The winners of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018

A panoramic photograph of British World War Two military vehicles deep inside a shipwreck sees German photographer Tobias Friedrich named as Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018.

Friedrich’s photograph, taken off the coast of Ras Mohammed in Egypt, triumphed over 5,000 underwater pictures entered by photographers from across the world.

Motorcycles inside the SS Thistlegorm.Image copyrightTobias Friedrich/UPY 2018

‘Cycle War’ was taken in Egypt and shows Norton 16H motorbikes loaded in the SS Thistlegorm, with soldierfish schooling above.

The winners of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018
The winners of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018

“I’ve had this image in mind for a few years, but it is impossible to capture in one photo, because there is not space inside the wreck to photograph this scene in a single frame,” explains Friedrich. “My solution was take a series of pictures and stitch them together as a panorama.”

Chair of the judges, Peter Rowlands, added: “This is a quite extraordinary shot which must be viewed as large as possible. The artistic skill is in visualising such an image, and the photographic talent is in achieving it.”

Grant Thomas won the title of British Underwater Photographer of the Year. His image of swans, titled ‘Love Birds’, was taken in Scotland’s Loch Lomond.

Waiting in the waters of the lake, Thomas’s patience paid off. “The swans were searching for food. I just had to wait for that perfect moment of synchronicity.”

Two swans feeding under the lake water.Image copyrightGrant Thomas/UPY 2018

The competition had 11 categories, testing photographers with themes such as Macro, Wide Angle, Behaviour and Wreck Photography, as well as three categories for photos taken in British waters.

Sea slugs with a moray eel in the background.Image copyrightManBd UiDive/UPY 2018
Image caption Abdul Rahman Jamaludin’s image of sea slugs features a surprising backdrop of a moray eel, which swam into the reef as he was taking his image.
A group of pike underwater.Image copyrightTony Stephenson/UPY 2018
Image caption Leicester-based Tony Stephenson managed to find these pike in the quarry at Stoney Cove, a popular scuba diving site.
A humpback whale skyhopping.Image copyrightGreg Lecoeur/UPY 2018
Image caption When a whale is spyhopping, it emerges from the water vertically, pausing in its position. Greg Lecoeur captured this humpback as it moved its pectoral fin towards the camera.
Three seahorses backlit under the water.Image copyrightSHANE GROSS/UPY 2018
Image caption Shane Gross’s photograph was taken in a pond with a very high density of seahorses, yet he was still amazed that he managed to capture these three together, backlit and surrounded by plankton.
Shark behaviourist Cristina Zenato surrounded by sharks in The BahamasImage copyrightFan Ping/UPY 2018
Image caption Shark behaviourist Cristina Zenato has been studying Caribbean reef sharks near Freeport in The Bahamas for more than 24 years. The unique bond between her and the sharks allows her to get close to them, enabling this impressive image by Fan Ping.
A coiled up conger eel.Image copyrightSongda Cai/UPY 2018
Image caption Although Songda Cai has had many encounters with eels, this is her favourite image of the creature, looking at her camera from inside its coiled body.
A fish wedged between the bell and the tentacles of a jellyfish.Image copyrightScott Gutsy Tuason/UPY 2018
Image caption A fish had managed to wedge itself between the bell and the tentacles of a jellyfish, and the two were moving along together. This strange combination turned towards Scott Gutsy Tuason after he had taken 20 photos, and he was able to get this fantastic shot.
A cormorant with a fish in its mouth.Image copyrightFilippo Borghi/UPY 2018
Image caption It took two days of standing in shallow waters from 05:00 to 08:00 for Filippo Borghi to get this image of a cormorant diving for fish in the Izu Peninsula, Tokyo.
A sand tiger shark surrounded by millions of tiny fishImage copyrightTanya Houppermans/UPY 2018
Image caption Tanya Houppermans swam on her back underneath this sand tiger shark, trying not to startle it as millions of tiny fish swam around it. As she moved with the shark through the water, the fish parted and the underside of the shark was revealed.
Humpback whales swimming under the waterImage copyrightSimone Matucci/UPY 2018
Image caption These humpback whales were swimming by the Haʻapai islands of Tonga when Simone Matucci and his wife were diving. “It was the most wild and incredible thing I have probably witnessed in my entire life” he says.
A bear hunting for salmon in the water.Image copyrightMike Korostelev/UPY 2018
Image caption Kurile Lake in Russia has a very high concentration of bears, which is why Mike Korostelev placed his remote camera in its shallow waters. He captured this bear extremely close up, hunting for salmon.
A crocodile reflected on the surface of the water.Image copyrightBorut Furlan/UPY 2018
Image caption Borut Furlan shot seawater crocodiles in Cuba in the low evening sunlight, capturing their reflections in the still waters of the surface.

All photographs subject to copyright.

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