underwater

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Photography

A Stunning Image of a Surfer Trapped Under One of the World’s Heaviest Waves Wins the Ocean Photographer of the Year

October 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

Image © Ben Thouard. All images courtesy of Oceanographic, shared with permission

The 2022 Ocean Photographer of the Year contest highlights the vast array of colors and textures within marine environments. More than 5,000 entrants from around the world submitted to this year’s competition, with winning images framing the iridescent, billowing membranes of creatures spotted during blackwater dives, the speckled tentacles of baby squid, and a school of baitfish swirling into a choreographed pattern. The top prize was awarded to photographer Ben Thouard for his disorienting image of a surfer trapped under one of Tahiti’s infamous Teahupo’o waves, which are among the heaviest swells in existence.

Selected photos are on view through November 7 next to Tower Bridge in London, and you can see the entire 2022 collection on the contest’s site.

 

Image © Katherine Lu

Image © Brook Peterson

Image © Matty Smith

Image © Brooke Pyke

Image © Ishino Shota

Image © Gergo Rugli

Image © Martin Broen

 

 

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Photography

Underwater Photos by Steven Kovacs Frame the Shimmering Unearthly Bodies of Larval Fish

August 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

A young Ribbonfish off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs. All images licensed

Set against the stark backdrops attainable only during blackwater dives, larval fish become strange, otherworldly specimens with glasslike bodies and translucent fins that billow outward. Their delicate, still-developing anatomies are the subjects of Steven Kovacs’s underwater photos, which frame the young creatures at such precarious stages of life.

Living in Palm Beach, Kovacs (previously) frequents the waters off the Florida coasts, although he’s also recently explored areas near Kona, Hawaii. Expeditions have brought encounters with both the elusive acanthonus armatu and a type of larval ipnopidae that hasn’t been documented previously. “Of course, we are always hoping to run across a never-before-seen species like the discoverichthys praecox,” he says. “To be the first to ever find and photograph a species in the wild is an absolute thrill.”

Next on Kovacs’s list are a hairy goosefish larva and a crocodile toothfish species. Dive into an extensive archive of his images on Instagram, and pick up a print from Blue Planet.

 

Acanthonus armatus off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Discoverichthys praecox off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Flying fish off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Larval fish off Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

A Caribbean Reef Octopus tending to her eggs off Riviera Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Larval flounder off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

“Fu Manch” Flyingfish off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

 

 



Science

Underwater Footage Captures a Graceful Whale Shark Swimming Through the Gulf of Thailand

March 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

Underwater footage from a dive off the coast of KoTao opens on the spotted body of a whale shark. Documented by a small team from Aquatic Images on two excursions, the giant, slow-moving creature is shown gliding gracefully through the Gulf of Thailand with what appears to be dozens of remora, or suckerfish, tagging along for the ride—these smaller swimmers tend to clean bacteria and parasites from their host in exchange for food and easy travel.

Whale sharks are currently the largest living fish species, and similar to flamingos, they’re filter-feeders, although they utilize a cross-flow method that involves water passing by the filter toward the back of the throat rather than through it. Their distinctive spots are also unique to each specimen, meaning that like human fingerprints, no two patterns are the same.

This is the second time in recent years that Aquatic Images has encountered the “gentle giant,” and you can find more of its undersea footage on YouTube. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Photography

Spectacular Moments of Life and Death Are Unveiled in the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards

March 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Facing reality” © Amos Nachoum. All images courtesy of the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards, shared with permission

Taken across six continents, the entries to the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards capture the hungry, curious, and ingenious animals around the globe. This year’s winners include an arctic fox braving an Icelandic snowstorm, a trio of red ants forming a bridge to let each other pass between rocks, and a serendipitous shot of a leopard seal preparing to snack on a gentoo penguin, which garnered the top prize. Centering on both the largest and the often imperceptible creatures inhabiting the planet, the photos are diverse and an example of the wonder and awe that exists at every level of the animal kingdom. See some of our favorite shots below and the full collection on the award’s site.

 

Arctic Fox, Iceland © Vince Burton

© Mohammad Murad

“Capturing the movement” © Mike Eyett

New York City Humpback © Matthijs Noome

© Massimo Giorgetta

“North of the Wall” © Christian Tuckwell Smith

© Chin Leong Teo

“Open wide” © Celia Kujala

© Buddhilini de Soyza

 

 



Photography Science

A Deep-Sea Montage Unveils the Fantastic, Bizarre Creatures Swimming in Monterey Bay

February 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

A compilation recently released from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (previously) invokes the old adage that reality is stranger than fiction. Featuring dozens of otherworldly sea creatures, the footage highlights some of the most bizarre animals spotted during the organization’s ROV dives, which range from the water’s surface to its 4,900-foot-deep floor. The montage includes a diverse array of species from aptly named strawberry squid and the elusive psychedelic jellyfish to the pacific viperfish. The institute’s partner organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is also hosting an exhibition dedicated to the mysterious creatures living in the region, which opens this April. (via Moss and Fog)

 

Peacock squid

Swimming sea cucumber

Feather star

Vampire squid

Strawberry squid

Barreleye

 

 



Photography Science

Rare Footage Captures the Luminous Tentacles of the Psychedelic Jellyfish as It Floats Through the Pacific Ocean

January 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

The findings coming out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Insitute continue to amaze us: new footage from a recent ROV dive into the midnight zone of Monterey Canyon in the Pacific Ocean captures the incredibly rare psychedelic jellyfish and its vibrant body. First discovered in 2018, the elusive creature has luminous, spindly tentacles that, when drifting in the water, appear like colorful light trails rather than gelatinous appendages. The footage shares glimpses of both male and female specimens and their distinct body parts, and you also might want to watch this phantom jellyfish and its 33-foot limbs. (via Laughing Squid)