What in the watery world is this? “A Sand Tiger Shark Surrounded by Tiny Bait Fish”, according to Tanya Houppermans. She should know as she’s the photographer of this award-winning image in the Portrait category. To get this one-of-a-kind shot, Houppermans swam on her back underneath a sand tiger shark surrounded by millions of tiny fish. A risky move, perhaps, but it paid off: as Houppermans carefully swam along with the shark, its halo of fish parted, revealing the shark’s underside and toothy “grin”.
Black & White
The Black & White category was won by photographer Borut Furlan and his jaw-dropping “Crocodile Reflections”. Furlan went to Cuba to snap a small seawater crocodile, choosing the precise time when the low evening sunlight glanced off still surface waters. The reflections of this ancient toothy reptile made for an award-winning photo for the ages.
The words “compact” and “whale” don’t often appear together in the same sentence but here we are, discussing “Dancing with the Giants” by photographer Simone Matucci, winner of the Compact category. To set the scene in context, a pod of humpback whales happened to be swimming near the Haʻapai islands of Tonga while Matucci and his wife were scuba-diving nearby. “It was the most wild and incredible thing I have probably witnessed in my entire life,” stated Matucci, and thanks to his foresight in carrying a camera during his dive, we can all share his sense of wonder.