In pictures: photography competition brings ocean conservation into focus

The winning image from the Underwater Professional Photographer of the Year 2021 competitors is a testament to the power of preservation

” French Polynesia highly protects its sharks, it is my preferred location to photograph them,” stated Capozzola. “I dedicated several nights to photographing in the shallows at sundown, and I was finally rewarded with this scene: glass-calm water, an abundant sunset, sharks and even birds.”

Renee Capozzola from California won the global award for Sharks skylight, an image of black tipped reef sharks travelling beneath seagulls in French Polynesia (main image above).

” This is a picture of hope, a glance of how the ocean can be when we give it an opportunity.” Said judges revealing the winner of the 2021 Underwater Photographer of the Year competitors, which for the very first time has actually been awarded to a female photographer.

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The UK-based contest also had a classification for British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021 Mark Kirkland from Glasgow won that for his picture of a frog resting on frogspawn in an inner-city pond near his house (listed below).

” Marlin are among the fastest fish in the sea, a terrifying predator for a little fish in the fantastic blue desert,” stated Iliya. “I went to Mexico to document these feeding frenzies but was not anticipating such a fast-paced hunt, practically too quick for my brain to process. For a quick minute, this scene unfolded before me and I had to rely on all my impulses and practice undersea to take this photo.”

Below are some other pictures that captured judges eyes amongst the 4,500 entries.

Among the other classifications in the Underwater Photographer of the Year competitors is one that commemorates animal behaviour. That was won by Karim Iliya, likewise from the US, who caught a sensational picture of a marlin hunting smaller fish in Mexico (listed below).

A frog sits in a pond near tower blocks in Glasgow. Image: Mark Kirkland/UPY 2021

” This impressive image shows that even in the centre of the city of Glasgow, frogs and world class undersea photography can flourish,” stated Mustard.

A marlin searching in Mexico. Image: Karim Iliya/UPY 2021.

Chair of the competition judges, Dr Alexander Mustard MBE, said “this is a photograph of hope, a look of how the ocean can be when we offer it an opportunity, loving magnificent life both listed below and above the surface area. The photographer not just persevered till this serendipitous scene unfolded, but more importantly Renee had the talent to capture this accurate moment.”

Main image: Renee Capozzola/UPY 2021

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