Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spectacular view of thousands of Devil Rays as they mass off the Californian coast scoops top photography prize


Winner of the Under 21 group: 'The Fortune Teller' by Radoslav Radoslavov Valkov. This picture of a fly was taken Radoslav's back garden in Bulgaria

Packed fin to gill as they swim in tight formation, this incredible picture of rays swimming through the ocean in a colossal school has scooped a top photography prize,
The thousands-strong group of Munkiana Devil Rays were spotted in Baja California Sur, Mexico, by German conservation photographer Florian Schulz.

The remarkable photo won the Environmental Photographer of the Year 2010 awards.
Schulz, who went on to become the overall winner after topping the Underwater World pool, described how he was able to capture his jaw-dropping image named Flight of the Rays.

Schulz said: 'During an aerial expedition I came across something I had never seen before. Not even my pilot, who has surveyed this area for 20 years, had seen anything like it.

'As we got closer we started to discover its nature: an unprecedented congregation of rays. The group was as thick as it was wide, all heading towards the same direction.

'I have asked around why this took place but no one has been able to explain it to me.

'After such a unique sighting, I realise there are so many marvels in the oceans that we are yet to understand. Our knowledge of the oceans is so limited. I just hope that we are in time to rescue it before it collapses from pollution and over fishing.'

Winner of the Underwater group and overall winner of the competition: 'Flight of the Rays' by Florian Schulz from Germany, which shows an unprecedented congregation of Munkiana Devil Rays in Baja California Sur, Mexico

Finalist in the Underwater group: Bela Nasfay's picture titled 'Birthplace' In one of the small spring-fed lakes of an Hungarian mountain, the European Common Brown Frogs have already laid their eggs on the bottom by April. The tadpoles are waiting for the moment of their birth.

Finalist in the Changing Climate group: Sue Floods' picture of the North Pole sign in melting ice and meltwater

Organised by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the contest this year received over 4,500 entries from photographers in 97 countries.

The competition is an international showcase for the best in environmental photography, honouring amateur and professional photographers who use their ability to raise awareness of environmental and social issues.

The Young Environmental Photographer of the Year title was taken by Radoslav Radoslavov Valkov.

Amateur Radoslav, 20, created his stunning macro image of a fly drinking from a dew drop on a blade of grass in his back garden in Bulgaria.

udges gave their verdicts on eight categories made up of 'Mott MacDonald's Changing Climates', 'The Natural World', 'Quality of Life', 'Innovation in the Environment', 'The Underwater World', 'A View From the Western World' and the 'Young Environmental Photographer of the Year' for under-16s and under-21s.

Winner of Natural World group: Winner Bence Mate's picture of a Hummingbird attacking a green pit viper

Finalist in the Under 16 group: Alex Marttunen's picture titled 'Home Sweet Home' which shows a Hermit crab using a bottle top in place of a shell.

The panel of judges spent all of August going through every entry, shortlisting images that were contemporary, creative, resonant, original and beautiful. The winners are sharing a prize fund of nearly £5,000.

Other winners included Brit Ashley Cooper, from Cumbria, for his picture of the UK's largest climate change protest, which saw him topping the 'Mott MacDonald's Changing Climates' group.

Mott MacDonald is a consultancy with an active role in helping organisations and communities around the world mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to its impacts.

Further pictures winning or being shortlisted included of a Pit Viper ready to strike a hummingbird, 15-year-old sex worker 'Nodi' in Bangladesh, and a hermit-crab using a broken bottle-top as a makeshift shell.

Winning photographers will have their images showcased in a free international exhibition, which launches at The Air Gallery in London from October 25-30. For more information visit

Finalist in the Underwater group: Kaido Haagen's picture titled 'Hide and Seek'. A Grey Seal near the island of Vilsandi, Estonia

Finalist for the Natural World Group: Julienne Bowser's picture of a wave at Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

source: dailymail

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