Even if you’ve swum amongst the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, chances are you’ve never seen coral like in the award-winning video “Slow Life.”
Because coral moves on a much slower time-scale compared to our fast-paced world, Australian-based nature cinematographer and artist Daniel Stoupin had to take hundreds of thousands of photos of the same coral and sponges over nearly 9 months to show how these vibrant marine creatures grow and behave in their natural environment.
All of that hard work payed off last year when Stoupin’s video was awarded the Imaginal Visual Science Award in the 2014 Imagine Science films competition.
Coral are spineless marine animals that generally grow in dense, compact colonies. They begin when a soft-bodied creature, called a polyp, attaches itself to a rock on the sea floor. After that, the polyp can reproduce into thousands of identical clones, meaning they’re genetically identical.
Polyps look like miniature flowers, but don’t be fooled by their seemingly innocent appearance.
They are carnivorous creatures that use tiny tentacles to snatch free-floating crustaceans and fish larvae that float too close. Polyps are especially active at night, which is when they come out to feed. It’s an incredible sight to watch them, quite literally, bloom to life:
Although an individual polyp is only a few centimeters in size at most, coral reefs are the largest biological structures on Earth. But they don’t just grow over night.
Reefs are actually the result of many individual coral colonies living together harmoniously. The coral reefs we see today actually began from individual coral colonies that started growing over 50 million years ago — well before humans ever walked the Earth.
These individual organisms are masters at surviving.
The most impressive thing about Stoupin’s epic video is that all of the colours in his shots are real “and not exaggerated or digitally enhanced,” he writes in the video description on Vimeo.
Mother Nature certainly has an artistic side:
On his blog, Stoupin writes a more detailed description about why he initiated this project and ultimately what he hopes viewers take away from it.
“The Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger and you have the power and finances to change its fate instead of scavenging what’s left of it.”
Check out the full video below and make sure to go full screen on this one. It also comes complete with an epic soundtrack.
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