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Photographer of the Week – Daniel Sly
By Matthew Sullivan, January 4, 2024 @ 08:00 AM (EST)

A southern blue-lined octopus conceals itself with kelp, Sydney Harbour, Australia
 

Hailing from the coastal city of Sydney, Australia, Daniel Sly has had an affinity for capturing photographs of local wildlife his whole life. In the early stages, his lens was trained on birds and terrestrial animals, exploring the diverse fauna that graced the land. Then, in early 2018, upon completing his scuba certification, Daniel redirected his focus towards the underwater realm. During the week, he works as an engineer at a research nuclear reactor in southern Sydney, but on weekends—and some nights—he turns his attention to photographing the many and varied inhabitants that live off the coast of Sydney.

Despite the vibrant underwater world thriving at the doorstep of Sydney, a city with a population of five million, many people remain unaware of its marine wonders. Daniel aspires to change this by capturing and sharing images of this submerged world, aiming to unveil the often-overlooked beauty that lies beneath the surface and in so doing raising awareness that what we do on the land often has drastic impacts on those who call the ocean home.

Daniel is fortunate enough to reside just a 10-minute drive away from his nearest dive site, easily accessible from the shore. This proximity and ease of access enables him to invest considerable time in familiarizing himself with every coral-encrusted rock that lines the site, along with its myriad of tiny inhabitants. Even in Sydney Harbour, there are macro dive sites that rival those of Lembeh or Anilao, with blue-lined octopus, hairy frogfish and nudibranchs in abundance.
 

A pygmy pipehorse clings to the base of a cluster of soft coral, Botany Bay, Australia
 

An endangered gray nurse sharks parts a school of pomfret, Long Reef, Australia
 

In for a closer look, an Australia fur seal inspects the dome port, Montague Island, Australia
 

A courtship dance between two weedy seadragons, Botany Bay, Australia
 

An emperor shrimp sits between the rhinophores of a Nembrotha rosannulata nudibranch, Barrens Hut, Southern Sydney, Australia
 

A hawksbill turtle feeds on coral encrusted rocks, South West Rocks, Australia
 

Sitting amongst a storm of shrimp, a yellowfin scorpionfish waits patiently, Sydney Harbour, Australia
 

A painted frogfish sits patiently on the reef, Botany Bay, Australia
 

Motion blur on a male weedy seadragon carrying eggs, Shellharbour, Australia
 

A male eastern gobbleguts carrying its brood, backlit with a snoot, Sydney Harbour, Australia
 

Two mating pyjama squid rise up into the water column, Sydney Harbour, Australia
 

Two pygmy pipehorses anchor to the same algae cluster, Botany Bay, Australia
 

Two pot-bellied seahorses engage in courtship behavior, Botany Bay, Australia
 

To see more of Daniel’s work from his local waters around Australia and elsewhere, please give him a follow on Instagram.

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