Underneath the waves, it's pretty much another world. There are few better displays of the ocean’s beauty and inexplicable weirdness than the Ocean Art Photography competition.
The winner of the grand-prize is Matty Smith for his stunning photograph of a Pacific Man of War (above) snapped in the shores of Bushrangers Bay in New South Wales, Australia. With impeccable lighting and composition, Smith shows off this see-through marine hydrozoan with deadly tentacles. Although better known as the Portuguese Man of War, these creatures can be found throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean.
“There are often hundreds of these animals washed into the bays near my home over night during the correct wind and current conditions,” photographer Smith explained in his story behind the shot. “A lucky composition and beautiful illumination highlights the beauty of this elegant predator. It was one of those rare moments when it all came together for me, the fortunate photographer, I knew I had just witnessed something very special.
The competition was organized by the Underwater Photography Guide, who dished out 95 prizes to photographers from over 60 different countries across 15 separate photographic categories.
There are dozens and dozens of award-winning photographers, which you can check out here, but here's a small selection of our personal favorites to wet your appetite.
"Mirror, Mirror." Troy Mayne caught this shot of a green turtle checking itself out in the Great Barrier Reef, down under. His image also wont him 3rd place in the wide-angle category. Ocean Art Competition 2016/Troy Mayne
1st Place Macro winner "Amazing Squid" could be mistaken for an abstract painting, but this image taken in Anilao, Philippines of a Bobtail squid is the real deal.Ocean Art Competition 2016/Dennis Corpuz
Two mating frogs in Belgium took the top prize for the Marine Life Behaviour Category. Ocean Art Competition 2016Gino Symus
Glass Fish corral around a diver off the coast of Hin Deang, Thailand. Ocean Art Competition 2016/Lawrence Alex Wu