Topside Category Winner, Guru Awards 2021

We are happy to announce the Winner is Pavlos Evangeledis, from Nea Arithrea, Greece, with his image taken in Koggala, Sri Lanka, entitled Catch of the Day. “Traditional stilt fishermen try their luck at sunset in Koggala, Sri Lanka. This is a single take at 10s shutter speed with an ND filter for that dreamy water texture.”

Category Definition:  Photographs taken above water depicting ocean or freshwater environments. Seventy percent (70%) of the image must depict water

UTA:     What was it that inspired you to take up nature photography?

PE:       I started shooting underwater for fun but I slowly realized that it’s a beautiful world that deserves to be shared and appreciated. Especially now when human activity endangers the ocean more than ever. I found that my friends were genuinely interested and surprised by the underwater world, eager to learn more, and that gave me a sense of purpose in taking up nature photography more seriously. Nature above and below sea level inspires me every day. I love the challenge of finding the right angle, concept, message, composition; that motivates me to improve.

UTA:     What is your aim when you’re taking images?

PE:       I hope to create something that will inspire and showcase the beauty of our natural world. I also hope to sensitise about some of the environmental problems we create and face. I believe photography has a unique power in delivering those messages, having become a universal language thanks to technology and connectivity. This is also how I created Wantok Photography. “Wantok” is a Melanesian pidgin word derived from the English “one talk”. In the local culture, it refers to close friendship based on a common language. Photography is our world’s wantok. Profits from print sales on http://wantok.photos go to environmental conservation.

UTA:     How will winning the Underwater Tour Award help you moving forward?

PE:       Being relatively new in the world of photography, this award validates my work so far and gives me pride and motivation to keep learning and developing. Having won an Underwater Tour category two years in a row is a very special honour and I’d like to thank the whole team!  

UTA:     What do you consider your own challenges when taking photos?

PE:       I’m doing this as a hobby and balancing time between shooting, editing, developing content, promoting, learning… my daily work which involves a lot of stress and travelling and my family has been a challenge. I wish I had more time to dive and learn techniques.

UTA:     Do you have any preferred underwater subject or concept?

PE:       I try to find an composition, an angle, a concept on every dive, that’s a personal pact. Everything has its charm: wide angle scenes, animal behaviour – large and small, macro, abstract, wrecks, over/under, whatever the environment can offer. Sharks are among my favourite models though, maybe because of that killer smile.

UTA:     What has been your best moment underwater so far?

PE:       Tough question… every dive in my 6 years living in the South Pacific Islands has been memorable. But swimming with Humpback Whales in Vava’u, Tonga, was extra special.

UTA:     What are you planning next?

PE:       I currently live with my family in Uganda, East Africa. It is a beautiful country, but it is landlocked, and in the current pandemic context we have missed diving. In a couple of months we’re moving to West Africa and can’t wait to reconnect with the Ocean.

You can find the announcement here:

Pavlos has won $500 cash, a SCUBAPRO Nova 850 rechargeable torch and battery pack, a Momento Pro $200 voucher and a Living Image A2 size premium cotton paper print of the winning image.

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