When people think of plankton, they usually envision nondescript little bits floating in the ocean. But thanks to photographer Ryo Minemizu, we can get a glimpse of their otherworldly beauty.
His photos have garnered so much attention that his series, "The Secret World of Plankton," won him the 2017 Nikkei National Geographic Photo Prize. He also has a book out, called "Jewels In the Night Sea."
Minemizu recently concluded an exhibition in Japan, which featured 40 of his photographs. Keep scrolling to see some of his most mesmerising pieces.
He started diving around the same time he got interested in photography.
"I was inspired by what I saw and decided to document it with my camera," he said.
"Plankton are an important source of food for larger animals. Fish and whales would not be able to survive without them. They are also the most abundant life form on Earth, and play a critical role in the marine food chain," Minemizu explained.
"I made a lot of mistakes in the early years and learned through trial and error," he said.
"I had more control over the changing environment in the sea and I could also check my work to make sure I got what I needed before I left a location. Following the direction of the wind and tide, the ebb and flow, are key to shooting plankton," he shared.
"It's still trial and error," he said.
"When I chase the plankton I have to be careful not to go too quickly from deeper water to the surface as there is the risk of decompression sickness," he said.
"As long as I am diving at a depth of 10 meters (33 feet), I can be in the water longer," he explained.
He recently wrapped up an exhibition in Japan called "Jewels In the Night Sea," featuring 40 of his photographs.
"Planktons normally use jellyfish for floating like boats. But now I often see plankton floating on pieces of plastic. Plastic pollution is killing plankton," he explained.
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