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Slow Life: Daniel Stoupin’s mesmerizing underwater macro time-lapse video



Rainbow Explosion © Daniel Stoupin


It’s time for a break in your day to sit back and be wowed for three and a half minutes.

Australian photographer and videographer Daniel Stoupin became interested in microphotography during the years he spent researching microscopic organisms. As a marine biology PhD student, he became fascinated by the diverse and complex life that exists just beneath the water’s surface yet cannot be seen with the naked eye. He has spent years perfecting his craft, as you can see in these magical images.


 Corallimorph © Daniel Stoupin


And then he made Slow Life — a stunning documentary of the mysterious daily lives of corals and sponges. Daniel took 150,000 macro shots of these slow-paced animals to create this time-lapse video, allowing us to fully appreciate their exquisite movements and unique behaviors in a way that we would otherwise never see.


Coral Close-up © Daniel Stoupin


As he often does in his macrophotography of fluorescent organisms, each specimen (actual corals from actual reefs) was photographed in a commercial reef collector’s tank, and each frame was shot using a macro lens, a large aperture and a macro focusing rail. Wide spectrum lights were used to accurately capture the colors of each organism, especially the fluorescence of many of them.


Fluorescent Colors of the Reef © Daniel Stoupin


He later combined the images using focus-stacking software, and each frame took about 10 minutes to process. Multiply that by 150,000, and you will get a good idea of his intense devotion to this time-consuming project. Only the first and last scenes are real-time footage.


Colorful Life © Daniel Stoupin


By making Slow Life, Daniel wanted to not only illustrate the extraordinary beauty of these tiny underwater beings, but also bring awareness to how vital they are to the existence of all living things on Earth. As gorgeous as these Great Barrier Reef corals and sponges are, his purpose is not to encourage anyone to run out and buy a saltwater aquarium. Instead, he hopes to inspire us to invest in ways to support them in their natural environments around the world, many of which are in great danger of disappearing.


Maze Coral © Daniel Stoupin


To experience the intricacies of these delicate creatures, I highly recommend that you watch Slow Life in full-screen, wow-factor mode.



To find out much more about photographing underwater fluorescent organisms, read Daniel’s Fluorescent Coral tutorial on 1xLearning.


Fluorescent Coral © Daniel Stoupin


Visit Daniel’s 1x portfolio and website, Microworlds Photography, to see many more of his fantastic underwater images, and be sure to check out his blog while you’re there — it’s fascinating!


Slow Life video courtesy Daniel Stoupin



A very nice blog post. Thank you Mandy!
Another fascinating read and view into another world Mandy. Thank you.
This is fantastic and thanks for the post, Mandy!
Stunning, stunning, stunning. I have been doing scuba since I was 12 and always coral never move, nor seem 'alive'. So fascinating to see what actually happens over time (in HD!!). Compliments to the author, and well deserved it terms of the attention that his work is getting out there.
Thanks, Mandy, for sharing these colorful images and the great video.
So glad you enjoyed it, Hans-Martin. I wish the video was 20 minutes longer, don't you?