The winners for the 2018 Photography Competition have been selected by ORCA Patron, Mark Carwardine.
After a record number of entries, the task was daunting to select winners in two categories - The State of European Cetaceans and Threats to Marine Wildlife.
After careful deliberation, renowned wildlife photographer and conservationist Mark Carwardine selected two sensational images as the winners.
The honour of winner in the State of European Cetaceans category was awarded to Luis Dias for his evocative underwater image of a pilot whale. Mark commented that it was "a super shot in a clear blue sea - made all the more special by that clearly visible (and evocative) eye and the wonderful trail of bubbles.
Meanwhile, in the category Threats to Marine Wildlife the winning entry was for Phoebe Smith for her shot of a minke whale stuck in a herring weir. During judging, Mark said: "If ever a picture summed up cetaceans under threat, this shocking image of a minke whale stuck in a herring weir is it."
With such high quality entries, a couple of other images were highly commended.
Brian Clasper's image of two True's beaked whales breaching in the Bay of Biscay, taken during ORCA's Photographic Sea Safari with Jessops Academy in July, captures a true once in a lifetime encounter. Mark commented: "To see a beaked whale is remarkable. To see one breach is exceptional. To see two breach is phenomenal. And then to capture two breaching on camera - words fail me!"
Also highly commended was this thought provoking image of a killer whale with the backdrop of a container ship, taken by Helen Alexander. Mark said: "This striking picture perfectly captures the essence of the problem - close encounters with ginormous cargo ships and myriad other vessels is now a 'normal' part of daily life for so many whales, dolphins and porpoises."
A huge well done to all of our winners, and thank you to everyone who entered this year. A big thank you also goes to Mark for lending his expertise in judging, and to our friends at Silversea and Jessops for their generous sponsorship of the Photography Competition 2018! We will be announcing plans for 2019's competition soon so watch this space!