Underwater photographer Nicolas Remy wins a prestigious award
Nicolas Remy won the Conservation – Hope category of the Ocean Photographer of the Year competition.
With over 5,000 entrants, OPY is one of the largest photography competitions dedicated to imaging the oceans, below and above the surface. The winning and runner-up images are a feast for the eyes on the Oceanographic magazine website, and the category winners are on display on London’s Tower Bridge until 7 November.
About Conservation and the Conservation-Hope Category
A few words on conservation and the “Hope” category of the OPY competition By Nicolas Remy:
Conservation images tend to portray the stark reality of the threats facing our oceans and their inhabitants. While we absolutely need these images to create awareness and calls to action, we also need to share the good news, so we don’t lose sight that our oceans can recover, if we give them a chance. (the earliest would be best). That’s what the “hope” category is all about, and the good news with my photo is the critically endangered gray nurse sharks.
Indeed, there are a few spots along the east coast of Australia where you can still dive with over 20 gray nurse sharks, and Fish Rock (where I took this image) is perhaps the most famous. of them.
Still a long way from the 1960s, when aggregations of more than 30 gray nurse sharks were reliably spotted at 60 dive sites along the east coast of Australia, but it appears the population has been slowly increasing since it became protected in 1984”, because monitoring this migratory species is a complex task.
Additionally, their recovery is slow as it takes 6-7 years for a gray nurse shark to reach sexual maturity, and they only breed every 2 years, giving birth to only 2 young.
Therefore, gray nurse sharks are not yet out of the woods, but with continued research and mitigation of the threats they still face (e.g. accidental injury from hooks, fatal if ingested), I hope our children can dive with wild gray nurse sharks, and their grandchildren too!
About the photo, diving conditions, etc.
This photo shows the aggregation of critically endangered gray nurse sharks that can be seen around Fish Rock Island (off South West Rocks, NSW, Australia). Sharks are often scattered around the island, but on this summer day the water temperature dropped overnight from 25 to 17 degrees Celsius, due to upwelling caused by northerly winds. This caused the sharks to congregate in the shallow waters, seeking additional warmth. Luckily, my wife Lena and I were at South West Rocks when it happened, and we dived every day for 5 straight days, to make the most of those particular conditions. Every morning we jumped into the water for a single 3 hour rebreather dive.
This allowed us to experience moments of deep and serene contemplation, while being surrounded by 20-30 unbaited sharks, completely relaxed in the silence of our rebreathers (unlike traditional scuba diving, there is no bubbles or regulator noise).
During these hours of contemplative diving, there were a few moments where everything aligned, atmospherically and compositionally. This photo illustrates one of those moments.
Visit our website and search “Fish Rock” to learn more.
About Nicolas REMY
Nicolas and his wife Lena REMY are two underwater photographers based in Sydney. Visit their website to see more of their work: https://www.nicolaslenaremy.com