For those of us on lockdown in locations a little lacking in natural beauty spots, it’s easy to find yourself craving some restorative time out in nature and what's more refreshing than taking a swim in a cool lake, a warm sea, or getting absolutely pressure-washed by a raging waterfall? Fortunately, the #Water2020 competition from photography app Agora challenged photographers to capture some of the world’s most beautiful watery landscapes, be it a hot spring or an ocean view, so you can explore the blue abyss from the safety of your living room.
And best of all, the competition served as a reminder that you don’t have to have the most expensive camera to land the best shots, as winner Analiza De Guzman captured her victorious shot using simply her cell phone and an attachable macro lens. The breathtaking shots taken all over the globe demonstrate that water can be so much more than just life-sustaining sustenance, with images capturing not just how peaceful but also how powerful it can be. Pens at the ready, you might want to add a few of these to your post-Covid travel plans.
Photographer Analizman De Guzman from the Philippines won the contest with her photo 'Thirsty ants', which shows a pair of ants in her garden battling with an almost-out-of-reach leaf to access a healthy globe of H20. “This image was shot under our garden's mango tree, where local ants have settled their colonies,” she said in a statement. “The weather here in the Philippines is pretty hot, so I give them water and made the most of our encounter to take some macro photos.”
This shot taken by Ghislain Fave titled 'Braided rivers in New Zealand' shows a water system that comes from melting glaciers. He captured the photo using a drone to demonstrate how the region is changing under climate change as icy landscapes such as the Fox glacier, New Zealand’s largest glacier, are shrinking in response to climbing temperatures.
This shot was taken at the Punta Galea Challenge in 2019 and shows the moment a surfer, Lucas Chianca, made a less than elegant exit from an enormous wave. Fortunately, the surfer was unharmed by the enormous crashing wave and went on to win the competition. Waves at Punta Galea can reach up to 7 meters (23 feet), and reaching weights that can be extremely dangerous for inexperienced surfers.
This remarkable composition captured by Joao Galamba shows the bizarre aesthetic created when the first rains of the year cause the rivers to start flowing again, sending a steady flow of mud from the mountains to the ocean. “At sea level, the division of the muddy river and the ocean water is not as clear as from above, so I had no idea what to expect from up there!” Joao said. “After launching the drone and facing the camera downwards, I was stunned with what I was seeing...”
This at first puzzling photograph appears to show a diver floating through a tunnel before your eyes make sense of the puddle-like ceiling that is in fact the water’s surface seen from below. Taken by Victor De Valles, it captures an underwater cave in Spain. Earlier this year the country reported that such environments had been affected by sewage with some caves being coated with 10 centimeters of waste, raising concerns about contamination and the conservation of animals living in such habitats.
Kerið' by Tom RBG shows one of the countless beauty spots in Iceland, which has rightly earned the country the nickname, “Land of Ice and Fire”. It shows the Kerið crater lake, believed to have once been a cone-shaped volcano that exhausted its magma reserves after a massive eruption. Its foundation likely later collapsed revealing the formation we see today, which has filled with groundwater, creating a beautiful icy lake that sits in what was once a house of magma.
This muted shot demonstrates how even water in its simplest form is fascinating. Captured by Aulia Rahman from Indonesia, it shows a small column of liquid rebounding almost completely from the water’s surface. When a water drop lands on a liquid surface, as in this photo, the resulting sound is the resonance of excited bubbles trapped underwater. These oscillating bubbles are the same reason we hear sounds from splashes or running water, which are two processes involving many drop-liquid collisions.
This trio of humpback whales was captured by Luke Simpson off Fraser Island in Australia. Weighing up to 40 tons as adults, these animals are making their annual migration north. The photo of their journey was captured using a drone. “I’ve been blessed enough to be in the water with these incredible creatures,” Simpson said. “But near the shark-infested waters of Fraser Island they are more safely observed from the air.”
This stunning photo proves water isn't a one-trick pony when it comes to physical form, having created a solid mountain path for climbers in Utah as a waterfall turned to ice in the freezing winter temperatures. The image was captured by David Martinez who said of the experience, "Climbing a waterfall at night with a temperature of -18ºC is quite a challenge." I'll say.
Sujon Adhikary from Bangladesh landed this stunning shot of an Indian flying fox just after the animal had dived into the water, a behavior observed in long hot summers, keeping their body temperature down. Sujon said he had to wait two hours before the timing of the shot was correct, which would certainly make me want to follow in the bat’s footsteps and take a dive myself.