Australian photographer Matty Smith has won Ocean Art’s best-in-show 2016 for his dazzling Pacific Man of War image titled Blue Lasso.

Revealing some of the most awe-inspiring photos captured underwater around the world, the annual competition attracts entries from both professional and amateur photographers.

Macro Marvels

There were 16 categories in which photographers could enter. The winner of the macro category was Dennis Corpuz with his Amazing Squid capture taken in Anilao in the Philippines.

Amazing Squid by Dennis Corpuz
Amazing Squid by Dennis Corpuz

Divers will appreciate how difficult it is to take this photo of a fan worm – which shoots back into its tube at the slightest movement. This shot by Lorenzo Terraneo was also a winner in the macro category.

Dancer Sea Worm by Lorenzo Terraneo
Dancer Sea Worm by Lorenzo Terraneo

To qualify as a macro photo the subject in the photo should be lifesize or greater. Macro subjects are generally 6 inches across or smaller and shot with a lens focal length greater than 35mm.

Not only in the Ocean

Although the competition is titled Ocean Art, it isn’t just marine photos that can be entered. Fresh water underwater photos are also eligible.

The winner in this year’s Cold Water category was this magnificent shot of a pike in a Swedish lake.

World of a Pike, 1st Place Cold Water by Tobias Dahlin
World of a Pike by Tobias Dahlin

The photographer, Tobias Dahlin took the photo in the lake of Skällinge, in Sweden. Pike are normally quite shy so Dahlin had to be extremely patient, waiting until one came close. He took the shot without flash to avoid scaring the fish.

Stars in the Sea

This beautiful shot won 1st place in the Reefscape category. Taken by Jeong Sang Keun in Lembeh, Indonesia. The camera was set for a macro wide shot, which gave the unusual composition.

 1st Place Reefscape Sun Star by Jeong Sang Keun
Sun Star by Jeong Sang Keun

Miniscule Creatures

For those photographers wanting even smaller than macro, there is supermacro. This is when the subject in the photo is larger than life. Such as in this capture of a Pearl Granular Crab. This tiny creature measures not more than 7 mm. His portrait was taken by George Low, again in Anilao, Philippines.

 Honorable Mention Supermacro George Low"Pearl Granular Crab"
Pearl Granular Crab by George Low

Everybody’s Favourite – the Nudibranch

Yes, one family of animals has its very own category: the Nudibranch. These most photogenic of creatures attracted many entries, but the winner was Rafael Cosme.

1st Place Nudibranchs by Rafael Cosme Daza
Mating Nudibranchs by Rafael Cosme Daza

What is it?

Is the question that immediately springs to mind on viewing this unusual aspect of a Common Sea Squirt by Lawrence Alex Wu. Taken with a point-and-shoot compact camera, this 2cm forest-like structure was shot in, yet again, Anilao, Philippines.

1st Place Compact Macro by Lawrence Alex Wu
by Lawrence Alex Wu

Where is the best place to take a winning Underwater Photograph?

Some locations cropped up several times in the winners. Lembeh strait (Indonesia) had three photos featured but the most popular place was Anilao in the Philippines with 8 winners, runners up and honourable mentions.

by Marco Gargiulo
by Marco Gargiulo

You can see all the winning photos at the Underwater Photography Guide site. The judges were Martin Edge, Tony Wu, Marty Snyderman and Scott Gietler.


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