Today I would like to recognize Doug Perrine, one of the worlds most accomplished and respected marine wildlife photographers. Last night, his amazing photograph of a feeding Bryde’s whale was awarded highly commended at the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in London. Honestly, I cannot imagine why this image did not actually win the underwater category. It is one of the finest underwater whale photos ever achieved. I have spent a lot of time in the water with whales, and pursing photographic subjects in the open ocean, and I cannot over-emphasize how spectacular Doug Perrine’s photograph is. For those of you who do not take your cameras underwater, it may look like a simple portrait. In truth this whale was speeding by Doug, who captured the image breathhold diving, at the perfect moment when the whale’s body was aligned gracefully and fully visible, and while its throat was fully engorged from a feeding strike just a moment earlier. This behavior occurs in the open ocean, which is nothing like your casual vacation SCUBA dive. The open ocean can be disorienting, and having enormous creatures swimming by at high speed and at very close range, silently and from any direction including directly below, is intimidating. As he mentions in his caption to the photo, Perrine was nearly engulfed in one of the earlier feeding passes. Given these circumstances, capturing a once-in-a-lifetime image like this is a testament to his professionalism and composure. As I said, I consider Doug Perrine’s Bryde’s whale feeding pass image one of the best underwater photos I have ever seen and really congratulate Doug on his achievement.
This WPOTY award is on the heels of Perrine’s Bryde’s whales photos appearing in National Geographic Magazine.
It should be noted that Doug Perrine won the overall Wildlife Photographer of the Year championship in 2004 with some amazing photos from South Africa’s sardine run, so you know he is no stranger to top ranks of the competition! He is a really nice guy too, and has helped myself and many other photographers in myriad ways over the years. Doug Perrine founded the marine photo stock agency Innerspace Visions in Florida in the 80s. Now known as Seapics.com, and since sold although Doug still maintains a close connection, the agency is a premiere source for worldwide marine imagery by virtue of having most of the worlds best marine photographers as contributers (and me too). I may see Doug on a trip in a few weeks, where I will congratulate him on his wonderful photo and award. I am certain he will reply in his usual modest way: “Oh, we just got lucky.”
Note: why don’t I show a copy of Doug Perrine’s amazing image? It would be easy to do, but out of respect for Mr. Perrine’s work, not to mention copyright law, I instead just link to those places where his work is displayed properly. I’m sure his photo will be copied and pasted around the internet, by kids and bloggers and people who just don’t respect a photographer’s right to control where his work appears. But you won’t see it done here. Please go check the links I mention above to see Doug’s work, you’ll be glad you did.
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