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UPY Black & White - Runner Up
'Constellation of Eagle Rays' - Henley Spiers
A school of uniquely patterned spotted eagle rays passes beneath me on an unforgettable dive in the Maldives. Like most divers, I have always found these rays to be especially spellbinding, but also highly elusive! This school passed beneath me towards the end of our dive and it was one of those rare moments of huge admiration, as well as immense inspiration. I could visualise the image I wanted and, whilst the rays glided effortlessly, I swam my heart out trying to keep up and unlock the desired camera angle. The rays continued forward and deeper, giving me just a few moments to capture this frame. Scientists have just recently confirmed that the spotting on each ray is a unique identifier, the equivalent of a human fingerprint. I love how black and white reinforces that uniqueness, keenly displaying the distinctive spotting, as well as the subtle shading differences between each individual.
Judge's comment: Choosing what converts best into black and white is obviously important but in this perfectly composed image it is the subtle shades of grey which lifted it above the pack and normally it would have been enough to lift the trophy. Unfortunately this year there was a uniquely executed combination image which stole it.
- Peter Rowlands
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