Matthew Smith
  • “Smiling Assassin” – American Crocodile, Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.

    “Smiling Assassin” – American Crocodile, Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.
    "I wanted to make an image that had both strong eye contact and visible teeth to bring out the character and personality of this animal. I slowly and cautiously approached it, maintaining strong eye contact and light fin movements to avoid stirring up the silt. The crocodile remained motionless with just its yellow periscope-like eye staring straight back at me. It felt like standoff. Who would falter first?”
    Matthew Smith
  • “Your Move” – American Crocodile, Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.

    “Your Move” – American Crocodile, Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.
    "For this shot, I'm deep in a Cuban saltwater mangrove snorkelling in about two feet of murky water and looking at this through the viewfinder -- the business end of a wild, 2.5-meter American saltwater crocodile (not an alligator). Now, my photography has led me into a few interesting situations in the past, but this takes the cake. I'm staying as still as can be and mumbling profusely to myself, ‘Focus, frame, just get the shot.’ One of the most exhilarating moments of my life! After our brief standoff, he turned around and drifted off into the cloudy, green water."
    Matthew Smith
  • “A Silky Encounter 1” – Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

    “A Silky Encounter 1” – Jardines de la Reina, Cuba
    "Shooting these silky sharks off the coast of Cuba was actually an incredibly difficult task -- not because they were hard to find. On the contrary, there were often too many and they move real fast in these open and rough seas! So to single one out for an intimate portrait was quite frustrating. It required a high amount of concentration. Luckily this one slowed down just long enough to capture the shot.”
    Matthew Smith
  • “A Silky Encounter 2” – Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

    “A Silky Encounter 2” – Jardines de la Reina, Cuba
    "An intimate moment between two silky sharks at Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) off the coast of Cuba. I had specially constructed a huge 18-inch dome port to shoot open ocean, half over-, half underwater images, and in these rough conditions, really, it came into it's own.”
    Matthew Smith
  • “Bluebottle Army” – Bluebottle cnidarian, Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia

    “Bluebottle Army” – Bluebottle cnidarian, Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia
    "Despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle cnidaria is an amazingly beautiful creature. I wanted to demonstrate this with careful lighting and composition. The blue of the zooid colonies underneath these animals ignites with glorious, translucent blue in my underwater camera flashes. I thought this would look magnificent in front of a glowing, orange sky. After many early mornings, I eventually got my shot.”
    Matthew Smith
  • “Physalia Physalis” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia

    “Physalia Physalis” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia
    "Lighting was the most critical component of this image. I needed to retain the desired darkness of water, yet pick out the detail of the animal. This took lots of experimentation with different techniques over several weeks. Eventually, employing the use of fiber optic snoots on my underwater flashes enabled me to pick out just the right amount of detail without overexposing too much of the surrounding ambiance.”
    Matthew Smith
  • “Midnight Nudi” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia

    “Midnight Nudi” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia
    "Being an ocean photographer has led me into some strange and curious habits. Wading around in low-tide rock pools in the middle of the night is one of them. However, the rewards can be endless from a photographer’s point of view, such as finding this hypselodoris bennetti in inches of water. Photographing it from a low angle just beneath the surface has created this wonderful reflection. This species of nudibranch is endemic to southeastern New South Wales. You’ll find it nowhere else in the world!”
    Matthew Smith
  • “Legal Immigrant” – A Long Finned Eel, Botanical Gardens, Sydney

    “Legal Immigrant” – A Long Finned Eel, Botanical Gardens, Sydney
    "A long-finned eel living under the shadow of the iconic Sydney skyline in the botanical gardens. Born just off the coast of New Caledonia, this eel would have made the 2,000-kilometer [1,243-mile] journey to the east coast of Australia and, one wet night, climbed out of Sydney Harbour, slithered across the grass and into this freshwater pond where it will live for up to 30 years. Eventually, the urge to breed will take it back across the South Pacific Ocean -- a journey its ancestors have been making for millions of years, long before the first human settlers to this land!”
    Matthew Smith
  • “A Shock of Blue” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia

    “A Shock of Blue” – Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia
    "Despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle cnidaria is an amazingly beautiful creature. I wanted to demonstrate this with careful lighting and composition. The blue of the zooid colonies underneath these animals ignites with glorious, translucent blue in my underwater camera flashes. I thought this would look magnificent in front of a glowing, orange sky. After many early mornings, I eventually got my shot.”
    Matthew Smith
  • “A Splash of Yellow” - Sargassum Seaweed, Bushranger Bay, NSW Australia

    “A Splash of Yellow” - Sargassum Seaweed, Bushranger Bay, NSW Australia
    "I love bold shapes and primary colors in my images, hence the bluebottles and crimson red waratah anemones in some of my other images. I think my portfolio lacked a little yellow and this golden-colored flora of the ocean just about filled the gap nicely. You'll find this seaweed pretty much everywhere along the coastline here in southern New South Wales. I lit it with a nice, bright underwater strobe on a dark and rainy morning to give it that special something.”
    Matthew Smith
  • “Crimson Tide” – Waratah Anemones, Port Kembla, NSW Australia

    “Crimson Tide” – Waratah Anemones, Port Kembla, NSW Australia
    "This image is shot right out the front of where I used to work. During my lunch-break walk, I had found this tiny rock pool containing these wonderful, bright-red waratah anemones. I had to make a picture of them. I knew I could only shoot at the lowest of tides and I wanted to coincide it with a nice sunrise. It was to be a long waiting game!!”
    Matthew Smith
  • “Ocean Rose” – Bass Point, NSW Australia

    “Ocean Rose” – Bass Point, NSW Australia
    "A beautiful, crimson-red waratah anemone, the rose of the seabed, in a rock pool at Bass Point, [New South Wales]. These are native to Australia and [New Zealand] only and are named after the red waratah flower." For more information on the series or to view other works, please visit Smith’s <a href="http://www.mattysmithphoto.com/" target="external">website</a> or follow him on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/mattysmithphoto" target="external">social media.</a>
    Matthew Smith