UPP WINER - Underwater Photographer Of The Year

THE YEAR (2015):
'50 Tons Of Me'
Nuno Sá / United Photo Press
Three esteemed judges, Alex Mustard, Martin Edge and Peter Rowlands had the pleasure of going through 2500 entries from 40 countries to select the award winners. 

“It was highly enjoyable, but something we took very seriously. Every judge saw every picture multiple times, I think we probably know some of the images better than the photographers who took them,” said Alex Mustard, chair of the judging panel and the driving force behind UPY. 

“The quantity and particularly the quality of the images entered left us all astounded. 

It was a privilege to be part of something so special. Heart-warming to see the competitions so enthusiastically embraced by the community, heartbreaking at times when we just couldn’t squeeze some truly amazing images into the winners circle.”

International Macro
WINNER: '50 Tons Of Me' - Nuno Sá

The Natural reserve of Ria Formosa is home to the world’s largest population of the two species of seahorses found in the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas. However the local university together with Project Seahorse has registered a 85% decline in seahorse populations between 2001 and 2009.

I spent 10 days diving in this natural reserve for National Geographic Portugal, following a pioneering project between the University of Algarve with Project Seahorse that has been breeding seahorses in captivity. The goal is reducing the demand of wild seahorses and also re-populate areas where seahorses populations have been reduced or extinct by fishing. Over 50 tons of seahorses are captures every year for ornamental purposes and use in traditional oriental medicine.

To light this photo, I had the unusual accessories of two scientists, who were holding my strobes, 1 strobe behind and 1 over the seahorse

Judge’s Comment, Martin Edge: In the opinion of the judges, the best in show! The composition is simple but so effective. What attracts me to this particular image is the understated quality of light and shade made possible by the subtle use of flash. It's though it is lit from within. It's a fine example of what I refer to as delicate post processing.