The nature documentaries of Nick Hope (AKA Bubble Vision) are some of the finest ever made on coral reef ecosystems and should be considered mandatory viewing for anyone with a serious interest in the subject. His feature-length films, Reef Life of the Andaman and Murky Secrets, combine gorgeous cinematography with insightful and scientifically informative narration. Now, after an interminably long hiatus, he’s finally back at it again with a stunning new short film that features some of the most impressive up-close images of reef life ever seen.

Filmed at the Lembeh Straits in Northern Sulawesi and Anilao in the Philippines, “Saturation” is a five-minute journey exploring the colors, textures and motion of the Coral Triangle’s immense marine biodiversity. With his preternaturally steady camera, the microscopic level of detail on display is simply astounding. Everything from the scales of a lionfish to the ommatidia of a mantis shrimp’s rotating eyes are captured in perfect clarity.

The stars here are the various invertebrates which call the reef home. There are no cliched scenes of shark feeding frenzies or clownfishes swimming among anemone tentacles; instead, we are treated to reef scenes that are seldom witnessed. Colonial sea squirts respiring… nudibranchs extending their rhinophores and wiggling their gills… a Halimeda crab grooming itself… and a Green Ascidian Shrimp (Periclemenaeus storchi) cozied up deep within its host. This is the reef as living art.

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