Sci-fi scenes that use real ocean life as props

Jason Isley is an underwater photographer, which means that the strange and wonderful creatures you and I go ga-ga over are really just part of a workaday routine for him. This is a fact which has gotten him into fights on the Internet ...

I made a comment online recently that I was growing tired of nudibranches and was immediately bombarded with abuse and comments from ‘nudi-lovers’. Allow me to clarify: It’s not that I actually dislike the little flamboyant slugs, but once you have shot a few thousand images of nudies and other common macro life, I was running out of ways to maintain my passion for photographing them. I’ve shot them from countless angles and under a variety of lighting configurations. I know there are now lots of different techniques and gadgets to spice things up, like snoots, external macro diopters, and bugeye lenses, but for me, I really wanted to do something entirely different.

The result: A clever, cheeky series of photos that pair real underwater life forms with little miniature figurines from the hobby store and the toy store.


  1. Isn’t that phony tilt-shift stuff just soooo last year?

    But kudos for finding all those sea monsters.

  2. Even though I count myself among the “nudi-lovers” I can imagine I’d get tired of anything after taking a few thousand pictures of it. Which is the beauty of Isley’s pictures: even for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to look at nudibranches daily it makes us look at them in a new way.

    I also like that the later pictures in the sequence contain educational information. It’s information we should all know, but, again, presented in a really funny way.

  3.  The colors on the little tiny people remind me of Sealab 2020 or even Sealab 2021. Now that I think about it, I bet it was those jerkwads in Pod 6 that sent the nudi-lovin’ nastygrams.

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