Showcase 2021 Winner: Alex Rose

"Startled California Sea Lion," Los Islotes, Baja California Sur, Mexico, 2021 Showcase Best in Category, Mammals © Alex Rose
“Startled California Sea Lion,” Los Islotes, Baja California Sur, Mexico, 2021 Showcase Best in Category, Mammals © Alex Rose

Artist’s statement

I enjoy creating animal portraits that exist within a whole ecosystem context. Unlike land photography where we have the luxury of spending hours patiently waiting with our telephoto lenses to capture tight shots of animals hundreds of feet away, photographing mammals underwater is a different beast. It’s close up, it’s unpredictable, it’s fast paced, and you’re shooting in what amounts to a hostile human environment that requires a life support system just to keep breathing. While challenging, these conditions also make it endlessly exciting and rewarding. The California sea lion colony of Los Islotes in the Sea of Cortez is an intensely fun place to make photos, and I was ecstatic to capture this moment in the life of one of the most charismatic marine mammals on our blue planet.

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