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Phoenix Islands



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The Fog of Fish Collecting
Photograph by Paul Nicklen

Ichthyologist Jerry Allen squirts rotenone, a deadly organic powder derived from the root of the derris plant, into the waters near Kanton island, part of the South Pacific's Phoenix Group. The chemical stuns all fish within an area the size of a broom closet before dissipating, allowing him to collect specimens for study. "Usually I'm trying to flush out the fish that live back in crevices, that you never see," he says. During an expedition to survey the islands' biodiversity, Allen's team discovered four new fish species.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F4 in Nexus housing with Ikelite strobes
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100
Lens: Nikon 18mm f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/30 @ f/8
Weather Conditions: Wet
Time of Day: 3 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Dual strobes and backlights
Special Equipment or Comments: I separated the rotenone cloud from the background by backlighting it.


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