Amazing Underwater Photography
The Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition recently unveiled its incredible winning images.
Five thousand underwater photos entered by photographers from 65 countries competed for the title of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019.
The top prize went to Richard Barnden, who won with his image of grey reef sharks hunting a parrot-fish, capturing the precise moment that the sharks grab the fish in their jaws.
Underwater Photographer of the Year is an annual competition, based in the UK, that celebrates photography beneath the surface of the ocean, lakes and even swimming pools.
The competition currently has 13 categories, with varying themes like Macro, Marine Conservation, Behaviour and Wreck photography. Among them are four categories for photos taken in British waters.
This year, the competition was judged by veteran underwater photographers Alex Mustard, Peter Rowlands, and Martin Edge.
Here are just a few of the incredible images that were awarded and commended in this year’s competition.
Underwater Photography | Overall Winners
Richard Barnden won the titles of Underwater Photographer of the Year and British Underwater Photographer of the Year with this image of a swarm of grey reef sharks hunting a parrotfish.
One grey reef shark suddenly grabbed the parrotfish by its head as the another twisted underneath it to get a better grip.
“In desperation it hurtled straight towards me as I snapped a few passing shots and curled up into a ball as the frenzy of sharks shot past, leaving only but a few falling parrotfish scales behind.”
Eduardo Acevedo won the title of Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year with this image of a turtle trapped in a fishing net.
“It got trapped in a net and it was practically impossible to escape from it… but this day it was very lucky and could escape thanks to the help of two underwater photographers who were sailing near her.”
Taeyup Kim won the title of Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year with this over/under image of a coral reef below an island resort in French Polynesia.
Category Winners & Runners Up
This image (left), the winner of the Compact category, shows a hairy frogfish beneath a fisher boat in Indonesia. To capture this moment, the photographer used a blue backlight and a double exposure.
On the right, a nudibranch sits on its eggs in the Philippines in this runner up for the Macro category.
To make this Wide Angle category winner of a humpback whale, the photographer had to swim within centimetres of her tail while she rested. Her calf and the photographer’s friend are in the background.
“I told my friend I wanted him to be part of the shot, but didn’t need to ask the playful calf; he was very curious… Humpback whales are amazing and peaceful animals and I still can’t believe they are still being hunted by mankind today.”
This image of a long-clawed squat lobster crawling out of a plastic pipe won the British Waters Macro category.
Biologist Jessica Farrer captured this image of a crabeater seal in Antarctica, which made runner up in the Wide Angle category.
This image (left) of hundreds of thousands of tiny silversides swimming around a diver in the Cayman Islands made runner up in the Black & White category.
On the right, this image of a compass jellyfish off the Isles of Scilly in the UK won the photographer the title of Most Promising British Underwater Photographer.
Highly Commended Underwater Photos
This luminous nudibranch was photographed in the Philippines. The image was commended in the Macro category.
Sockeye salmon swim in the Adams River in British Columbia, Canada in this image that was highly commended in the Wide Angle category.
“[This] river is one of the most important sockeye salmon breeding areas in North America.”
A model floats ethereally in a cave in Tajma-Ha, Mexico. Highly commended in the Wide Angle category.
“My idea was ‘A model snooted by nature’ with a touch of external light for the cave.”
This fascinating image shows river lampreys, a type of fish, spawning in Finland. The photo was commended in the Behaviour category.
“I got about 15 minutes of action. Around eight lampreys participated. A lot of digging and fast and ever-changing female-male couples.”
A non-profit organisation called Shark4Kids teaches high school students about the mangrove forests of Bimini Island in the Bahamas; here, a teacher shows the students a young lemon shark.
This image was highly commended in the Marine Conservation category.
“The colourful brittlestar bed in Loch Carron makes a wonderful backdrop for the creatures that live in it, such as this eel-shaped butterfish, Pholis gunnellus, which is perfectly adapted to weaving in and out of the thick carpet of entwining arms, hunting for food.”
This image was commended in the British Waters Macro category.
This portrait of a moray eel was commended in the Portrait category.
This image of Sanda Delija (left), a free-diving champion, was highly commended in the portrait category.
“She posed at 18 meters depth among the fish, for several hours, until we were sure we got the right shot.”
On the right, an argonaut (a tiny octopus) hitches a ride on a jellyfish.
“Jellyfish are like trains in the ocean, always full of passengers that want a free ride.”
This image of a grouper in the Medes Archipelago, Spain, was commended in the Marine Conservation category.
“Almost thirty years of protection as a natural marine park have permitted a complete sea-bed recovery, which hosts sea life like no other with hundreds of species such as groupers, lobsters or even red coral.”
The photographer used a remote camera in shallow water to capture this funny image of a bear cub.
“One day a mother bear came close and started fishing. Her 4 cubs 1.5 years old were bored. They started to play with each other and suddenly found a camera under the water and started to explore it.”
This image was commended in the Wide Angle category.
This haunting image of a sea turtle that had drowned after being tangled in a fishing line was highly commended in the Marine Conservation category.
“[I wanted] I also brought my camera to document the situation and help raise awareness about our selfish behaviour towards the ocean and her animals. Perhaps this turtle’s death can help save others.”
So what did you think? Pretty amazing, right?! If you want to give underwater photography a shot, check out this article for some advice on what gear to start with, and stay tuned as we feature more and more photographers from this exciting genre sharing their tips.
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