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Ocean Photography 2021 Awards are both fascinating and a call to action

The annual Ocean Photography awards have done it yet again, bringing us some of the most spectacular images from below the waves.

The annual Ocean Photography awards have been known to bring us some of the most stunning underwater imagery of late and this year they did not disappoint.

Ocean Photographer of the year was awarded to Aimee Jan for her image of a green sea turtle amongst a school of glassfish. The image, taken on Ningaloo Reef in Australia, is an important nesting site for these endangered sea turtles.

Image: Aimee Jan

Among the judges, The National Geographic photographer and conservationist Cristina Mittermaier explains why the entries are only getting better each year:

“It’s only in the past 10 years that the technology has advanced enough for us to be able to take our cameras deeper than 30 meters and the sensors now available are allowing us to see in the inky depths of the ocean things that we could not capture just five years ago.”

Image: Henley Spiers

Kerim Sabuncuoğlu, a finalist in this year’s competition likens the experience of exploring the ocean to space travel:

“If you don’t have the technology or the funds to go to another planet, just gear up and jump into the water, that’s another planet.” 

Image: Martin Broen

Whilst the competition showcases some beautiful images it also gives us insight into the fragile and mostly expletive relationship we have with our oceans.

Image: Steven Kovacs

Effects of the pandemic were also felt in this year’s entries with photographer Nicholas Samaras capturing the ecological impact of single-use medical equipment.

Samaras said, “I visit Santorini, a small seaside village in the Halkidiki peninsula, regularly to observe and photograph the local seahorse population…The biggest recent change is COVID waste.”

Image: Nicholas Samaras

Definitely worth a longer look, you can check out the full list of entries here.

They’re sure to leave you marveling at mother nature.