Photographer Laurent Ballesta earned the title of Photographer of the Year and his photos under the Antarctic ice won a photography award
Laurent Ballesta dived 32 times, up to 70 meters, and his photos under the Antarctic ice won a photography award. The photographer captured images that reveal the rich and unprecedented marine animal diversity of the continent. His portfolio proved so impressive that he received the first wildlife photographer of the year award, sponsored by the Natural History Museum in London.
Ballesta spent two years preparing for the trip to Antarctica. His physical condition was put to the test on several occasions, as the water temperature during his dives was no more than 1.7 degrees below zero. He was carrying 90 kilos of weight to descend, which made swimming very difficult.
At the end of each photographic session, Ballesta had to undergo a long period of decompression before returning to the surface. The photographer entered the frozen sea through a small opening in the ice of Adélie Land, West Antarctica. Ballesta previously told National Geographic magazine, “The waters under Antarctic ice are like Everest: magical but hostile, so much so that you have to rethink your desire before you go.”
These photos under the Antarctic ice won photography awards for their originality. Among the highlights is a photograph of what appears to be a new species of dragonfish. In addition, Ballesta took images of previously unknown life forms, such as an orange sponge, a star and an anemone embedded in the ice.
Photos of unknown underwater life under the ice
According to specialists, the cold waters of the Antarctic cause several species to experience the so-called “polar gigantism”. This causes invertebrates to reach enormous proportions. This was verified by Ballesta when he photographed the impressive giant Antarctic spider, whose internal organs are located between the legs.
A helmet jellyfish is included in the portfolio of animals photographed by Ballesta. This animal shoots flashes of blue light when it feels threatened, thus scaring off its predators. The photographer’s lens also captured a striking field of anemones hanging from an iceberg.
Ballesta has published more than 13 photography books on underwater life. In the last decade he has also led several expeditions on all continents, but it was his photos under the Antarctic ice that won a photography award.