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Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY2019) – wide-angle winner

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UPY2019 – wide-angle winner

Credit name: François Baelen/UPY 2018
Nationality: Reunion
Image caption: Gentle Giants
Country taken: Reunion Island
Location: Saint-Gilles
Camera make: Sony A7III
Lens: Sony-Zeiss 16-35 mm
ISO: 400
Aperture: F9
Shutter: 1/80
Lighting used: Natural light, no strobe
Housing: Nauticam NA7RIII

Francois said “At the very end of the day, this humpback whale was resting 15 meters down and allowed me to free dive centimetres away from her tail. I told my friend I wanted him to be part of the shot, but didn't need to ask the playful calf : he was very curious.
From down there, the scene looked unreal and I'm glad that this photograph has captured this moment. Humpback whales are amazing and peaceful animals and I still can't believe they are still being hunted by mankind today.”

Judge's comments

The first moment I viewed this image I knew it would be a strong contender. For me it's the symmetry of the Humpback and the balance between the diver and calf. Everything about it is in perfect alignment. The shape of the tail in relation to the four corners of the frame, not to mention the position of the free diver and calf. Superb imagery at its very best. Many congratulations Francois.
Martin Edge

Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editor-in-Chief Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. 30-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.

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