12 stunning photos capture life underwater
From a tiny squid to a giant humpback, see the winners of the 2019 Underwater Photography competition.
Caretta caretta turtle
Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2019
A Caretta caretta turtle is trapped in a net off the coast of Los Gigantes, a town in the Canary Island of South Tenerife, Spain. The photo was taken before underwater photographers sailing nearby helped free the turtle.
The conservation award is a new addition to the contest and according to the judges, "the winners in this category are a perfect counterpoint to the celebratory images of the rest of the contest."
Hairy in the sunrise
Winner in the compact camera category
Enrico Somogyi used a double-exposure setting to create this image of a fishing boat at sunrise in Ambon, Indonesia, floating above a hairy frogfish.
Winner of macro category
Fabio Iardino used a slow-sync flash during a night dive to capture this extreme close-up of a tiny bobtail squid in Italy's Gulf of Trieste.
"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," said Francois Baelen about photographing this humpback whale in Saint-Gille, Reunion Island.
Between two worlds
Black and white winner
A cormorant dives toward an enormous school of fish that is unaware of the approaching danger in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
"The school would move in unison to escape the bird’s sharp beak, making it difficult to isolate a single target," said photographer Henley Spiers.
British waters compact-camera winner
"This adorable seal pirouetted and arabesqued around me before sliding in and flicking sand over itself" said photographer Martin Edser about this playful seal in Farne Islands, England.
Fly high and smile
To photograph this small ray off Greece's Chalkidiki peninsula, Nicholas Samaras placed his "camera underneath to capture a portrait of his belly with the mouth and nose looking like a smiling happy angel’s face."
The turret of the HMS Audacious, a battleship that sank in 1914 after it struck a mine, can be seen underwater off the coast of Northern Ireland.
"I used a tripod and 3 Big Blue lights to illuminate the turret with the majestic 13.5” guns and myself as the model," said Rene B. Andersen. "There was a small current so it wasn’t easy to lay still during this long exposure shot."
Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019 & British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019
"As the sun sets on Fakarava South Pass, the estimated 700 sharks that are patrolling the mouth of the channel by day, begins to hunt at night," photographer Richard Barnden said of the photo he snapped off the coast of French Polynesia.
"The gauntlet is about to unfold. Descending into the darkness I can feel my heart beating a little faster than normal as hundreds of sharks are now covering the bottom. This unlucky parrotfish dodged in and out of the patch coral heads looking for somewhere to hide as swarms of sharks followed in hot pursuit. 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."
Off the wall
British waters wide-angle Winner
"When diving in the U.K., I’ve found the visibility is rarely good enough for making contrasty wide-angle pictures, let alone including a model. On this occasion, the offshore site afforded us with clear water," said photographer Robert Bailey about the jewel anemones he captured in the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the Cornish coast, in southwest England.
Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019
Resorts, palm trees and colorful, untouched hard corals with reef fish can be seen in this photo that was taken in South Fakarava, French Polynesia.
Morning tide mackerel
British waters "Living Together" winner
Mackerel are pictured here stuck until the tide returned in St.Ives Harbor, in the United Kingdom.
"I’d been out for a swim, testing my new weight belt with my camera whenI came upon this unusual event. The local fisherman told me it very rarely happens so I slowly immersed myself into the pool to capture the spectacle," said photographer Victoria Walker.