fantastic animal life that exists in our coastal waters. Marine Life & Invertebrates of Northern Europe developed over four years, the process opening my eyes even further to life in the sea.
We have discovered animals of which I had previously been unaware in photographic archives, and during my many dives I am continually making finds. We have also written about animals living in places difficult for people to access. So our documentation of creatures geographic and depth distribution ranges, size and colour variations, as well as habitat and way of life, is sure to contain some errors.
Similarly, recorded depth distributions are unreliable - we know this because, as divers, we have seen many animals that are recorded as living below diveable depths. Both Frank Emil and I hope this book can help to open the eyes of divers.
|Periphylla periphylla, a deepwater jellyfish found in all oceans except in the Arctic |
|limacina helicina is a free-swimming mollusc that uses its foot as a wing |
|small pelagic larvae from a starfish |
|The curled octopus is common all around the British Isles |
|the gaping file clam has such extremely long tentacles that they cannot be retracted into the shells |
|the blue mussel is popular to eat |
|The male dragonet displays spectacular blue marbling. |
|the ratfish is normally a deep-dweller but in some Norwegian fjords it can be seen as shallow as 10m |
|Wolf-fish are very popular with divers - this whopper is in Norway but a number are resident at sites such as St Abbs in Scotland |
|How to get the book: The hardback Marine Fish & Invertebrates of Northern Europe contains more than 1000 colour photographs in its 608 pages |