The White Sea Biological Station sits at latitude 66° N, just on the cusp of the Arctic Circle, and on the shores of the White Sea, a lone arctic biologist explores the depths of the waters, photographing stunning pictures of arctic life. The only way to get there is by boat in summer and by snowmobile in winter.
Alexander Semenov, marine biologist, has one of the world’s most unlikely placed photo studios, where he photographs arctic sea creatures and shares them worldwide. Semenov is the head of the WSBS deep-sea diving team and he has been stationed at the WSBS since 2007. Semonov shares his photos through Flickr and his blog.
His mission is to share the hidden worlds of the arctic sea with the masses. At first, it was just an experiment. When the WSBS underwater sunk, Semenov had the WSBS upgrade to a Canon 400D with some macro lenses, underwater strobes and housing. From then on, underwater photography became part of his job.
Semenov’s photos have been used by scientists, teachers, book authors as well as encyclopedia editors. His team has identified previously unknown species, but that is something rare. Semenov tries to document the underwater life cycle of the sea creatures, something which has rarely been done.
His self-stated greatest triumph is photographing a sea angel (Clione limacina), which is a planktonic pteropod mollusk that has lost its shell in the evolution process and become a swimmer. Sea angels feed on sea butterflies and pteropod mollusks. C.limacina have six large hook-shaped buccal conuses hidden inside their heads, which they use to catch sea butterflies. Its head divides into two parts to pull the hooks out.
Any given dive lasts only about 40 to 60 minutes, so time is of essence when taking photos underwater in these harsh conditions. His dives usually take place at a depth of no deeper than 40 meters.