15 Stunning Shots of The Winners of the 2021 Underwater Photographer of The Year Competition
111st Place in ‘Portraits’- ‘Keeper of The Seven Keys’ by Ryohei Ito (Japan)
The winner of the category ‘Portraits’ in the 2021 Underwater Photographer of The Year Competition explained how he captured his award-winning shot: “As the Asian sheepshead wrasse grows older, it changes sex from female to male and at the same time it develops a large lump on its head. I thought about the lighting and composition so that the image of the bump and the powerful face could be conveyed, and challenged many times. He lives in a shrine under the water and looks just like a guardian deity. I would like to thank my teacher, Keigo Kawamura, for teaching me how to take underwater pictures, and Hiroyuki Arakawa who guided me”.
121st Place in ‘Black & White’- ‘The Cut’ by Diana Fernie (Australia)
The photographer, Diana Fernie, took this photo at Leru Cut in the Solomon Islands after winning a free 10-day trip on the Solomons PNG Master liveaboard. The diver in the picture was the wife of a photographer in Diana’s dingy group. She just happened to be a beautiful model who was posing for her husband when Diana managed to capture a few cheeky shots herself.
132nd Place in ‘Behavior’- ‘Face to Face’ by Jinggong Zhang (China)
It took Zhang about three years to capture this shot of two blennies in a fight. The chaenopsid blenny is a species found around South Korea and Japan. Its unique hairstyle is its most distinctive feature. This cool hairstyle has made this species widely referred to as Punk Blenny or Mohican Blenny.
143rd Place in ‘Behavior’- ‘Milk Feeding’ by Mike Korostelev (Russian Federation)
Mike Korosteleve won the third place in behavior when he captured a picture of a mother sperm whale feeding her calf just a few meters away from him. A family of 13 Sperm Whales out in the Indian Ocean allowed Mike to stay with them for the whole day. He considered it as a big honor bestowed upon him by the whales who allowed him in their habitat in the ocean. He captured the picture- ‘milk feeding’ towards the end of the day.
152nd Place in ‘Marine Conservation’- ‘The Yellow Candy’ by Pasquale Vassallo (Italy)
Pasquale Vassallo who ranked 2nd place in the 2021 Underwater Photographer of The Year Competition explained how he came across the sight which prompted him to take the shot at Campi Flegrei, Italy: “During one of my trips to the sea, I noticed a strong presence of these yellow nets closed like “candy”. I could not understand their purpose. In the following days, with the help of some local fishermen, I discovered that the candy is the heart of a trap. It is filled with dead fish and inserted into another net. Thanks to the smell of the remains of dead fish, it attracts some small molluscs – to be precise Ansari’s mutabilis – that once they enter the trap, they are unable to get out. Once the contents of the trap have been recovered, the candy is often abandoned in the sea, causing plastic pollution and, as visible in the shot, a trap for other organisms.”