Woman becomes first female Underwater Photographer of the Year with daring shot of circling sharks

  • 20 Feb - 26 Feb, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

An American woman is making waves in the world of photography. Renee Capozzola was recently named the Underwater Photographer of the Year for her visually-stunning shot titled, "Sharks' Skylight." Capozzola beat out more than 4,500 competitors from 68 countries to claim the first place award, and is now the first female to ever hold the winning title. Originally from Southern California, Capozzola is an international underwater photographer who specialises in wide-angle and split-level images. She has travelled all over the world, snapping "striking images" that she hopes will "help increase awareness of our fragile marine ecosystems and encourage others to help protect our oceans," her website states. Her contest-winning photograph was no different. The image – capturing sharks underwater and birds above the surface – was taken on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia. During her visit, Capozzola said she spent "several evenings in the shallows at sunset, hoping to capture something unique." The image, she hoped, would be captured underwater with the sunset visible – an idea that was different from her usual split-level imagery. Though it took "many attempts," Capozzola said she was able to bring her idea to life one night when "the water was calm, the sunset was vibrant, and I got extremely lucky with the composition."