The best underwater photos of 2021

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Photography will help you to immerse yourself into amazing world of the ocean, visit different parts of the planet, and reveal the secrets of the depths of sea. We look at the photo and do not even think about what stands behind it, except for the curiosity and persistence of the photographer.
The best works of the international competition “Underwater Photography 2021” have been published. 500 photographers from different countries presented 5,000 works.

The winner of the competition Rene Capozzola (USA) and her work “Sharks from the Heavenly Window”

Rene Capozzola used an interesting optical effect – the “Snell window”. Imagine that the photographer, while underwater, sees an illuminated circle above him with crisp, darker edges. In this circle, as in a window, you can see the entire underwater and surface world – sharks, seagulls over the water and the sunset.
The place where the picture was taken is noteworthy – this is the “world capital of sharks” French Polynesia. It is a home to countless reef and tiger sharks, nurse sharks and huge hammerhead sharks, barracudas, bottlenose dolphins, eagle rays and manta rays. By the way, for the ancient Tahitians, sharks personified the souls of their ancestors.
The best scuba diving place in French Polynesia is located north of the main islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora in the Tuamotu island chain, which includes the Rangiroa and Fakarava atolls. If you’re lucky, you can watch the reef sharks swim accompanied by turtles and dolphins.

“While You Sleep” by Mark Kirkland (UK)

Malls Mire is a wild island in Glasgow. Every year, when winter recedes, frogs come to life in the small muddy pond. This happens over several nights. It was then, in the cold and dark, that the photographer Mark Kirkland was waiting for “an ordinary miracle”. And while the city slept, they came to life and lived in the pond. Malls Mire in 2015 became a local nature reserve located between Thoriglen and Rutherglen. In fact, this is a small forest area with swamps and walking paths where you can meet deer or even foxes while relaxing.

“Lionfish Larva”, Stephen Kovacs (USA)

Florida has always been popular with diving amateurs and professionals. Its waters are home to sea turtles, sharks and whales, and in the summer months lemon sharks swim in the shallow waters of the reefs. In the underwater caves, you can see a manatee – a sea cow.
The photographer stumbled upon a lionfish larva while diving off the coast of Florida. Interestingly, lionfish appeared in the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of the United States of America. Scientists believe they were released into the ocean by aquarium owners. The reason for this act remains a mystery, but now lionfish have become a real disaster for the ocean ecosystem. They multiply quickly, the period of their ripening period is short, they eat a lot and indiscriminately, harming the environment. Consumers of small herbivorous fish, together with crustaceans, they provoke the growth of algae on corals.

Feeding the Mute Swan at Sunrise, Ian Wade (UK)

Photographer Ian Wade threw a camera into the lake, which, due to a heavy load, went to the bottom. The swan, attracted by the splash of water, lowered its head under the water. This is how this wonderful shot came out.
An ancient legend says: “The British kingdom will be indestructible as long as crows nest in the Tower, and London will bloom while swans float on the Thames.” And if for crows foggy Albion is the homeland, then swans were brought from Cyprus 12 centuries ago. There is a special attitude towards them in Britain – every year a colorful ceremony of counting and ringing them takes place on the Thames, and at the royal court there is a special position of a swan scribe.

“Ray-finned Japanese perch”, Keigo Kawamura (Japan)

Photographer Keigo Kawamura, with 20 years of experience in underwater photography, has encountered ray-finned perch for the first time, a fish that is not easy to find in the ocean. Due to the mirrored scales and the successful incident light, the perch appears transparent. In Japan, this species is called Suzuki. It is located on rocky reefs where there is a flow. But such fish are interesting only on the photo, in real life they are lost against the background of turtles, rays, whale sharks – the diverse underwater world of Japan. The archipelago itself consists of 4,000 small islands. Okinawa, Yonaguni, Ogasawara, Izu Hanto, Hokkaido – both professionals and those who first dive into the underwater world come here.

“Seal in an underwater ravine”, Kirsty Andrews (UK)

A seal with large naive eyes is natural in its eccentricity, but the picture itself is notable for its background. Light, passing the algae, penetrates and brightly illuminates the ravine. Absolutely not distracting from the main character of the photo – “shy seal”. Interestingly, the UK is the home of the second long-faced seal in the world. Thousands of cubs are born on the beaches of the North Sea coast from November to January.

Fight: Face to Face by Jinggong Zhang (China)

The black background composition with fighting fish emphasizes the drama of the situation. In the photo you can see the Zvonimira dogfish that live in South Korea and Japan. They are distinguished by branchy bangs and a peaceful disposition. Fish live separately.
Fights take place for the habitat during the breeding season. A fierce fight for a partner, often ends with serious injuries. The instinct to defend the territory leads to fights with “outsiders”, those who differ in shape and color.

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