‘Gold’ by Davide Lopresti (Italy). Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016.

It’s often said that we know less about the deep ocean than we do about the surface of Mars. Looking at the 2016 winners of the UK’s Underwater Photography Contest, I can’t help but agree. Life beneath the sea is as alien and entrancing as any ancient, dust-blown crater on the Red Planet.

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Although only in its second year, the Underwater Photography Contest has already put itself on the map as a prestigious international competition. This year, the contest drew thousands of applicants, who vied for awards in eight photo categories, including macro, wide-angle, behavior, and more. In addition, four special awards recognized exceptional photographers, and up-and-coming talent, both in the UK and internationally.

The scope, scale, and subjects of the winning images are breathtakingly diverse. I’ve collected a few of my favorites below, but if you’re as captivated as I was, you’ll want to check out all 80 award-winning photos here.


‘Catshark Supernova’ by Dan Bolt (UK). British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016
‘Mangrove sunset’ by Fabio Galbiati (Italy). Wide Angle Runner Up 2016.
‘Seven’ by Mathieu Foulquié (France). Wide Angle Commended 2016.
‘The odd couple’ by Gianni Colucci (Italia). Macro Third Place 2016.
‘Timeless Moment!’ by Behnaz Afsahi (Canada). Macro Highly Commended 2016.
‘Black water’ by GREG LECOEUR (France). Macro Highly Commended 2016.
‘A Family Affair..’ by Thomas Heckmann (Germany). Wrecks Winner 2016.
‘USS Kittiwake shipwreck’ by Susannah H. Snowden-Smith (Grand Cayman). Wrecks Commended 2016.
‘Turtle eating Jellyfish’ by Richard Carey (Thailand). Behavior Winner 2016.
‘Millions of crabs’ by Rui Guerra (Portugal). Behavior Third Place 2016.
‘Transparent Trick’ by ifj. Lorincz Ferenc © Hungary (Hungary). Up & Coming Highly Commended 2016.
‘Set the Ray to Jelly’ by Nick Blake (UK). British Waters Wide Angle Highly Commended 2016.
‘Slug’ by Alex Tattersall (UK). British Waters Macro Highly Commended 2016.
‘Friend or Foe?’ by Dan Bolt (UK). British Waters Macro Commended 2016.
‘Hello Ducky!’ by Paul Colley (UK). British Waters Macro Winner 2016.
‘Pike on the move’ by Trevor Rees (UK). British Waters Macro Highly Commended 2016.

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