Award-winning GBR photo

Gary Cranitch

Award-winning GBR photo

Photographer Gary Cranitch captures rare Great Barrier Reef moment in award-winning photo

Posted on 27.08.2019

An image that looks more like the night sky than the Great Barrier Reef has won a museum photographer one of the nation’s highest photographic awards as it captures a rare insight into the underwater world.

Queensland Museum photographer Gary Cranitch recently took out gold in the Nature category at the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) awards.

The image captures a split-second moment of coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef near Heron Island off the central Queensland coast.

“Imagine looking at the stars in a night sky but in fact you’re looking at an ocean in the middle of the night,” Mr Cranitch said.

“It’s filled with coral spawn pink flecks and it’s like watching a massive star show.

“It’s seeing another world in a very simple photo with three tones in it — black, pink and blue.”

He took the image while shooting as part of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s study into restoring coral reefs through larval seeding, similar to IVF.

Floating in the ocean at 1am in the morning

Mr Cranitch was sitting in the water for more than three hours to capture the unique image.

“Spawning happens once a year in spring and you usually try for three to four days to capture it,” he said.

“I had almost given up as it was about 1am in the morning and I thought I would take off my tank and put on a snorkel.

“I got back in the water and within five minutes I was engulfed in coral spawn and then it was gone again.”

He said his aim was to capture a picture that told the full story of “total inundation and being totally surrounded” by the reef.

“I sat like a human bait waiting for it happen and the spawn came and went quickly,” Mr Cranitch said.

“I shot about six to seven frames and that was that, the run of coral spawn had ended.”

“The ocean continues to shift and move, and you see new things every time you get in the ocean so it’s like a fresh start every time you go back in.”

Jessica Hinchliffe
ABC News





Have a story to tell or news to share?

Let us know by Submitting a News Story

Discover Queensland

Explore all of Queensland’s adventures.

Start Exploring

What's On



Scenic Rim Ultra

Scenic Rim Ultra

Read more



Kooralbyn Valley MTB 6hr Endurance

Kooralbyn Valley MTB Endurance 6hr Enduro 10 km loop
Read more



Bushwalking Leader Training Course

Is it time to get recognised qualifications for your outdoor recreation skills?
Read more

Latest News

Billions in cancelled holidays

Travel agents decimated

Read more
Questions raised about honesty-reliant system

Queensland's coronavirus border breaches raise questions

Read more
JobKeeper criteria relaxed

Government will ease JobKeeper criteria, adding $15 billion to the coronavirus recovery scheme

Read more

Become a member

We welcome applications for new Community and Green Circle Members from organisations and individuals involved in the outdoors

Learn More
Tail Lights by Georgina Pratten