We are delighted to announce the Winner is Kristian Laine, from Mermaid Waters, Queensland, Australia with is image from Lady Elliot Island entitled Black & White Ghosts. “These spins and slow shutter speed shots are so much fun to do and I love the creative and artistic vibes they give”.
Category Definition: Any photograph taken underwater, must display no colour, only grey tone. Seventy percent (70%) of the image must depict water.
UTA: What was it that inspired you to take up nature photography?
KL: What inspired me to take up nature photography was I had a back injury 5 years ago and i was forced to slow down in life and stop surfing but I needed to be in the water so I iscovered photography and soon realised I could be in the water and photograph the underwater world which suited my new lifestyle perfectly.
UTA: What is your aim when you’re taking images?
KL: My aim in taking photos is to improve every time I press the shutter button and to showcase marine life in my own unique style and get people who will never be able to get in the water to resonate with how amazing nature is.
UTA: How will winning the Underwater Tour Award help you moving forward?
KL: How will winning an underwater tour award help me keep moving forward is simple. I always doubt myself and never think I’m a good enough photographer but winning something makes me trust my vision even more and to keep going where I’m going but with even more determination.
UTA: What do you consider your own challenges when taking photos?
KL: My biggest challenges when taking photos are definitely not being able to travel a lot to different destinations and not being able to spend too much time in the water and also when I’m in the water the biggest challenge for me is equalising my ears as I suffer from chronic sinus problems.
UTA: Do you have any preferred underwater subject or concept?
KL: I love turtles and am always keen to photograph them but my biggest love is octopus as a species and have seen them mating few times but my favourite one is the blue-ring octopus and so far haven’t had a chance to see one in real life so that is in the bucket list.
UTA: What has been your best moment underwater so far?
KL: My biggest and best moment underwater so far has to be the amazingly unique experience when met Inspector Clouseau, the world’s only known pink manta ray and spent half an hour with him and looked him in the eye whilst I took photos of him which went viral and eventually even made to Ripleys Believe it or not book and National Geographics in 6 countries just to name a few.
UTA: What are you planning next?
KL: My plans next involve some of the species I’ve photographed a lot in the past but giving my photos a new artistic look but that has to remain as a secret for now and when the borders open again definitely some overseas diving as I’ve just completed my open water and am very keen to start scuba diving more instead of free diving.
Here Rachael Talibart announces the Black and White winner:
Kristian 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.