The Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) competition have announced their winners for 2016.
From the icy sea surrounding the Russian Kamchatka peninsula to the welcoming waters of Polynesia, photographers from 54 different countries entered their photographs into the competition.
The winners were decided by three judges who specialize in underwater photography: Alex Mustard, Martin Edge, and Peter Rowlands. Although there was no official criteria, the photographs were assessed on their aesthetic beauty, their wider message, and the level of skill and dedication needed to execute the shot.
The award for top overall image was given to Davide Lopresti for a long exposure shot of a spiny seahorse (Hippocampus histrix), seen above, in the Mediterranean waters just off Trieste, Italy.
Simply titled “Gold”, Lopresti wanted to take an image that celebrated the return of the seahorse to the Mediterranean sea. For years, destructive trawling from fishermen had seen their numbers decline. However, thanks to a massive rise in public awareness and an active restocking program, their numbers are back on the rise, The Guardian reported.
Image credit: Dan Bolt/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016
Dan Bolt won the British Underwater Photographer of the Year and the British Macro category for his photograph of a smallspotted catshark egg illuminated to reveal a small creature developing. Shot in Thurlestone, Devon, U.K., Bolt called this image “Catshark Supernova.”
Image credit: Mike Korostelev/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016
Another notable story behind a photograph comes from Mike Korostelev, who won the International Wide-Angle category. To get his image of a Eurasian bear in the midst of salmon fishing, he sat in a partially submerged cage for hours in the ice-cold waters off Kamchatka in the Russian Far East.
For more photographs, check out a selection of entries below, and go to the UPY website for all of the winning images.
Image credit: Helen Brierley/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016
Image credit: Richard Carey/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016
Image credit: Rui Guerra /Underwater Photographer of the Year 2016