Every year, the best photos taken in rivers and oceans around the world are honored in the UK’s Underwater Photographer of the Year contest. Awards span eight categories that reward photographers’ ability to capture everything from intimate portraits of marine wildlife to vast seascapes.
This year, contestants from 54 countries entered the contest this year with a variety of unusual images. The top prize went to photographer Davide Lopresti, for his close encounter with a spiny seahorse.
The image was shot off the coast of Trieste, Italy. It celebrates the successful reintroduction of seahorses into Mediterranean waters, after being decimated by fishing practices like trawling, says Lopresti.
Other honored photos include:
A perilously close shot of a brown bear fishing in Kurile Lake in Russia, by Mikhail Korostelev.
Thomas Heckmann’s half-underwater image of a wrecked tugboat in Curacao.
This green turtle contentedly feeding on a jellyfish in Thailand, by Richard Carey.
Marcus Blatchford’s haunting scene of a wrecked automobile in Chepstow, UK.
Paul Colley’s photo of a trout and duck in Hampshire, England.
Dan Bolt’s close-up of a catshark egg in Thurlestone Bay, UK.
And Marty Dunmore’s image of a shipwreck in the Cayman Islands.