A balletic photograph of crabeater seals swirling around an iceberg sees French photographer Greg Lecoeur named Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020.
Lecoeur’s photograph triumphed over 5500 underwater pictures entered by underwater photographers from 70 countries around the world.
To shoot “Frozen Mobile Home” Lecoeur travelled to Antarctica on a small yacht, enabling him to document the wildlife on icebergs as they drift at the whim of polar currents.
“Massive and mysterious habitats,” explains Lecoeur, “little is known about how wildlife thrives around these mobile homes. Icebergs fertilize the oceans by carrying nutrients from land that spark blooms of marine life and also provide homes for larger animals, like these crabeater seals.”
Lecoeur lives in Nice, France, but works full time as a photographer, travelling the world documenting life in the oceans.
Chair of the competition judges, Dr Alexander Mustard MBE, commented: “The motion of these seals and the ethereal landscape of the pitted iceberg takes our eyes on a journey through the frame and transports us to the icy ocean of Antarctica.”
In the same contest, Italian photographer, Pasquale Vassallo was named Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2020 for his photo, revealing the final moments of a tuna’s life as it is hauled up towards a fishing boat.
Vassallo took the photo “Last Dawn, Last Gasp” in the Mediterranean Sea, near his hometown of Naples. “This winter I accompanied some local fishermen,” explains Vassallo. “Diving at dawn, I followed the nets as they were hauled up from the depths, revealing a conveyor belt of dead and dying wildlife, such as this little tunny tuna gasping for life.”
Competition judge Peter Rowlands commented: “If a picture paints a thousand words, then a great one asks a thousand questions.”
Judge Mustard continues: “the ocean faces many threats, including climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution, and the conservation section of the Underwater Photographer of the Year gives a platform for the photographers, who are our eyes in and on the ocean seeing these issues first-hand. Much of what happens in the oceans goes unseen, but such powerful images help make more of us aware.”
The Underwater Photographer of the Year competition also aims to promote new photographic talent. Anita Kainrath, from Austria, was named as Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020 for an uplifting picture of baby lemon sharks thriving in a mangrove in the Bahamas. Her image “Shark Nursery” is not only beautiful, but it shows how important mangroves are, not just for protecting tropical coastlines, but also in the lives of endangered species.
Kainrath, from Vienna, explains the challenges in producing the image: “I was standing in knee-high water, trying to hold my camera still, waiting for the sharks, while mosquitoes and sand-flies were feasting on me! After about an hour the lemon shark pups finally came into photographic range and I was able to make this image.”
Judge Rowlands commented: “Her perseverance has definitely paid off with a beautifully balanced and observed image.”
The Underwater Photographer of the Year contest is based in the UK, and makes two awards specifically to British photographers. Nick More, from Devon, England was named as British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020 for his pop-art style photograph “Rabbitfish Zoom Blur” taken in Indonesia. “I created this effect in camera,” explains More, “by zooming my lens at the same time as I hit the shutter. My flash has frozen the central fish while the ambient light is blurred by the zooming.”
The title of Most Promising British Underwater Photographer 2020 goes to Nur Tucker from Wimbledon, London for an artistic panning photo of a seahorse. Her creative image “Commotion in the Ocean” uses an in-camera double exposure to create a feeling of waves surrounding this seahorse. Tucker explains: “I love experimenting and I have tried many different techniques, with varying degrees of success! After many attempts, everything came together with this shot.”
Underwater Photographer of the Year is an annual competition, based in the UK, that celebrates photography beneath the surface of the ocean, lakes, rivers and even swimming pools. British photographer Phil Smith was the first Underwater Photographer of the Year, named in 1965. Today’s competition attracts entries from all around the world, has 13 categories, testing photographers with themes such as Macro, Wide Angle, Behaviour and Wreck photography, as well as four categories for photos taken specifically in British waters. This year’s judges were experienced underwater photographers Peter Rowlands, Martin Edge and Alex Mustard.
To see all the incredible images that were placed in this years awards, or to learn more about the competition please visit the UPY website by clicking here.
To download the free 180 page downloadable Yearbook please click here.
WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!
The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.
- Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
- Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
- Internal retaining straps
- Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
- Side compartment for fins
- Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
- Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
- Drainage vents
- Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block
To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:
In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?
- A) 7,209
- B) 7,532
- C) 7,641
Answer, A, B or C to the question above:
Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)
How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.
In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.
- Here’s a link to that Cressi Mask: https://amzn.to/39EEol5
- Here’s a link to Stream2Sea: https://stream2sea.com/?ref=o-51ln3gn2c
Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Dive safe, dive often!
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