The marine waters and life can be a tad different from our regular mundane lives, but then venturing into these ruffled waters in not just a matter of passion and appreciation but it takes a brave heart and a patient soul to see those unearthly movements and rhythms. So if you are one of those underwater photographers or aspiring to be one, or just a mere nature lover then get yourself a couch as we bring you some delectable underwater photography for the year 2017 as the organizers of this event have been really generous to allow a sneak peek into the amazing photographs captured underwater.
Underwater photographer of the year-winner Gabriel Barathieu from France who captured this beauty in the Island of Mayotte which is off the coast of South East Africa was declared the undisputed winner for this year. One of the judges rightly called it “Balletic and Malevolent” as he realized that the creature was captured in Barathieu’s lens while it was hunting in the lagoon. The photographer shared that he was waiting for the spring tides when the flats just had 30 cms of water allowing light to penetrate good enough to allow this exposure. He shared that he went really close to get this effect of making this 14 mm octopus look really huge.
Up- and –coming underwater photographer of the year– So Horacio Martinez from Argentina has shown a good amount of promise in taking this shot in the Red Sea where a small shark seems to roam around in its own glory in the cobalt blue waters. He has created an effect where in the beginning the sky and the ocean looks like one and all and as we scroll down we are engulfed in the vastness and depth of the ocean creating a dramatic effect.
British underwater photographer of the year- winner Nick Blake from UK took this shot in the Mexican waters as he goes down a cave to capture a diver veering her way in the Yukatan peninsula in Kukulkan. The cenote has been flooded with sunbeams alternately and the diver seems to be hopping from one beam to other floating through the sleek rays. So Nick shared that he positioned himself in cavern’s shadows and managed to find the symmetry giving it a truly 3 d effect. As the clouds came alternately hiding and revealing the sun the diver friend Andrea Costanza was called to edge into the stronger beams making a picture perfect frame.
Most promising underwater photographer of the year Nicholai Georgiou :- from UK took this image in Tromso in the mystic Norwegian waters. So during a winter sunset when the water temperature was around just 5 C the pod of killer whales were captured which was found extremely daring and experimental by one of the observant judges. It was commented that any other underwater photographer would strive to capture only one whale and be extremely contented with the achievement but, Nicholai have been greedy and brave enough to catch a glimpse of these whales as they headed towards the waning sun.
Macro category- commended winner Steven Kovacs from USA captured this Larval Lionfish in the Palm Beach of Florida. So this beauty which is a lionfish blooming in its larval stage just showed up happily spreading its fins when Kovacs was struggling to capture some zooplanktons in the black waters. This was an exquisite shot since these tiny beings move at lightning speed and to have them trapped in lens can be quite a task. They usually tend to speed up and move as soon as they detect diving lights in dark waters but instead Kovacs managed to hold it when it just decided to spread its fins was really incredible.
Wide angle category winner as under highly commended. The winner of this category Fabrice Guerin from France has the good fortune to take this shot in Andenes in Norway again. Guerin waited for around 20 minutes to be pleasantly surprised by the sudden appearance of the whale in the chilly waters chasing a school of herring towards the shore to actually lay its hands on some Orcas. The herrings on the other hand appear to be speeding away from the region where the giant drifts gradually.
Wrecks category-highly commended winner Nadya Kulagina from Kazakhstan itself chose the Red Sea to capture the Haunted room that lay buried in the waters of time. The photographer flipped the camera in a vertical way to get this shot to give a feel of how this room would have looked once upon a time when it maneuvered its way through saline waters. Beautifully flood with rays of light this Umbria almost looks intact in its former glory with little to do with the ravages of time.
Behavior category- highly commended winner; Greg Lecoeur, again a talented photographer from France ventured around Port Saint Johns in South Africa to capture a frame of the happy Dolphins hunting. The sardines are in sharp decline today due to overfishing and climate change and they are eminently part of the food chain. As they do their usual migration along the coast, they are aggressively hunted down by marine predators like sharks, sea lions and dolphins, but this is something which is very unpredictable as expressed by Lecoeur. Several days were spent underwater to get this exclusive shot where Dolphins are spilling out the sardines from their mouth. It is just too spellbinding and complete to ask for more.
Behavior category winner- Your Home and My Home Qing Lin from Canada has marvelously portrayed the clownfish, a group that has been portrayed in finding nemo and many other frames as being popularly photographed. But what sets this image apart is that Lin noticed the parasitic isopods housed in the mouths of these small fish. 6 dives were spent to have all the three fishes look nowhere but the lens revealing the isopods. What amount of laborious time must have been spent in order to get a moment where they are rushing straight looking at the lens of the camera!
Behavior category- commended: The photographer Simone Caprodossi from UAE had geared up with a completely different intention in Mexico’s Bahia Magdalena location, and that was to capture the blue and mako sharks. But changed their intention in a small beach where fishermen land their catch. As the pelicans flapped their colorful wings to get hold of bait, the shark shoot had no other way but to be abandoned to get hold of this rich palette of colors. The pelicans seemed to have rushed leaving all rest aside while some bask above the surface of waters appreciating their team skill.
Highly recommended, wide angle winner- Prince of the waters: During the reproduction time the common toads swim back in the waters. This is roughly around the month of February and the water is clean and gives good amount of visibility. In the waters of France’s Lamalou River this sight was captured by photographer Yannick Gouguenheim. He describes this adventure to be challenging since he waited under the mighty shadows of this tiny creature when it aligns itself with the sun to give a fabulous shot.
Winner of wide angle: One in a million as photographed by Ron Watkins: Watkins expressed that he came across this huge moon jellyfish bloom that had spread its tentacles for several hundred meters. This adventure started with the focus of catching some salmon sharks in Alaska but the dense bloom of jelly fish was something that captivated him and kept his team under water for quite some time. It looked other wordly and much more fascinating than a Jellyfish Lake that Watkins saw in Palau. He positioned himself directly over the Jellyfish as it gradually rose from the bloom and took the shot.
Commended under Macro category-By Katherine Lu: In the local waters of Singapore this ethereal image was captured. The visibility on an average had been around 3m. It was quite striking and a revelation in fact that the shores of the water can actually be the frame for macro. The idea came to her mind that she would turn these Nudibranch into piece of art. The bubbles that are produced by plants under water during photosynthesis have been captured in this image while they were sticking to green leaves adding a completely new dimension to it.
Highly commended portrait – Importance of darkness by Damien Mauric: This can really go down in the list of images capturing endangered species. The clumsy lizard, the marine iguana just creates a sense of awe and yet makes the photographer feel privileged to have captured a moment with it in the Galapagos Island when this animal was roving the sea bed in search of its next prey.
Commended, Wide Angle- Silversides at Twilight by Tony Myshlyaev: The photographer positioned himself in the jetty and with the idea of silversides in his mind he took the leap in the waters to implement this idea during the monsoon rains. His challenge was to capture the school of fish which was really evasive and with an uncooperative setting sun as the source of light in the back drop. But then a passerby arrived on the jetty as some trevally arrived to feed on the coastline of Koh Tao in Thailand to give this beaming moment. And that was it! It had to be lens captured.
So here we brought you some of the amazing photography of the mystic underwater world to give you an insight as to what the nature is conjuring up some few meters deep down the waters.