<font color='#000080'>The winner is a nice picture, but is rather less impressive when you know about the manner in which it was taken. It's hardly the same when you realise that the photographer has had all the time in the wolrd to set himself up, ready for someone to obligingly drop the turtle into the water from a boat just out of shot.
For that reason, the crown jellyfish would get my vote.
The winner IS a wonderful picture, though. My own favourites among the others are Linda Dunk's Sleeping hawksbill and Thomas Haider's Sperm whale calf. I can't see anything special about Darryl Torckler's Coral trout and anthias shot, though.
Mark, I see your point, but consider the overall winner (mindblowingly good to me). The main points are that the photographers are honest about the details and that the picture convey something. In a way, the winning picture benefits from knowing that this could have been a rotting carapace unless the turtle had been saved. Given that, and the pure beauty of the picture,one can really see why these creatures are worth saving, n'est pas!?
John, I concur that the coral trout is a little "bleak", and to me the sperm whale is the winner, simply because of what it tells us about their behaviour. However I guess that does not count enough given "These photographs can show marine or freshwater animals or plants. The most important criteria are aesthetic ones, but interest value is also taken into account."
Of the two turtle shots, only the winner does anything to me even though the other is techniqually perfect.
My two favourites are the sperm whale and the jellyfish. The sperm whale i like because of its natural appearance. I find some of the other shots to look very "over-processed", even if they aren't necessarily.
The jellyfish still has that same kind of natural quality but appears mesmerising. They photograph somehow conveys the whole experience.
Lou, rest assured these are genuine pictures. A bit of flash light and the right choice of film (in conjunction with solid craftmanship) does the rest.
Steve, I have a sneaking suspicion that it does not have to be that bad. In fact there are plenty of cheap charters from Sweden. The main problem may be how to approach the whales (permissions and the fact that they probably do not come up and play with you without caution, but what do I know. Need to do my homework on this).
It's not all that expensive and easy to get to. I went there in May 2000 for my honeymoon and paid aprox £200 for Lisbon -Faial-Terceira-São Miguel-Lisbon visiting 3 islands in all. Ok you may have to go to Lisbon first. There are two airlines that fly there that I know of -TAP and SATA. Once there it is not that expensive, cheap by UK standards.
The islands are beautifull, expecially Faial and the diving is supposed to be fantastic but being open ocean it is weather dependent. There is a ridge called Saint Alices bank that is supposed to be one of the best dive spots in the Atlantic. The infrastructure for diving is not as that well set up so you need some organising and enquiring before going. Now why more people don't go there I don't know buyt I'm not complaining!
A friend of mine and his then girlfriend (now wife)* went there by a package tour from Sweden in November a couple of years ago. It was the wrong season for whales – they only saw dolphins – and the divecentres had closed because it was out of season. They managed to find someone who rented them cylinders and weights and pumped air but there were no diveboats operating, so they had to do all their dives from shore. The diving was pretty mediocre. I've seen their pics and was not attracted to go there. It may be a lot different if you go at the right time, though.
* Anders, it was Jonas and Carola.
I think whilst all good (and some very good) piccies (except the trout and anthias), they really aren't mindblowing are they? The jelly fish pic I've seen before - look in underwater photography magazine issue 14 (or is it 11?) - there's one just like it.
If somebody had told me these were all amateur shots from people on a U/W photography course I would not have been surprised - but they aren't, they are supposedly top notch piccies from an elite bunch.
Having said that, they are still way better that what I could produce.
I assumed that they could be post-processed, but they just "look" it. That's what turns me off. It seems more a technical exercise than a really emotional experience and with photos, much more than painting, I need to feel some emotion off them when they are an artistic exercise and not an illiustration.
I think I know what you mean and I agree with you to a large extent, a picture has to convey a feeling or message (preferrably both). Unfortunately quite uncommon...
That's right, they were there, but I have not seen their pics. Another friend of mine were there too and seemed fairly happy. One would go for the whales though as the rest probably is like the Canaries.