Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018 Winners Announced
The winners of the 2018 Underwater Photographer of the Year awards have been announced, with German photographer Tobias Friedrich taking the top prize. His panoramic shot of trucks and motorcycles inside the Second World War wreck of the SS Thistlegorm triumphed over 5,000 underwater photographs from around the world, under the discerning eyes of judges Peter Rowlands, Martin Edge and Alex Mustard. Check out the amazing shots below for a full list of category winners. More information and a full list of the results can be found on the Underwater Photographer of the Year website, where a free, downloadable yearbook of all the best photos from the event is available
Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018
Winner – Wrecks
Tobias Friedrich, Germany 'CYCLE-WAR'
For a few years now I had had this image in mind as the motorcycles on this truck inside the Thistlegorm lie so perfectly together, but you can only barely capture it because the wall is very close. As a result, I had to create a panoramic image of the same scene to capture the whole cargo deck, including some lights that give the image more depth.
'This is a quite extraordinary shot which must be viewed as large as possible. The bigger the better. And yet it is of a subject which has been photographed literally thousands of times. The artistic skill is to visualise such an image and the photographic talent is to achieve it. Perfectly lit and composed, I predict that there will never be a better shot of this subject from now on.' – Peter Rowlands
British Underwater Photographer of the Year
Winner – British Waters Wide Angle
Grant Thomas, UK 'Love Birds'
I have always been fascinated by over-under photography, connecting the everyday terrestrial world that we all know with the less familiar underwater secrets. I chose Loch Lomond as the location for this shot due to its idyllic scenery, water access and friendly swans. My initial idea was to frame a split shot of one swan feeding below the surface of the water but when I noticed how comfortable they were around me I was confident, with some patience, I could get that magical shot of the two. It was mid-day, sun high in the sky, I waded slowly into the shallow water, allowing the swans to become comfortable with my presence. When they began searching for food below the water line I just had to wait for that perfect moment of synchronicity.
'The judging panel were impressed when we first viewed this image, But as you know, opinions can change. In this case, the swans' image got better and better over the days of judging.' – Martin Edge
Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year
Winner – 'Up & Coming
ManBd, Malaysia 'ROAR'
When I was shooting this nudibranch I was focusing on its behaviour to get just the right shot. While this happened a moray eel suddenly appeared out from the blue behind the nudi. I was shocked for a while but decided it would be a great composition. As a few minute flew by to my surprise another nudi appeared right behind the other one maybe to mate. Having both nudis and a moray eel was a double surprise for me. I then decided to wait a while longer for the nudi to be in frame with the moray eel roaring behind. It took about 30 minutes to get this shot and it was well worth it.
'Another of my favourites in the competition. The mouth and head of the moray take up more than 50 per cent of the image frame which is all out of focus but the result is a superb demonstration of blur which I would never have believed would work against the three nudies The soft left eye of the moray together with the morays gleaming white teeth towards the bottom round off this image but there is still more to come! he three nudies look as though they are planning their escape in different directions. One superb image!' – Martin Edge
Most Promising British Underwater Photographer
Highly Commended – British Waters Wide Angle
Tony Stephenson, UK 'How Many Pike?'
Living in the East Midlands in England is a long way from the sea and as a result, a lot of my diving takes place in the quarry at Stoney Cove, the UK’s National Diving Centre. I love photographing pike and on this particular dive during the Easter holidays, a ‘group’ of males were looking for a mate. Once they found one they pursued her relentlessly and were completely transfixed on gaining her attention. This allowed me to get close in front of the fish, fill the frame and aim to get lots of good eye contact. I was delighted by the results. I hope that I have demonstrated that UK inland diving can throw up some amazing sights that are a pleasure to witness and photograph.
'We were not short of pike pictures to look at but this one captured us all. We did agree, however, that a touch of extra light (or Photoshop lightening) on the central character would have helped.' – Peter Rowlands
Winner – Wide Angle
Greg Lecoeur, France 'Humpback Whale Spy-Hopping'
Winner – Macro
Shane Gross, Canada 'Seahorse Density'
Runner Up – Wrecks
Giannie Pecchiar, Italy 'Safe Navigation'
Winner – Behaviour
Filippo Borghi, Italy, 'The Fisherman'
Winner – Portrait
Tanya Houppermans,United States 'A sand tiger shark surrounded by tiny bait fish'
Winner – Black and White
Borut Furlan (Slovenia), 'Crocodile Reflections'
Winner – Compact Cameras
Simone Matucci, New Zealand 'Dancing with the Giants'
Runner Up – Up and Coming
Jacob Degee, Poland 'The Hammer'
Runner Up – British Waters Wide Angle
Nicholas More,UK 'Shark Speed'
Winner – British Waters Macro
Henley Spiers, UK 'Battle of the Tompots'
Winner – British Waters Compact
Vicky Paynter (UK), 'Scratchy Seal'