Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Shooting with the Fishes



Underwater photographer of the year – winner. Dancing Octopus by Gabriel Barathieu (France). Location: Island of Mayotte, off the coast of south-east Africa



"Balletic and malevolent,” one judge said of this octopus, hunting in a lagoon. Barathieu waited until spring tides when there was just 30cm of water on the flats and plenty of light in the shallows. Photograph: Gabriel Barathieu/UPY2017


French photographer Gabriel Barathieu has been named this year’s winner for his ‘balletic, malevolent’ dancing octopus, while British winner Nick Blake captured a lone diver among the otherworldly sunbeams of a Mexican cave

The Guardian  Feb 14, 2017


 British underwater photographer of the year – winner. Out of the Blue by Nick Blake (UK). Location: Yukatán peninsula, Kukulkan

Kukulkan, one of the spectacular cenotes on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, is noted for its otherworldy light as sunbeams penetrate the darkness of the cave. Blake captured this diver in the centre of one of the beams. Photograph: Nick Blake/UPY2017



Up-and-coming underwater photographer of the year – winner. Oceanic in the Sky by Horacio Martinez (Argentina). Location: the Red Sea

Oceanics range across entire oceans in tropical and subtropical waters and feature on the IUCN endangered list. As the judge noted of the Red Sea, Martinez has “realised its dramatic effect extremely well and used it to contrast the small shark in a big, blue, lonely world”. Photograph: Horacio Martinez/UPY2017


Most promising underwater photographer of the year – winner. Orca Pod by Nicholai Georgiou (UK). Location: Tromsø, Norway

Georgiou got this shot during a winter sunset, with the water down to just 5C. As an envious judge pointed out, “Most underwater photographers would be happy to get a shot of a single killer whale, but Nicholai had the composure not to panic and time the shot perfectly as a pod of killer whales passed by heading into the setting sun. I’m jealous.” Photograph: Nicholai Georgiou/UPY2017
 

Wide-angle category – highly commended. Frozen Hunting by Fabrice Guerin (France). Location: Andenes, Norway

This humpback was a surprise to Guerin, who followed a school of herring in water temperatures down to 2C. He was looking for orcas, as the whales tend to push herring towards the shore here. The 20-minute wait was rewarded with an unexpected encounter. Photograph: Fabrice Guerin/UPY2017 


Macro category – commended. Larval Lionfish by Steven Kovacs (USA). Location: Palm Beach, Florida

Kovacs was on the lookout for tiny plankton and larval creatures on a black water drift dive when this rare tiny lionfish in its early larval stage flared its fins. The size and speed of such tiny animals makes them difficult to capture. “I can’t help but feel I should have fought more for this exquisite image to be pushed a little higher up the order,” reflected the judge. Photograph: Ximena/Steven Kovacks/UPY2017 



Wrecks category – highly commended. The Haunted Room by Nadya Kulagina (Kazakhstan). Location: the Red Sea

The stillness of this underwater scene flooded with light captured the judges’ attention. It’s “what this room might have looked like when the Umbria was still intact and plying the seas”, thought Kulagina. The wreck lies on its side so she flipped the camera vertically to get the shot.  Photograph: Nadya Kulagina/UPY2017 


Behaviour category – winner. Your Home and My Home by Qing Lin (Canada).

Clownfish must be among the most photographed of all sea creatures. But looking closer, Lin noticed parasitic isopods in the mouths of these little fish. The judge appreciated the whole scene: “Six eyes all in pin-sharp focus, looking into the lens of the author ... this was one of my favourite shots of the entire competition.” Photograph: Qing Lin/UPY2017 


Behaviour category – highly commended. Dolphins Hunting by Greg Lecoeur (France). Location: Port Saint Johns, South Africa

Sardines, a crucial part of the food chain for many marine animals, are in sharp decline. During their migration along the coast, many predators work together to hunt them but, Lecoeur says, “the action is more and more unpredictable”. He spent several days on the ocean to have just one chance and got this shot. As the judge put it: “Dolphins with sardines spilling out of their mouths. What more can you ask for?”  Photograph: Greg Lecoeur/UPY2017


Behaviour category – commended. The Contenders by Simone Caprodossi (UAE). Location: Bahia Magdalena, Mexico

Another surprise subject for this photographer who went to Bahia Magdalena to photograph blue and mako sharks. “We stopped by a small beach where fisherman land their catch.” The snappers hung off the side to shoot the pelicans diving for bait and photographic pickings were so rich they abandoned the shark shoot.  Photograph: Simone Caprodossi/UPY2017

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