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Nature's Best Photography: Blue Shark near Faial Island, Azores, Portugal

Nuno Sá / Nature's Best Photography

Found in temperate and tropical waters, the blue shark is the most abundant and widely distributed open-water shark on the planet. It is also the world's most frequently caught open-water shark and a primary species supplying the shark fin trade. The removal of this important predator affects the entire oceanic ecosystem.

Photographer’s comments: “Diving into the blue, ten miles off the coast of Faial Island, I watched a torpedo-shaped shadow rapidly approach from deep, dark waters. As it came closer, its long pectoral fins gave it a form that reminded me of a jet plane; it was a six-foot-long blue shark.”

Photographic information: Canon EOS 7D; Tokina 10-17mm lens at 10mm lens; 1/250 seconds at ƒ/9; ISO 160; Ikelite DS 160 Strobes (2); Aquatica housing. See more photos at: www.photonunosa.com.

Each year “Nature’s Best Photography” magazine hosts the Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition. Msnbc.com and and Nature’s Best are sharing some of the 2011 competition results with our readers here in PhotoBlog.

A print exhibition of the winning images and other entries will be displayed from March 30, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Competition overview: The Nature's Best Photography concept began with simple yet dynamic goals: to celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature through the art of photography, and to use this far-reaching medium as a creative tool for encouraging greater public interest in outdoor enjoyment and conservation stewardship. The annual Windland Smith Rice International Awards program evolved from this ambitious mission to become one of the most highly-respected and visually compelling nature photography competitions in the world. More than 25,000 entries are received and judged each year in the International Awards. See more in the "Enter Photos" section.

See some of the photos from the 2011 Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition

See more of the photos from the 2010 Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition

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