Stunning snap of fish fleeing predators wins British photographer prestigious prize

Swirling around in a dreamlike spiral, this spellbinding snap of a school of fish fleeing predators has nabbed the Australian Geographic’s Nature Photographer of the Year awards.

British photographer Tracey Jennings, who lives in Malaysia, spent six hours staking out in the water beneath a jetty in Raja Ampat, to capture the moment the chase began.

Pic by Tracey Jennings/Caters News

Tracey, 47, is the first individual woman to win the competition, which awards a prize of $10,000 and a trip to Antarctica.

Tracey, who is originally from Yorkshire, said: “I’d seen images on social media previously shot under this jetty which inspired me to travel to Raja Ampat.

“I dived the site over several days; land-based and then again a week or so later on a liveaboard trip.

Pic by Tracey Jennings/Caters News

“I spent about six hours in total at a depth of less than five metres under the single relatively small jetty, only leaving when I finished my second air tank, way after sunset.”

Amazingly, the incredible image lay untouched in her heard drive for almost a year before she decided to submit it.

Pic by Tracey Jennings/Caters News

She said it was an honour to be the first female to claim the prestigious prize, and she hopes her image will inspire others to admire the beauty of the ocean.

Tracey, who took up photography five years ago, said: “When I did finally go through my images, this one jumped out at me.

“I love how the light plays through the fish, and how it really describes the essence of the feeling I experienced when below the jetty where life and death plays around you.

Pic by Tracey Jennings/Caters News

“It’s an important opportunity to showcase the beauty of our oceans to all people who visit this exhibition.

“I am so proud to be the first woman recognised as the winner of this competition, which I have always entered.”

Pic by Tracey Jennings/Caters News

The competition, launched by the South Australian Museum 15 years ago, featured more than 100 photographs from Australian, New Zealand, Antarctic and New Guinea.