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iedernhausen is a German town of 15,000 souls just 41 kilometers east of Frankfurt. It’s also home to photographer Tobias Friedrich, who used his Canon EOS 5D Mark II in a Seacam housing to capture a panoramic image of British World War II military vehicles inside a shipwreck at the bottom of the Red Sea. “Cycle War” shows Norton 16H motorcycles loaded in Fordson WOT 3 trucks, with soldierfish schooling above. For this, Friedrich won the prestigious Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018 award; he only began taking photos in 2007.

Based on the images posted to his Instagram account, Friedrich stays quite busy underwater. Most shots take extensive planning and execution.

"For a few years now I had had this image in mind as the motorcycles on this truck inside the SS Thistlegorm lie so perfectly together, but you can only barely capture it because the wall is very close and you can't move backward enough to capture the whole scenery," Friedrich said. "As a result I had to create a panoramic image of the same scene to capture the whole cargo deck, including some lights that give the image more depth."

The SS Thistlegorm was loaded with military trucks with Norton motorcycles lined up in their beds for efficiency. Military equipment, aircraft parts, rifles, and ammunition were boxed up as the ship set sail from Glasgow, Scotland on June 2, 1941, destined for Alexandria, Egypt. A pair of German bombers dropped two bombs on the ship, igniting some of the ammunition and sending it to the sea floor, where the cargo has been eerily frozen in time, albeit with a watery patina.

Friedrich’s photograph triumphed over 5,000 underwater pictures entered by underwater photographers from all around the world. Peter Rowlands, chair of the judges, added, “This is a quite extraordinary shot which must be viewed as large as possible. The artistic skill is to visualize such an image and the photographic talent is to achieve it.”