Stanwell Park's Matty Smith captures amazing photo of octopus latching onto camera

Under the sea at Kurnell, Matty Smith positioned himself beside a football-sized orange octopus, and prepared to take the ultimate underwater adventurer’s selfie.

But the ‘pus was having none of it. Normally nocturnal, the creature had risen early Sunday morning amid mating season, and Smith’s expensive camera gear seemed to be making him all … hands-y. 

“They can be quite boisterous at this time of year and this one was actually trying to wrestle my camera out of my hands,” Smith, 40, of Stanwell Park, told the Mercury.

“All the suckers you can see are on the glass [housing] of my camera.” 

The resulting photograph, shot at The Monument dive spot, is the latest in a long line of head-turning captures from Smith, whose underwater adventures have netted him a suite of top awards over the past four years, including Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year - Animal Behaviour, in 2016, and overall winner in 2014. 

A contract engineer, Smith also works as a photographer-in-residence for Ocean Geographic Magazine, regularly diving and travelling the world in pursuit of unforgettable underwater moments. 

His next assignment will take him to Cocos Island in Costa Rica in September, to shoot the annual hammerhead shark aggregation.

Sunday’s dive was timed to make use of the clear conditions, before the 9am tide came in and clouded the water.

Smith departed with his camera gear in tact. Things also ended well for the octopus, last seen with a near-identical companion.

“I saw them snuggling under a rock on my next dive,” Smith said. “I love a happy ending.”

Illawarra Mercury