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    Best Ocean Pics From The 2020 Ocean Photography Awards

    Bored Panda – All of you nature-loving Pandas are in for a treat. The Oceanographic Magazine has just announced the finalists of the Ocean Photography Awards and they look utterly magnificent. We can’t wait to show them to you, so scroll down to submerge yourself in the photographic glory of under- and above-water ecosystems. Remember to upvote your fave photos!

    Now that we’ve seen the finalists, we can’t wait to hear who the winners of the competition are. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long: the Ocean Photography Awards winners will be announced on November 19 during a virtual ceremony worthy of Poseidon himself. You can watch the award ceremony live on the Ocean Photography Awards YouTube channel starting at 7 p.m. GMT, Thursday. Which photos do you think are the best of the best, dear Readers? (We’ve got our favorites but they’re a secret!) Let us know in the comment section!

    The Ocean Photography Awards team told Bored Panda that the competition is a celebration of the photographers “who capture our ocean spaces in earnest, sharing them with those who might otherwise never have an opportunity to see such places. By sharing their relationship with nature, ocean photographers provide space for their audiences to connect with the marine environment, which will hopefully mean more people will feel a drive to protect it.” Read on for our full interview with the wonderful OPA team.

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    Two widowed penguins seemingly comfort one another as they gaze upon Melbourne’s lights. “I originally intended to capture an image that shows the pressures that human developments can have of wild animal populations,” says photographer Tobias Baumgaertner. “This image is so much more. It communicates togetherness and love.”

    Nominee: Adventure Photographer Of The Year

    Nominee: Adventure Photographer Of The Year

    Two sharks surf a wave at Red Bluff, Quobba Station, in remote Western Australia. “The huge bait ball the sharks were feeding on had moved very close to the shoreline,” says photographer Sean Scott, who was on an expedition spanning the full WA coast. “I got the long lens out and took a test shot of the waves, and the very next wave the sharks were in it. I didn’t see this happen again throughout the next two days that I was there.”

    Nominee: Exploration Photographer Of The Year

    Nominee: Exploration Photographer Of The Year

    A freediver explores a cave in Tonga. Despite having visited this site more than 100 times, photographer Karim Iliya had never see the light quite like it was on this particular day: “It looked like he [the subject] was looking into another world. It made me think about exploration on this planet, and how you can even go somewhere you’ve already been and see it in a new way.”

    “The judging panel spent a lot of time carefully going through the submitted images and then discussing their thoughts together to choose this year’s winners. It was definitely a tricky process, as we received an astonishing array of beautiful imagery for consideration. Each of these judges works tirelessly to protect the ocean, using extraordinary storytelling and photography to catalyze real change. Their time, energy, and expertise are such an important and valuable part of these Awards,” a representative of the Ocean Photography Awards team said.

    “We’ve got some really exciting speakers for the event on Thursday, and the Awards ceremony will be broadcast from a special extended reality stage in London. Beautiful imagery will be shared and showcased throughout, with nominees joining via video call to hear the judges’ final decisions. The winners will also be invited to tell us a little more about their photographs and the important stories they convey.” #4

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    A humpback whale calf ‘breakdances’ in the warm waters of Tonga. Photographer Jono Allen captured this moment on the final day of a three-week trip searching for an intimate calf encounter. “We hadn’t had any luck during the entire season, and then all of a sudden on the last day we came across this wonderful and joyful calf,” says Allen.

    Nominee: Adventure Photographer Of The Year

    Nominee: Adventure Photographer Of The Year

    Paddle boarders float above a reef at sunset. “This image is one of a series of images aimed at demonstrating the innate bond humans have with the ocean, whether we are physically in it or just floating on the surface,” says photographer Grant Thomas. “In creating this picture, timing was everything; I had to shoot exactly at low tide to be close enough to the reef, while simultaneously capturing the sun as it hit the horizon.”

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Henley Spiers is an award-winning photographer who has featured regularly in the international press, including The Sunday Times and Der Spiegel, as well as multiple magazine covers. In 2019, he co-authored Black is the New Blue Vol. II, showcasing blackwater diving. His latest book, the Guide to Cebu, was co-written with his wife and frequent collaborator, Jade. Sought after as a teacher and guide, Henley also leads photographic trips to see incredible underwater wildlife encounters around the globe.

    “The Ocean Photography Awards are a celebration of our beautiful blue planet, as well as a platform to highlight the many plights it is facing,” the Oceanographic Magazine writes on its website.

    The judging panel is made up of some of the world’s leading ocean photographers, so you can expect them to go all-in when it comes to picking out the best. Among them are expedition leaders and award-winners who have played an integral part in the conservation of species and raising public awareness about the issues that affect oceans and their denizens.

    The judges’ work was far from easy. They had to choose the 100 finalists from more than 3k gorgeous entries. And their work’s only going to get harder as the ceremony ticks closer and closer. #7

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    Predator and prey, photographed off the coast of Jupiter, Florida. “The sun was going down and the lighting was epic,” says photographer Tanner Mansell. “Evening thunderclouds were building, but light rays were still poking through here and there. Everything came together. When bull sharks attack, they extend their jaws. It was exciting to try to get that moment on camera. This is one of my all-time favourite moments, and all-time favourite shots.”

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    Nominee: Community Choice Award

    A Steller sea lion inquisitively peers into photographer Celia Kujala’s dome port off the coast of Hornby Island, British Columbia. “Steller sea lions are listed as near-threatened on the IUCN Red List,” says Kujala. “I hope this image makes people want to protect them and their ocean home.”

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Grant Thomas is an award-winning underwater photographer, writer, and expedition guide with a fascination for the natural world. Originally from the United Kingdom, he moved to Asia to work as a scuba-diving instructor. His work has taken him around the world, from the warm tropical waters of Indonesia to the glacier-covered landscape of the Arctic.

    There are 6 award categories plus the overall winner who will share the total prize pool of over a whopping half a million pounds. Some of the categories include the Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year, the Community Choice Award, and the Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year.

    The competition aims to make the categories as broad and as inclusive as possible so that the “bravest and boldest photographers” don’t shy away from sharing their amazing photographs with the world. The photos also don’t necessarily have to be underwater. The shots can be from up topside. On the coast. Or from out into the sea. So there’s a lot of flexibility and the sky’s the limit (or in this case, the limit’s probably the Mariana Trench). #10

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Nadia Aly is an award-winning wildlife photographer, with a focus on underwater marine life. Her primary goal is to educate people about the diverse populations of sea creatures that exist in the ocean. She hopes her photography can raise awareness and interest in supporting efforts to conserve the ocean and its inhabitants.

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Nadia Aly is an award-winning wildlife photographer, with a focus on underwater marine life. Her primary goal is to educate people about the diverse populations of sea creatures that exist in the ocean. She hopes her photography can raise awareness and interest in supporting efforts to conserve the ocean and its inhabitants.

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    Nominee: Collective Portfolio Award

    A settling wunderpuss photographed at night during a blackwater dive in Anilao, Philippines. “Ninety percent of reef life starts out in this pelagic zone,” says photographer Henley Spiers. “During the day it stays relatively deep, and safe, only coming up to the surface at night to feed. I like to think the wunderpuss was chasing the shrimp that you also see in the bottom of the frame.”

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