Snorkeller captures epic close-up photo of a 30-foot shark!

World Wildlife Day – Marine Conservation Society
Basking Shark, Isle of Coll (Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II + Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 • 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO2500) (Image credit: Mark Kirkland)

Today is World Wildlife Day, established by the United Nations to celebrate the planet's rich diversity of wild animals and plants. To commemorate the day, the Marine Conservation Society has compiled a collection of incredible ocean photography.

The images were all captured in the waters of the United Kingdom, featuring marine life native to British territories. The most stunning shot of the selection was taken by snorkeller diver Mark Kirkland, of a basking shark on the Isle of Coll in Scotland (pictured above). 

• The best underwater and waterproof cameras are your best friends for taking marine photographs

"Through late summer the basking shark passes through the Isles of Coll and Tiree in huge numbers on its migratory journey north," said Kirkland, who captured the image on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.

"Despite being the second largest fish in the sea (up to nine meters long) and a close relative to the great white shark, it's completely harmless, with a preference for microscopic plankton as its food. This split shot was taken on a glorious evening's snorkel with three large individuals."  

Firework anemone (Pachycerianthus multiplicatus), Inverary, Loch Fyne (Olympus OM-D E-M1 + Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 • 1/320 sec, f/6.3, ISO800) (Image credit: Dan Bolt)

Disproving the misguided notion that the best Micro Four Thirds cameras are not good in low light conditions, fellow OM shooter Dan Bolt used the original Olympus OM-D E-M1 to photograph a stunning firework anemone (above). 

"As the UK's biggest anemone, the firework anemone can have a stalk and tentacles of up to 30cm long. Usually restricted to deeper waters, in many western Sea Lochs in Scotland they are accessible to sport divers," he notes. 

"These beautiful creatures also have a party trick: under UV light they fluoresce and emit blue and green light and display patterns not seen under daylight."

Angler fish, Lophius Piscatorius, Chesil Cove, Dorset (Sony RX100 • 1/60 sec, f/9.0, ISO100) (Image credit: Jon Bunker)

A nightmare-inducing angler fish was captured in all its glory by Jon Bunker (above), using one of the best compact cameras, the Sony RX100, on England's south coast in Dorset. 

"Among the most beautiful of our ground-dwelling fishes, the angler fish's mottled brown tones and leafy protrusions of skin make it almost undistinguishable from the rocky, weed-strewn ground that divers often encounter them in," he said, being somewhat more charitable about the fish's looks.

"Broad circular pectoral fins seem to grip the seabed like clasping hands on either side of the massive, dustbin-lid head. Ahead of a decreasing series of weed-like dorsal spines, the anglerfish wafts its distinctive lure or 'illicium' to entice unwary prey into its cavernous mouth."

Variable blenny, Babbacombe, south Devon (Olympus OM-D E-M1 + Olympus 45mm f/1.8 • 1/250 sec, f/4.0, ISO100) (Image credit: Dan Bolt)

The Marine Conservation Society fights for cleaner, better-protected, healthier seas. Campaigning for improved laws to protect the ocean, the charity hopes to shine a light on its wild and wonderful inhabitants. 

For divers and snorkellers, its Seasearch program is a wonderful way to give back and explore the UK's waters; volunteers conduct underwater surveys, providing an insight into the state of the UK's seas. You can learn more about the program, and how to get involved, by visiting

Bobtail Squid, Loch Long (Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II + Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro • 1/250 sec, f/11.0, ISO100) (Image credit: Mark Kirkland)

Curled octopus, Toft pier, Shetland Islands (Sony A7R III + Sony FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 • 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO200) (Image credit: Billy Arthur)

Pair of wolf fish, Berwickshire Marine Reserve (Nikon D500 + Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 • 1/60 sec, f/14.0, ISO400) (Image credit: Kirsty Andrews)

John Dory, Dorset (Image credit: Georgie Bull)

Edible crab, St Abbs, Berwickshire Marine Reserve (Image credit: Georgie Bull)

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.