20 Mesmerizing Winning Images From The 2022 Underwater Photographer Of The Year Competition

Published 1 year ago

The Underwater Photography Guide has announced its winners for the 11th annual Ocean Art 2022 Underwater Photography Competition! With over $100,000 in prizes, this contest awards the best underwater photographers to celebrate the majestic ocean.

Nirupam Nigam, the editor-in-chief of the Underwater Photography Guide revealed, “It is clear from this year’s winning images that our community of underwater photographers has dived into a new and exciting post-pandemic era. An unprecedented caliber of photos was ushered in by the lifting of travel restrictions – including our best in show image featuring another teachable moment from an octopus. This photo, captured in Palm Beach, Florida by Kat Zhou, depicts the bittersweet final days between a mother octopus and her young before dying of old age.”

Check out some of the winning images in the gallery below.

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#1 “Long Shadows” by Martin Broen. Winner, Black and White

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Cenote Dos Pisos, Riviera Maya, Yucatan, Mexico
“Getting further away from the exit to surface and safety, through the labyrinth of pitch-black tunnels, you get to see places with incredible pristine decorations.
These tunnels got bigger when the cave were flooded and were decorated by the slow dripping of the calcite when the caves are dry. This happened over multiple cycles each lasting 100,000 years! And in this case the tunnel formed in a bedding plane with thousands of tiny stalactites in the ceiling contrasting the few tall stalagmite in the floor that creates a labyrinth in itself and project those beautiful long shadows.”

#2 “Octopus Attack” by Dennis Corpuz. Winner, Blackwater

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Anilao, Philippines
“A hungry paralarvae octopus ambushes a larval mantis shrimp. At night during this blackwater dive, we traveled a few kilometers away from the mainland of Anilao. We set up a buoy with a dropline attached with high-powered lumens light at 5, 10, 15, and 20 meters in approximately 200 to 1000 meters deep of water. We regularly observe the vertical migration of all deep-sea living creatures and try to photograph their behavior.”

#3 A Male Weedy Seadragon Carries Pink Eggs On Its Tail” by PT Hirschfield. Winner, Compact Behavior

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Victoria, Australia
“Last year in the judges’ comments, it was advised to find new ways to photograph common subjects. While definitely ‘other-worldly’, male weedy sea dragons carrying bright pink eggs on its tail are not a particularly unusual subject on the south-east coast of Australia. These slow moving animals are typically very happy to pose side-on at close range in only around 4-6 meters depth. But I loved playing with the principles of photography in making this image. I observed the ‘Rule of Thirds’ and the principle of ‘edge consciousness’, but broke the ‘rules’ of shooting the subject from the front with sharp focus on the eye. Shooting this dragon from the back with its eye down and not as a focal point revealed an angle of this bright beastie that’s rarely seen. The egg closest to the top right hand side appears to have already hatched (which I did not realize until I saw the image at home on the computer), with almost ninety other eggs nearing their hatching time.”

#4 “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” by Eunhee Cho. Winner, Compact Macro

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Dauin, Negros Oriental, Philippines
“I considered filming for a short time without strengthening the light because the sea squirt, which does not like the heat, narrows the entrance right away when I start filming. Also, shrimp are sensitive to sea squirts’ movements, so I tried to film calmly without rushing. From the moment I found the shrimp in the sea squirt until just before the sea squirt entrance was closed, this cute little shrimp kept an eye on me without much movement. It was as if this shrimp understood my mind to take pictures while being pressed for time, and I thought of E.T., the big-eyed alien in the movie I saw as a child. It was a lucky day when a small sea creature was considerate of me and I was able to shoot.”

#5 “Cassiopea in the Blue” by Alessandro Buzzichelli. Winner, Mobile Phone

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Cala Liberotto, Italy
“One day Hundreds of Cassiopea jellyfish appeared. The water was very transparent and the sunlight illuminated the scene.”

#6 “Ribbed” by Aleksei Permiakov. Winner, Nudibranches

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
“During the pandemic me and my wife got stuck in Bali and that was a great opportunity for macro photography. We explored Tulamben and made a series of dives at the Drop Off dive site where we spotted quite a lot of different subjects. Tambja morosa is a relatively big nudi and usually I would shoot it without a wet lens, but I decided to focus more on rhinophores and its amazing texture.”

#7 “Shark Trio” by Renee Capozzola. Winner, Wide Angle.

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in South Fakarava, French Polynesia
“Blacktrip reef sharks and butterflyfish gather around a healthy hard coral reef in South Fakarava, French Polynesia at sunset. This is a single, in-camera image.”

#8 “Cleared for Takeoff” by Josh Raia. Runner Up, Blackwater.

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Florida, USA
“This photo was taken in June of 2022, on a flat calm night in the Gulfstream off of Palm Beach, Florida. I always try and reserve half an hour at the end of each blackwater dive to spend time at the surface, looking for critters in floating mats of sargassum (a fascinating mini ecosystem!). With the conditions being so serene, it was an excellent opportunity to try and snap reflection photos just below the surface. Sargassum flyingfish are constantly swimming, and an accidental startle will see them disapear into the night sky above. This particular subject was using my lights to hunt among the sargassum strands, and turned to face me for one photo with its reflection above. It then swam straight at my mask and took off directly over my head! We lovingly refer to them as “Fu Manchu flyingfish”, due to the mustache-like protrusions over their mouths.”

#9 “Jaws” by Yannick Gouguenheim. Runner Up, Coldwater

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in South East of France
“I made this picture in the only pond of the south-east of France where the species is present.
I am passionate about urodeles and this species is in my opinion the most beautiful marbled newt.
The shots are quite difficult because this animal is fast and the water is very cold during the reproduction period. It took me many hours of waiting underwater to succeed in capturing this picture.
This species has a very wide range and is still locally common, but it has experienced a very strong regression and has become more or less rare in most of its range. The important rarefaction of the great crested newt is due to multiple factors: intensive agriculture and agricultural consolidation, urbanization of plains, road development, water pollution, lowering of the water table and first of all the filling of ponds or their artificialization as fishing areas. It disappears quite quickly from ponds where fish have been introduced.”

#10 “Anemone Closing Time” by Sheryl Wright. Runner Up, Compact Behavior

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Anilao, Philippines
“In July 2022 I joined a Minke Whale liveaboard trip to Cairns and in between encounters also had the opportunity to dive many beautiful coral reefs. I was enjoying my first dive of the trip with a new Olympus TG-6 camera and testing the settings when a beautiful red anemone positioned on the side of a coral bommie caught my eye. I was mesmerized watching the 3 Skunk Anemone fish or Clownfish swimming freely in and out of their hosts protective tentacles, when all of a sudden the anemone started closing. I managed to capture the confused little faces of the fish in that moment before the anemone started opening again and we all breathed a sigh of relief. I was very happy with the image straight out of the camera and did very little post-production. I started to remove the sand grains from the image in editing but decided these small imperfections created a level of authenticity.”

#11 “Wunderpus” by Regie Casia. Runner Up, Compact Macro

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Anilao, Philippines
“During a blackwater dive, shot at 25 meters deep over about 1000 meters of water, we waited for the vertical migration of deep water creatures.”

#12 “The Lady in Red” by Matthew Sullivan. Runner Up, Macro.

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Florida, USA
“I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of Striated Frogfish from various places around the world but I’d never seen a red flavored one. I found this massive and spectacular female resting against a dock piling in the dark. Red is the fastest color to fade underwater so until lit by strobe light we had no idea what she really looked like. My jaw hit the ground when I looked at my LCD and saw her true color. She is my favorite frogfish I’ve seen.”

#13 “Chew With Your Mouth Closed!” by Bryant Turffs. Runner Up, Marine Life Behavior.

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Florida, USA
“I captured this image while exploring a freshwater spring and river. Although I set out looking for manatees, my attention was captured by this common snapping turtle. I spent several hours observing her at a respectful distance and moving in to make images now and again. This individual is apparently blind and did not seem to mind my presence. She went about her business alternately resting, breathing, and foraging. Eventually, she came across a dead flatfish, commonly known as a hog-choker. The fish’s name comes from the tendency for its spines to get caught in pigs throats when scavenged. The spines, however, were no match for this turtle. She positioned the fish in her mouth and began to scrape away the spines with her forelimbs, as depicted here. Once satisfied she swallowed the remaining fish whole. Common snapping turtles play an important role, scavenging carrion from aquatic ecosystems in the South Eastern United States. The species is, however, omnivorous, and will consume vegetation and live prey too.”

#14 “Coral Spawn” by Chris Gug. Runner Up, Mobile Phone

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Raja Ampat, Indonesia
“The dive manager/naturalist Sabine at Misool gave me an insider’s tip the night before this photo was taken. While it’s not well-documented or studied, she had witnessed a coral spawn event on this moon cycle in past years, and believed there was a chance that corals might spawn within the next day or three. So my wife & I sat out on the dock all night, skipping dinner, a presentation, and some sleep. But finally, a very fishy stanky smell filled the calm air. Looking down into the water below with the phone flashlight showed egg packets beginning to pop up to the surface. I slipped off the dock to document the event, but not knowing if we would have seconds, minutes, or hours, the phone that was already in my hand was the best camera for the job, which I feared might be over before I could even get in. But it did go on for quite a while – more than 30 minutes on two consecutive nights. The gametes formed a slick on the calm surface, and the smell was like opening unrefrigerated week-old fishy cheese, which seemed to cling to my body (and my wife’s long, curly hair) for the next day. But what an incredible experience it was, watching the coral do it’s thing, and the bounty that it provided the rest of the reef’s inhabitants on that night from crabs filtering as much of a meal as possible, up to the black-tip sharks rapidly cruising through trying to take advantage of a smaller fish busy gorging themselves – I’ll gladly get covered in that coral stank any time!”

#15 “The Climb” by Veronika Nagy. Runner Up, Nudibranch

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in British Columbia, Canada
“This scene combines so many things I love – a kelp forest, turquoise waters, and a hooded nudibranch. Hooded nudibranchs are very unique with an oral hood that looks like a venus-flytrap and paddle-shaped cerata beautifully displayed by this individual. I was drawn in by its contrast against the dark forest background and the way it appeared to be on a journey to the surface.”

#16 “Drowned in Plastic” by Caroline Power. Runner Up, Underwater Conservation

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Honduras, Roatan
“During hatching season, juvenile turtles head out to sea and seek shelter on anything they can find. Sargassum mats provide ample shelter among the seaweed as well as food for the young turtles. It is their oasis in a hostile ocean. Many spend their first years of life sheltering there. I received a call that a plastic filled sargassum mat was washing ashore. There were hatchling sea turtles in it that were becoming trapped in the thick garbage as it hit the shoreline and were in need of rescue. A group of rescuers and I spent the better part of two hours wading through the plastic filled water in search of any live sea turtles. I took my camera with me, precariously dragging it through the thick plastic soup as I searched for live hatchlings. I snapped a few photos along the way not because it was a memory I wanted to be reminded of. I took the photos in hope that they might make people realize what we are doing to the oceans.”

#17 “Shark Portrait” by Gabriella Luongo. Runner Up, Portrait.

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Azores, Portugal
“I have always dreamed of taking photos of sharks in the blue and finally got an opportunity this summer in the Azores. No fear, no stress of any kind – only peace and a sense of community with nature. These animals are so intelligent and curious. Once accepted by them in their environment, you can do nothing but admire their elegance. Diving among them is a privilege and a memory I will never forget.”

#18 “Staker” by Julian Nedev. Runner Up, Underwater Art

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Faenza, Italy
“The model, Jessica Avellaneda Aristi, is a real skateboarder and she suggested we do this underwater. The sneakers used to be bolted to the skateboard.
I did this photo manipulation to match the gorgeous model with a more dramatic background. The model is also isolated from the black background of the original photo and shines with radiance.”

#19 “A Happy Bunch” by Sarah Teveldal. Winner, Underwater Art

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Private Residential Pool, Miami
“Underwater performer, free diver and four-time World Champion Synchronized Swimmer Kristina Makushenko and I worked together to get this colorful, fun-spirited image. Balloons can be difficult to work with underwater, but we are both underwater enthusiasts who appreciate a challenge! The trick to working with the balloons is achieving a nearly neutral buoyancy. To do this, you must fill them with the right water-to-air ratio which is mostly water and just a tiny breath of air.”

#20 “Peace” by Enrico Somogyi. Winner, Compact Wide Angle

Image source: Underwater Photography Guide

Shot in Leipzig, Germany
“Once a year at the end of March, it is mating time for the toads. It lasts only few days and only at this time is it possible to get very close to them. Normally they are very shy. I was trying to get a split shot with this toad, when he started to crawl on my small dome port. I got some pics from this action and this one was my favorite pic.”

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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ocean photography, photography, photography competition, photos, underwater photography, underwater photography competition, underwater photography competition 2022
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