Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016
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Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016

“Photography is a love affair with life” – Burk Uzzle 1938

Winner Seahorse Italy Burk Uzzle’s timeless quote is aptly reflected in the many entries submitted for the Underwater Photography of the Year (UPY) competition. Scuba divers across the globe have embraced their passion for nature and have captured magical moments in time.

Professor Callum Roberts paints a striking picture in his forward for the UPY 2016 Yearbook – ‘This magnificent collection of photographs celebrates life in the sea in all its diversity, splendour and sheer mind-bending oddity. It brings together many of the most arresting images of the year: the shark filled waters of Cuba and French Polynesia, an octopus suspended in the night-time mid-Pacific as delicate as a flower, or a tight knit extended family of pilot whales at home in the blue immensity of the Mediterranean. The pictures thrill, inspire, and will kindle a yearning to explore and discover even in the most armchair-bound.’

The cliché, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, is the point of departure for the Dive The World blog post this week. Few words are necessary from us as the beauty captured by the artistry of the photographers speak for themselves. A few of the award winning images are showcased below. The Underwater Photographer of the Year – The Yearbook 2016 presents all the incredible, inspiring images that placed in this year’s prestigious competition.

We hope that the diving images with the photographer and judges comments inspire you to capture your own magical moments during your scuba diving holidays. Contact our Dive The World sales team to enquire about scuba diving vacations to Indonesia, Hawaii, Maldives, or any of the many liveaboard destinations that are pulling at your heart strings.

Wide Angle Runner Up IndonesiaFabio Galbiati shares how his ‘bad weather day’ inspired him and the result is this beautiful image that bagged him runner up in the Wide Angle category. ‘In early August 2015 I was in Bangka Island, Sulawesi. The first days the weather was bad and prevented us from going out with the boat to dive. The situation was really boring and we wanted to go into the water, why not take advantage of the pristine mangrove nearby? We decided to spend some hours in these murky waters.

It was a big surprise, many subjects everywhere and the light effects produced by the sun and mangroves were very special. I decided to make a shot at sunset, so we went there in the afternoon and after along search in the outermost part I found the right root with this nudibranch(Jorunna funebris) intent to feed. Did some tests in framing and attempts to restrict the backscatter of these murky waters and I only had to wait until the sun did his duty and…. press the shutter!’

Macro Category Runner up Kona HawaiiJudge Alex Mustard provides some insight into the challenges faced by macro photographers. ‘Helen definitely took on one of macro photography’s big challenges to produce this eye-catching image. It is not easy to shoot macro portraits of tiny, semi-transparent critters while suspended in the darkness of inner-space: an open ocean black water dive. Capturing such a pleasing composition of such an attractive species in these conditions is a great achievement.

‘Suspended in the inky blackness of the open ocean where the water is thousands of feet deep, a myriad of weird and wonderful creatures came into view in the narrow focus light beam. They were making their nightly journey towards the surface to feed, before heading back down to the depths in time to escape the light of another day. Using our lights to help locate their prey, we were truly in another world, and we did not want to ever leave. I was able to take several shots of this tiny octopus as he drifted by, but he disappeared again into the darkness all too soon.’ Helen Brierley

Reef Ballet Indonesia

Damien Mauric describes the beauty of Raja Ampat, Indonesia, where his commended image in the International Wide Angle category was taken. “I like to create images showing marine life in motion and Raja Ampat is probably the best place on earth for creating this type of image.

Every reef, every wall, every piece of rock is carpeted of an abundance of marine life while there is always something happening in the blue. While I was exploring one of the underwater garden of Pulau WayiIbatan, I noticed this large and beautiful fiery red gorgonian. Coming out of nowhere a huge school silversides started a beautiful choreography in front of my camera..What a perfect moment for the passionate diver that I am to witness this dance orchestrated by larger pelagic fishes hunting in the background. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to capture the elegance of this underwater ballet.”

International Behaviour Highly Commended Maldives

Damien McGuirk captured unexpected magic on his Maldivian scuba vacation and was awarded highly commended in the International Behaviour category. He shares this special moment. “I love looking for Longnose Hawkfish. In the Maldives, they live in the bushes of Black Frondy Coral. They are very skittish subjects but this little guy didn’t mind me looking at him, and only by studying him over a few minutes did I sense he was doing something unusual. Without warning, he shot off his perch to return a few seconds later with something in his mouth. I aimed my camera as best I could, and tripped the shutter. It was only later when I reviewed the image in my hotel room did I realise what I had actually captured. Magic!”

Create your own keepsakes now, book your next scuba diving vacation. Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.

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