Editor's Note -
Christian Vizl's shot "Grand Cenote" won the bronze in the 2012 Our World Underwater Competition. Below is a description of how he had the idea for creating this image, and how he executed it.
I have been a cave diver since 1997, and I've always been amazed by the natural beauty and uniqueness that you can find in the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. They are spectacular in many ways. Some of their appeal is quite obvious like the enormous stalactites and stalagmites, crystal-clear water, and the mystery and history mixed in the middle of the jungle. But there is also a more subtle beauty in them, hidden in their unique colors and details that are not easily spotted by diving or snorkeling.
So that was my initial goal, to capture the fantastic details hidden in these natural wonders, to transmit all the amazement and mind blowing wonder that I have long felt while visiting them and in a way that was not previously done.
One of the first Cenotes I wanted to photograph was “Grand Cenote”, famous for its incredible cavern and cave dives that are full of spectacular rock formations. While I did get some nice shots of the these rock formations, known as stalactites, it was the water lilies in this crystal clear water were equally as attractive.
This particular set of water plants where found in very shallow waters, so approaching them without disturbing the fine sediment was not an easy task. To combat this problem, I didn't use fins, only with a mask and snorkel. Equipped with my 15mm fish eye lens, I could position myself very close to the plants. The ambient light was perfect, with nice clouds above the scenery, softening the light hitting my subject to my advantage.
So there I was, in the perfect natural setting… the only thing left for me to do was find the right composition. Establish my personal view, the angle that would create the magic of transforming all the emotions that I was feeling right there, in this perfect place, in this perfect moment, into a unique photograph that would blend this scenery, this moment and this feeling…
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