A photo of five whale sharks feeding together at night in the waters off the Maldives resulted in Rafael Fernandez from Spain being named Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022.
Fernandez’s photograph triumphed over 4200 underwater pictures entered by underwater photographers from 71 countries. The photo captures a unique ocean event, taken in demanding photographic conditions.
“Giants Of The Night” features five whale sharks feeding together on nocturnal plankton that have been concentrated in the lights of a boat.
According to Fernandez:
“It was already incredible when one whale shark came to our boat. But more and more kept arriving. I was diving with Gador Muntaner, a shark researcher, who couldn’t believe it as their numbers grew. He counted 11 sharks that night — a once in a lifetime encounter that nobody thought was possible.”
Competition judge Peter Rowlands said:
“This image took my breath away from the first viewing and I never tired coming back to it. Scale, light and the sheer numbers of big subjects, this was, by some distance, our winning image.”
And fellow judge Alex Mustard added:
“Photography needs light and simply recording these giants in a dark ocean is a massive achievement. To do this with such beautiful light and careful composition of the five sharks is outstanding.”
Check out the full list of winners at underwaterphotographeroftheyear.com.