15 Stunning Shots of The Winners of the 2021 Underwater Photographer of The Year Competition

Water makes up about 71% of the Earth’s surface. As such, having a photography competition to capture the natural splendor of the watery kingdom is definitely something that should be celebrated. With that being said, every year there is a such a competition that takes place and the winners of the 2021 Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition has just been announced. This yearly competition celebrates all underwater habitats from oceans and rivers to seas and lakes, even smaller pools or streams of water.

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There are first second and third place winners across different photographic categories.

11st Place in ‘Wide Angle’ And Overall Winner of the Contest- ‘Sharks’ Skylight’ By Renee Capozzola

The ‘Sharks’ Skylight’ which became the overall winner of 2021 Underwater Photographer of The Year Competition was captured by Renee Capozzola. She captured the image during sunset in one of her favorite spots, in the shallows, to photograph sharks in French Polynesia. The sharks in Moorea, French Polynesia, are protected by strict laws which have allowed them to thrive. Such laws have also benefited the balance of the marine ecosystem.

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1st Place in ‘Wide Angle’ And Overall Winner of the Contest- ‘Sharks’ Skylight’ By Renee Capozzola

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21st Place in ‘British Waters Wide Angle’- ‘While You Sleep’ by Mark Kirkland (United Kingdom)

A small woodland called malls mire between a housing estate, supermarket and factory- is an unlikely haven for wildlife in Glasgow. Photographer Mark Kirkland knew that every year when winter thaws, one of the small muddy ponds there would spring to life with common frogs for a few nights. This shot of his was the final one which he had taken after lying in darkness and covered in mud waiting for this moment for 25 hours over 4 nights.

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1st Place in ‘British Waters Wide Angle’- ‘While You Sleep’ by Mark Kirkland

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32nd Place in ‘Wide Angle’- ‘Gothic Chamber’ by Martin Broen (United States)

In the riviera Maya of Mexico, the world’s largest underground river systems can be found. These are filled with clear water and never-ending tunnels and amazing halls with decorations that are considered to be as magnificent as the best gothic cathedrals in the world. It was really challenging for Martin to capture this beautiful hall in cenote Monkey Dust, not just because of its dimensions but due to the fact that it was pitch black.

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2nd Place in ‘Wide Angle’- ‘Gothic Chamber’ by Martin Broen

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43rd Place in ‘Wide Angle’- ‘Jellyfish Galore’ by Oleg Gaponyuk (Russian Federation)

Oleg Gaponyuk explained how he captured this sight of a swarm of jelly fish- “In March 2020, I flew to Palau for two weeks of diving. When I was there, the borders closed because of Covid-19, so I was able to fly back only after 3 months. It was a good time. Dive sites where you could previously meet 50 people, I visited alone. I have been to the jellyfish lake 4 times. Usually, a snorkeling session lasts 45 minutes due to the large number of tourists. But as I was alone, I could swim for 3-4 hours.”

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“Before the first dive, the guide told me: swim to the center of the lake, there you will see jellyfish. In the center, I found only a dozen jellyfish and was upset. The second time I took a drone with me and quickly flew around the entire lake. 2 million jellyfish, about which I read in Wikipedia, gathered in a small group near the shore at the far end of the lake, which was about 500 meters away. I took the camera and swam. I had to work with fins for 20 minutes until I ended up in real jellyfish soup. That’s where I shot this panorama.”

3rd Place in ‘Wide Angle’- ‘Jellyfish Galore’ by Oleg Gaponyuk

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51st Place in ‘British Waters Compacts’- ‘Sunrise Mute Swan Feeding Underwater’ by Ian Wade (United Kingdom)

The 1st place winner of the ‘British Waters Compacts’ category of the 2021 Underwater Photographer of The Year competition- Ian Wade said: “I decided to attach a small weight to the back of my GoPro and threw it into the lake a short distance from me. The small weight would mean the GoPro always fell on its back, so I could shoot at an almost vertical angle. I have connected the GoPro to my Phone so I could remotely fire off images.”

“The GoPro hitting the water had attached the swan’s interest and they swam over. I waited until one of the swans was in the correct position and with its head underwater and shot a high-speed burst of images enabling me to capture this picture”, he explained.

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1st Place in ‘British Waters Compacts’- ‘Sunrise Mute Swan Feeding Underwater’ by Ian Wade

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