“The human world, it’s a mess. Life under the sea is better than anything they’ve got up there,” wise Sebastian the crab once sang. Judging by these photos, he wasn’t wrong.
The winners of the 2018 Underwater Photographer of the Year have been announced, showcasing a range of wildlife, environments, and archaeological delights from beneath the waves. This year’s competition saw over 5,000 entries from underwater photographers hailing from every corner of the world, including China, Europe, the US, and Bermuda.
The grand prize was awarded to German photographer Tobias Friedrich for his stunning image “Cycle War”, showing a wreck full of submerged World War II motorbikes and supply trucks, with schools of soldierfish patrolling above.
“I had had this image in mind for a few years, but it is impossible to capture in one photo because there is no space inside the wreck to photograph this scene in a single frame,” Friedrich explained. “My solution was take a series pictures and stitch them together as a panorama.”
Chair of the judges, Peter Rowlands, called it an “extraordinary shot which must be viewed as large as possible.”
“The artistic skill is to visualize such an image and the photographic talent is to achieve it,” he added.
Another stand-out image was Malaysian photographer Man BD’s image, “Roar”. Take a close look at this one. In the foreground, you can clearly see two vibrantly colored sea slugs, but slightly obscured in the background you will see a moray eel, lunging in with its mouth wide open. His efforts won him the title of Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018.
“When shooting these nudibranchs I was focusing on getting the shot,” explained Man, “when suddenly a moray eel appeared behind. It still took me about 30 minutes to get this shot.”
Competition judge Martin Edge commented: “Great photography to use the moray as a background, with its gleaming white teeth, adds so much drama.”
Grant Thomas from Glasgow won the title of British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018 goes to for his photo “Love Birds”, showing two swans in what looks like a romantic gesture in Loch Lomond, Scotland.
There are some mind-blowing images in the collection, so be sure to check out a select few of the awarded images below.