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In pictures: photography competition brings ocean conservation into focus

The winning photograph of the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021 contest is a testament to the power of conservation.

“This is a picture of hope, a glimpse of what the ocean can be like when we give it a chance.” So said the judges announcing the winner of the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021 contest, which for the first time has been awarded to a photographer.

Renee Capozzola from California won the international award for ‘Shark Skylight’, an image of blacktip reef sharks sailing under seagulls in French Polynesia (main image above).

“French Polynesia strongly protects its sharks, it is my favorite place to photograph them,” said Capozzola. “I spent several afternoons photographing in the shallow waters at sunset, and finally I was rewarded with this scene: crystal clear water, a rich sunset, sharks and even birds.”

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The chairman of the competition judges, Dr. Alexander Mustard MBE, said that “this is a photograph of hope, a glimpse of what the ocean can be like when we give it a chance, thriving with a spectacular life both below and below. above the surface. Not only did the photographer persevere until this serendipitous scene unfolded, but more importantly, Renee had the talent to capture this very moment. “

The UK-based contest also had a British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021 category. Mark Kirkland from Glasgow won that for his photo of a frog sitting on a frog spawn in a city center pond near his home. (down).

A frog sits in a pond near flats in Glasgow

A frog sits in a pond near the apartment buildings in Glasgow. Image: Mark Kirkland / UPY 2021

“This extraordinary image shows that even in Glasgow city center, world-class frogs and underwater photography can thrive,” said Mustard.

Among the other categories in the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition is one that celebrates animal behavior. Karim Iliya, also from the US, won the award and captured a stunning photograph of a marlin hunting smaller fish in Mexico (below).

Ocean conservation

Marlin hunting in Mexico. Image: Karim Iliya / UPY 2021

“The marlin is one of the fastest fish in the sea, a terrifying predator for a small fish in the great blue desert,” Iliya said. “I went to Mexico to document these feeding frenzy, but I was not expecting such a fast hunt, almost too fast for my brain to process. For a brief moment this scene played out before me and I had to trust all my instincts and practice underwater to take this photo. “

Below are some other photographs that caught the judges’ attention among the 4,500 entries.

Lead image: Renee Capozzola / UPY 2021

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