Most of us have a vague, abstract concept of life beneath the sea. But a few men and women are dedicated to brining the secrets of the deep into the light of day. And as the 2015 Ocean Art photography contest shows, they’re doing a spectacular job of it.


Ocean Art is the most prestigious underwater photo competition in the world. Organized by the Underwater Photography Guide and judged by a panel of experts, this year’s contest saw over $70,000 in prizes handed out to 75 photographers, for winning shots in any of a dozen categories that include wide angle shots, macro photography, and DSLR. From crustaceans in heat to eels devouring octopi, the photos are as diverse and beautiful as the marine ecosystems that cover 70% of our planet. If there’s one conclusion that can be drawn from this year’s Ocean Art winners, it’s that despite all of our technology and ability to explore distant worlds, the oceans remain a surreal, astounding, and utterly alien place.

We’ve collected a few of our favorite shots below. For the full breakdown of winners in each category, plus the stories that accompany each photos, check out the UW photography’s website.

“The Satellite” by Francesco Visintin. Shot in Forte de Marmi, Tuscany, Italy with Nikon D7000

“Feeling Exposed” by Jeff Milisen. Shot in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA with Canon T1i

“Bright Smile” by Claudio Contreras Koob. Shot in Jardines de la Reina, Cuba with Canon 5D Mark II

“Alien Space Ship” by Dennis Corpuz. Shot in Anilao, Philippines with Nikon D7000

“Hiding Beauty” by Alexander Franz. Shot in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia with Nikon D7000

“Mirror Mirror On The Wall” by Peter Leopold. Shot in the Arctic Ocean with Nikon D7000

“Sardine Run” by Greg Lecoeur. Shot in Port St Johns, South Africa with Nikon D7000

“Spooky” by Christian Gloor. Shot at Air Bajo III, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia with Olympus OM-D E-M5

“Blue Ringed” by Alfonso Jesús Expósito Díaz-Álvarez. Shot in the Lembeh Strait, Indonesia with Olympus OM-D E-M1

“Dad and her eggs” by Walter Bassi. Shot in Capo Noli, Liguria Sea, Italy with Olympus E-PL1

“Motherhood” by Cornelia Thieme. Shot in the Lembeh Strait, Indonesia with Olympus OM-D E-M5

“Wood Turtle” by Matthew Sullivan. Shot in Montane Creek, Pennsylvania with Sony a6000

“The Fluorescent Cerianthus” by Alessandro Raho. Shot in Noli, Italy with Canon G16

“Need a Haircut?” by Chen Vui Soon. Shot in Amed, Bali, Indonesia with Sony RX100

“Fast strike of a Tylosorus crocodilus on a juvenile kyphosus vaigiensis” by Jack Berthomier. Shot in Ouemo Bay, Noumea, New Caledonia with Sony RX100

“Poor Octopus” by Jens Schultz. Shot in Ambon, Indonesia with Olympus Tough TG-2

“Humpback calf” by Gregory Sherman. Shot at San Benedicto Island, Archipielago Revillagigedo, Mexico with Canon 5D Mark III

“Red Carpet” by Marco Fierli. Shot in South Sulawesi, Indonesia with Canon 5DMKIII

“Full of Eggs” by Dennis Corpuz. Shot in Anilao, Philippines with Nikon D7000

“Golden Jelly” by Cornelia Thieme. Shot in Jellyfish Lake, Palau with Olympus OM-D E-M5

Images Copyright Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition 2015