See the magical winning picture in this underwater photo contest

We love a good reminder of just how small we are, especially when you consider the ocean, which you know, only covers 70% of our planet. Behold, this beautiful underwater photo that won the grand prize in Scuba Diving Magazine’s Through Your Lens contest.

Rodney Bursiel from Tonga claimed the grand prize for his photo of a curious whale calf. It’s already as magical as it comes, except that his photo was flipped upside down, making it look like the whale was floating above the water.

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When I got back into underwater photography I never considered entering competitions. Just felt like I'd get lost in the shuffle with the thousands of entries from amazing photographers all over the world. At the urging of some friends I entered my first one a few years ago and won. I was afraid to enter again because what were the odds of winning again? Apparently pretty good. Three years ago I entered @scubadivingmag photo contest and won 1st place. Last year I entered again and won first place again. I figured there was no way I'd win first place three years in a row but I entered anyway. Well my first place streak ended this year because I walked away with the grand prize and dive trip to Oman on @aggressorliveaboards Pretty crazy. And It's not a fluke. Well, it is a fluke. Anyway, hope you like the pic. https://www.scuba-diving.com/scuba-diving-magazines-2018-underwater-photo-contest-winners #naturephotography #underwaterphotography #whale #humpback #travel #adventure #scubadiving #scubadivingmag #photocontest #tonga #whaletail #fluke

A post shared by Rodney Bursiel (@rodneybursiel) on

It’s surreal; we’re in awe, too.

Rodney won first place prizes at the same contest for two consecutive years before winning the grand prize this year, which is USD 1,000 in cash and a liveaboard dive trip with the Oman Aggressor.

This is the story behind Rodney’s photo: “After spending an entire day searching for whales, our boat was gifted with a magical encounter with a curious and interactive mother and calf. As the mother hovered at 30 feet, her inquisitive calf would make its way to the surface to breathe, coming in close to inspect each of us. Some of my favorite photos of marine life are shot from behind; here I attempted to create a unique perspective by flipping the image upside down so the whale appears to be floating just above the surface in full breach. Storytelling isn’t always about the reality of what was seen – I hope the image shares with others my take on the mystical world I find myself in each time I dip below the surface.”

Scuba Diving Magazine also awarded other photographers in four categories: compact camera, wide-angle, conceptual and macro. See all the winners here.

Read also: The 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer winners will blow your mind

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Andrea Tim

Andrea is a serial kopi peng drinker (for fun, not for the caffeine; coffee doesn't wake her up) and believer in keyboard shortcuts. She sees The Dress as blue and black, and hears both Yanny and Laurel. Make of that what you will.

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