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Photographer Gets Up Close And Personal With Jellyfish

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When we think of jellyfish, our initial thought may be of their unpleasant sting, but in terms of natural awe, nothing can beat the billowing beauty of these drifting invertebrates. Perfectly in tune with the fashionable Cnidaria, Russian underwater photographer Alexander Semenov has crafted his skills over four years of trials and tribulations.

Semenov graduated from Lomonosov's Moscow State University with a degree in zoology with an emphasis on, erm, squid brains. He soon joined the White Sea Biological Station as a senior laborer and eventually became the chief of their diving team. The new role prompted Semenov to begin photographing specimens in the lab and after several months of trying to get the perfect shot, the crew invested in a camera with underwater capabilities.

The transition was not seamless as Semenov states on his website. "It was much more difficult, and I spent another two months without any significant results. But when you're working at something every day, you inevitably get a lot of experience."

Want to try your hand, but don't know where to find stunning jellyfish floating around? Manmade effects on underwater ecosystems have resulted in a population boom for the slow-moving creatures. As overfishing, dead zones and other human impacts continue to shape the ocean environment, other organisms competing for food have slowly disappeared, creating a vacuum that jellyfish have taken full advantage of. Referred to as the "gelatinous ocean" by some scientists, the growing dominance of jellyfish in the food chain could mean you'll get your chance to photograph the wondrous creatures sooner than you think. View a slideshow of Semenov's gorgeous images below, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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