August 12, 2022

What lies beneath has by no means appeared so fascinating.

The winners of the Underwater Photographer of the Yr 2022 contest have been revealed – and each one in every of them mesmerises.

This yr, the competitors – which ‘celebrates images beneath the floor of the world’s oceans, lakes, rivers and even swimming swimming pools’ – obtained over 4,200 entries from across the globe. Nevertheless, it was a transfixing photograph of 5 whale sharks, feeding collectively at evening within the waters of the Maldives, that led the judges to award Spanish photographer Rafael Fernandez Caballero the accolade of Underwater Photographer of the Yr 2022.

In the meantime, Matty Smith, an Englishman now dwelling in Australia, was named British Underwater Photographer of the Yr 2022, for his spectacular portrait of a fantastic white shark gliding via the water close to South Australia’s Neptune Islands.

Different footage that impressed the judges included a heartwarming shot of a yawning seal pup off the coast of the UK’s Lundy Island, an atmospheric picture of a sunken U.S Navy ship by the Cayman Islands, and a hanging {photograph} of a striped marlin in the course of a hunt within the waters of Mexico’s Magdalena Bay.

Competitors choose Alex Mustard stated: ‘Restriction on journey over the previous yr could have stopped many photographers visiting their favorite waters, however it hasn’t stifled their creativity.’

Scroll right down to see MailOnline Journey’s decide of the mesmerising successful and counseled pictures…

Above is the highly effective image taken close to South Australia’s Neptune Islands that earned Matty Smith the title of British Underwater Photographer Of The Yr 2022. It was additionally a runner up within the ‘Portrait’ class. Smith, who had been making an attempt to seize a ‘charismatic’ portrait of a fantastic white shark for a few years, admitted that the methods he had used prior to now ‘failed terribly’. He stated: ‘This time I designed and constructed my very own carbon pole and distant set off. This enabled me to soundly decrease my digicam and housing into the water with my very own 12inch (30cm) break up shot dome port connected. Surprisingly the sharks have been immediately interested in the digicam with no additional bait wanted, in reality, it was a battle to cease them biting the dome port! We had splendidly calm seas and good night aspect lighting for this naturally lit picture.’ The judges felt that the picture ‘really has some character’ 

'Framed well and lit beautifully, it’s a classic.' So said the judges of this shot by British photographer Dan Bolt, which shows two Yarrell's blennies in Loch Carron, Scotland. It was the overall victor in the 'British Waters Macro' category. Bolt said that the loch, which he has been visiting for the past decade, has 'never failed to produce stunning underwater images with its diverse array of marine inhabitants'. He explained: 'We were diving on an area of reef I’d not previously explored, and after an excited squeal and waving of a torch in my direction I dropped down to see that my buddy had found not one, but two beautiful little blennies holed up in a crack in the rock. Having my long macro lens on was an advantage as I could stand off from the reef enough to get some light into their home so we could all see their some-what bemused little faces. Best buddies for sure!'

Overall winner Rafael Fernandez Caballero captured this sensational picture in the Ari Atoll in the Maldives. It also reigned supreme in the 'Wide Angle' category. Sharing the story behind the shot, Caballero said: 'At the beginning of the night one whale shark came to the light of our boat, BlueForce One, we jumped in the water and then another whale shark came. We were so happy when, a couple of hours later, out of the blue, madness happened and whale sharks started to come in big numbers. I was together with Gador Muntaner, a shark researcher, who couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We counted at the same time 11 whale sharks surrounding us. It was a unique moment that no one there had thought could even be possible.' He added: 'Magic happens in the ocean every day, but if we don’t protect the oceans and sharks, these moments will soon be a thing of the past.' One judge said that the image 'took his breath away' when he first saw it

LEFT: ‘Framed nicely and lit superbly, it’s a basic.’ So stated the judges of this shot by British photographer Dan Bolt, which exhibits two Yarrell’s blennies in Loch Carron, Scotland. It was the general victor within the ‘British Waters Macro’ class. Bolt stated that the loch, which he has been visiting for the previous decade, has ‘by no means failed to provide gorgeous underwater photographs with its various array of marine inhabitants’. He defined: ‘We have been diving on an space of reef I’d not beforehand explored, and after an excited squeal and waving of a torch in my route I dropped right down to see that my buddy had discovered not one, however two stunning little blennies holed up in a crack within the rock. Having my lengthy macro lens on was a bonus as I may stand off from the reef sufficient to get some mild into their dwelling so we may all see their some-what bemused little faces. Greatest buddies for positive!’ RIGHT: General winner Rafael Fernandez Caballero captured this sensational image within the Ari Atoll within the Maldives. It additionally reigned supreme within the ‘Extensive Angle’ class. Sharing the story behind the shot, Caballero stated: ‘At first of the evening one whale shark got here to the sunshine of our boat, BlueForce One, we jumped within the water after which one other whale shark got here. We have been so joyful when, a few hours later, out of the blue, insanity occurred and whale sharks began to return in massive numbers. I used to be along with Gador Muntaner, a shark researcher, who couldn’t imagine what we have been seeing. We counted on the identical time 11 whale sharks surrounding us. It was a singular second that nobody there had thought may even be potential.’ He added: ‘Magic occurs within the ocean day-after-day, but when we don’t shield the oceans and sharks, these moments will quickly be a factor of the previous.’ One choose stated that the picture ‘took his breath away’ when he first noticed it

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Caballero also captured this poignant picture, showing a turtle entangled in a net in the La Reina dive site in La Paz, Mexico. It was commended in the 'Marine Conservation' category. Caballero said: 'The University of Exeter estimated that 91 per cent of turtles entangled in discarded fishing gear died. Luckily our turtle was one of that small nine per cent. The number of sea turtles has decreased dramatically during the past decades. It's estimated that approximately 52 per cent of these animals have eaten plastic.' The photographer explained: 'This day we saw a net and when we were going to pick it up we realised there was a small turtle entangled. The best thing to do in this case is to call emergency services to avoid hurting the animal. But in this case, we were far from land with no signal and we thought that we must try to help there. A few friends, a knife and a long time were needed to finally release this turtle. There is always hope and even humans can help to solve the problems they created. We have just to erase the origin of these problems.' The judges described the shot as 'a very powerful image and cruel subject to photograph'

Caballero additionally captured this poignant image, displaying a turtle entangled in a internet within the La Reina dive web site in La Paz, Mexico. It was counseled within the ‘Marine Conservation’ class. Caballero stated: ‘The College of Exeter estimated that 91 per cent of turtles entangled in discarded fishing gear died. Fortunately our turtle was one in every of that small 9 per cent. The variety of sea turtles has decreased dramatically throughout the previous many years. It’s estimated that roughly 52 per cent of those animals have eaten plastic.’ The photographer defined: ‘At the present time we noticed a internet and after we have been going to select it up we realised there was a small turtle entangled. The most effective factor to do on this case is to name emergency providers to keep away from hurting the animal. However on this case, we have been removed from land with no sign and we thought that we should attempt to assist there. A number of mates, a knife and a very long time have been wanted to lastly launch this turtle. There may be all the time hope and even people may also help to unravel the issues they created. Now we have simply to erase the origin of those issues.’ The judges described the shot as ‘a really highly effective picture and merciless topic to {photograph}’

Italian photographer Daniele Comin snared this shot, which shows a green sea turtle that looks like it's showing off its muscles, bodybuilder-style. The image, which came third in the 'Portrait' category, was taken during a day trip in San Cristobal, Galapagos. Comin recalled: 'Late in the afternoon we stopped at the famous Leon Dormido Dive Site so I took my camera and I went to do some freediving. Conditions were very bad: no light and dark green water. It wasn't easy to set the camera for a good shot. The purpose of this part of the trip was to find hammerheads underwater. However, instead of hammerheads, I saw a group of green turtles. I decided to observe them a little bit. One green turtle was "meditating" so I gently approached, trying not to disturb her. I took three shots before she seemed to notice my presence and so I went away. She stayed in the same position for another 10 minutes'

Italian photographer Daniele Comin snared this shot, which exhibits a inexperienced sea turtle that appears prefer it’s displaying off its muscular tissues, bodybuilder-style. The picture, which got here third within the ‘Portrait’ class, was taken throughout a day journey in San Cristobal, Galapagos. Comin recalled: ‘Late within the afternoon we stopped on the well-known Leon Dormido Dive Web site so I took my digicam and I went to do some freediving. Circumstances have been very unhealthy: no mild and darkish inexperienced water. It wasn’t simple to set the digicam for a superb shot. The aim of this a part of the journey was to search out hammerheads underwater. Nevertheless, as a substitute of hammerheads, I noticed a gaggle of inexperienced turtles. I made a decision to watch them a bit bit. One inexperienced turtle was “meditating” so I gently approached, making an attempt to not disturb her. I took three pictures earlier than she appeared to note my presence and so I went away. She stayed in the identical place for one more 10 minutes’ 

Pekka Tuuri, who was crowned the victor in the My Backyard category, took this picture in the Finnish city of Vantaa, in a pond that's a 20-minute drive from his home. According to Tuuri, the pond is 'full of love in late April'. He explained: 'The common frogs come first, then toads and finally newts. I spent four days and four nighttime sessions in it in 2021. I wore a drysuit with argon, lots of undergarments and a heated vest to survive in the five-degree water. I floated and stayed put among the frogs and quite soon they accepted me and my camera as a part of the scenery. The frogs climb on top of my camera, make grunting sounds in my ears and squeeze between my face and the backplate of the camera. The active spawning time lasts about two days and nights. What an experience with lots of photo ops!' Remarking on the image, one judge said: 'This image truly made me laugh when I saw it the first time'

Pekka Tuuri, who was topped the victor within the My Yard class, took this image within the Finnish metropolis of Vantaa, in a pond that’s a 20-minute drive from his dwelling. Based on Tuuri, the pond is ‘full of affection in late April’. He defined: ‘The widespread frogs come first, then toads and at last newts. I spent 4 days and 4 nighttime classes in it in 2021. I wore a drysuit with argon, plenty of undergarments and a heated vest to outlive within the five-degree water. I floated and stayed put among the many frogs and fairly quickly they accepted me and my digicam as part of the surroundings. The frogs climb on prime of my digicam, make grunting sounds in my ears and squeeze between my face and the backplate of the digicam. The energetic spawning time lasts about two days and nights. What an expertise with plenty of photograph ops!’ Remarking on the picture, one choose stated: ‘This picture really made me snigger after I noticed it the primary time’

Topping the podium in the 'Compact' category was this brilliant shot of a toad by German photographer Enrico Somogyi, taken in a pond in Leipzig in the photographer's native Germany. He said: 'Once a year at the end of March it is mating time for the toads. It lasts only a few days and only at this time is it possible to get very close to them. Normally they are very shy. I was trying to get a split shot with this toad, when he started to crawl on my small dome port. I got some pictures from this action and this was my favourite'

The judges' verdict of this image? An 'excellent composed image of a truly not easy subject'. That subject is the wreck of the SS Tyrifjord, which lies in the Gulen dive resort area of Norway. The SS Tyrifjord was a cargo ship that was sunk by the British in a 1944 air raid. The picture was taken by Swedish photographer Alex Dawson, who said: 'She sits in approximately 40m (131ft) and is very sheltered from most winds. This is one of the dives we always try to do on our [annual] wreck safari. We are a mixed group of Norwegians, Swedish, Danish and Dutch that usually meet up. The highlight of the wreck is always the huge extra steering wheel in the aft'

LEFT: Topping the rostrum within the ‘Compact’ class was this good shot of a toad by German photographer Enrico Somogyi, taken in a pond in Leipzig within the photographer’s native Germany. He stated: ‘Annually on the finish of March it’s mating time for the toads. It lasts only some days and solely at the moment is it potential to get very near them. Usually they’re very shy. I used to be making an attempt to get a break up shot with this toad, when he began to crawl on my small dome port. I obtained some footage from this motion and this was my favorite.’ RIGHT:  The judges’ verdict of this picture? An ‘glorious composed picture of a very not simple topic’. That topic is the wreck of the SS Tyrifjord, which lies within the Gulen dive resort space of Norway. The SS Tyrifjord was a cargo ship that was sunk by the British in a 1944 air raid. The image was taken by Swedish photographer Alex Dawson, who stated: ‘She sits in roughly 40m (131ft) and could be very sheltered from most winds. This is without doubt one of the dives we all the time attempt to do on our [annual] wreck safari. We’re a blended group of Norwegians, Swedish, Danish and Dutch that normally meet up. The spotlight of the wreck is all the time the large additional steering wheel within the aft’

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This jaw-dropping image - the bronze medal winner in the 'Wrecks' category - shows a freediver called Coral approaching the wreck of the USS Kittiwake, a U.S Navy submarine rescue ship. She was in commission from 1946 to 1994 and now lies off the coast of the Cayman Islands. The photograph was taken by Croatian Karlo Macas

This jaw-dropping picture – the bronze medal winner within the ‘Wrecks’ class – exhibits a freediver known as Coral approaching the wreck of the USS Kittiwake, a U.S Navy submarine rescue ship. She was in fee from 1946 to 1994 and now lies off the coast of the Cayman Islands. The {photograph} was taken by Croatian Karlo Macas 

This striking picture shows a striped marlin in the middle of hunting a bait-ball in Mexico's Magdalena Bay. Snared by Croatian photographer Damir Zurub, the picture took the bronze medal in the 'Behaviour' category. 'The idea behind the photo was to try and recreate the sense of thrill when sharing the ocean with a predator who is in the middle of catching its prey,' said Zurub, adding: 'The photograph was quite difficult to catch considering the constant movement of the bait ball and the school of marlins, requiring constant adjustment mid-water. Being able to share the ocean with the marlins during this moment was breathtaking and memorable.' The judges labelled the shot a 'perfectly timed, peak-of-the-action image'

This hanging image exhibits a striped marlin in the course of looking a bait-ball in Mexico’s Magdalena Bay. Snared by Croatian photographer Damir Zurub, the image took the bronze medal within the ‘Behaviour’ class. ‘The thought behind the photograph was to attempt to recreate the sense of thrill when sharing the ocean with a predator who’s in the course of catching its prey,’ stated Zurub, including: ‘The {photograph} was fairly troublesome to catch contemplating the fixed motion of the bait ball and the college of marlins, requiring fixed adjustment mid-water. With the ability to share the ocean with the marlins throughout this second was breathtaking and memorable.’ The judges labelled the shot a ‘completely timed, peak-of-the-action picture’

This jarring image, a runner-up in the 'Marine Conservation' category, was captured at a shark fishing camp on Magdalena Island in Baja California Sur, Mexico, by French photographer Fabrice Dudenhofer. He said: 'After asking permission from the fishermen, I was able to photograph them when they returned from fishing. I wanted to make a split shot to show both the fishermen next to their pangas [a type of bladed tool] and the remains of the mako shark they had just cut up. In Mexico, shark fishing is absolutely legal but there are fewer and fewer of them to be observed in their natural environment and many species are on the verge of extinction. More than ever it is essential to protect them.' According to the judges, the image 'really reflects the spirit of the conservation topic and shows the cruelty of mankind'

This jarring picture, a runner-up within the ‘Marine Conservation’ class, was captured at a shark fishing camp on Magdalena Island in Baja California Sur, Mexico, by French photographer Fabrice Dudenhofer. He stated: ‘After asking permission from the fishermen, I used to be in a position to {photograph} them after they returned from fishing. I needed to make a break up shot to point out each the fishermen subsequent to their pangas [a type of bladed tool] and the stays of the mako shark they’d simply lower up. In Mexico, shark fishing is totally authorized however there are fewer and fewer of them to be noticed of their pure setting and plenty of species are on the verge of extinction. Greater than ever it’s important to guard them.’ Based on the judges, the picture ‘actually displays the spirit of the conservation matter and exhibits the cruelty of mankind’ 

Here, a grey seal pup 'stretches and performs an exaggerated yawn as it awakens from a snooze in the kelp' off the coast of Lundy Island, Devon. The sweet image was snared by British photographer Henley Spiers, and it came third in the 'British Waters Wide Angle' category. 'I find it hard not to smile when looking at this image and hope it has the same effect on others,' the photographer admitted. He continued: 'There is a kinship one feels when sharing the water with marine mammals and these seals are amongst the best underwater companions. With enviable aquatic grace, seal pups have an irresistible zest for life, exhibiting curiosity, playfulness and affection. Just weeks after birth, pups are abandoned to fend for themselves, but they exhibit no anxiety at the world which awaits, exploring it with insatiable energy and joyfulness. The pups actively seek out divers and snorkelers, leading to wildlife encounters in which everyone wins. Best of all, with one of the largest grey seal populations in the world, British waters are the perfect place to visit these charismatic pinnipeds.' Impressed by the shot, one judge remarked: 'This image makes me laugh every time I see it'

Right here, a gray seal pup ‘stretches and performs an exaggerated yawn because it awakens from a sleep within the kelp’ off the coast of Lundy Island, Devon. The candy picture was snared by British photographer Henley Spiers, and it got here third within the ‘British Waters Extensive Angle’ class. ‘I discover it laborious to not smile when this picture and hope it has the identical impact on others,’ the photographer admitted. He continued: ‘There’s a kinship one feels when sharing the water with marine mammals and these seals are amongst the most effective underwater companions. With enviable aquatic grace, seal pups have an irresistible zest for all times, exhibiting curiosity, playfulness and affection. Simply weeks after start, pups are deserted to fend for themselves, however they exhibit no anxiousness on the world which awaits, exploring it with insatiable vitality and joyfulness. The pups actively search out divers and snorkelers, resulting in wildlife encounters during which everybody wins. Better of all, with one of many largest gray seal populations on the planet, British waters are the right place to go to these charismatic pinnipeds.’ Impressed by the shot, one choose remarked: ‘This picture makes me snigger each time I see it’

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'Boom! Great moment of the painted seabass engulfing the green wrasse.' So said one judge of this shot, which was captured off the coast of the Spanish fishing village of La Azohia. It's a runner-up in the 'Behaviour' category. Photographer Javier Murcia said that the picture 'is the result of many years working on animal behaviour'. He explained: 'A diseased species is usually easy prey for a predator since it uses little energy. In this case, a Mediterranean predatory fish has hunted a green fish, an endemic species to the Mediterranean and abundant in the Posidonia oceanica meadows. The moment was unique, the green wrasse swam slowly and roughly, it was probably sick, and a few metres away I could see the seabass hiding among the dense Posidonia meadow to hunt it down. It was a matter of being patient and in the blink of an eye, I caught it. The painted seabass was so interested in swallowing it that I was able to get within a few inches without flinching. And so is the cycle of life'

 ‘Increase! Nice second of the painted seabass engulfing the inexperienced wrasse.’ So stated one choose of this shot, which was captured off the coast of the Spanish fishing village of La Azohia. It’s a runner-up within the ‘Behaviour’ class. Photographer Javier Murcia stated that the image ‘is the results of a few years engaged on animal behaviour’. He defined: ‘A diseased species is normally simple prey for a predator because it makes use of little vitality. On this case, a Mediterranean predatory fish has hunted a inexperienced fish, an endemic species to the Mediterranean and considerable within the Posidonia oceanica meadows. The second was distinctive, the inexperienced wrasse swam slowly and roughly, it was in all probability sick, and some metres away I may see the seabass hiding among the many dense Posidonia meadow to hunt it down. It was a matter of being affected person and within the blink of a watch, I caught it. The painted seabass was so focused on swallowing it that I used to be in a position to get inside just a few inches with out flinching. And so is the cycle of life’

The Indonesian dive resort and conservation centre of Misool was the setting for this colourful image - a runner-up in the 'Macro' category - which shows anemone fish embryos just hours before they were due to hatch. UK photographer David Alpert, who was behind the lens, said: 'Their large eyes give a sense of foreboding for what lies beyond. Around spring tide, with water volumes at their greatest, a couple of hours after dusk, for maximum protection from predators, they will be cast adrift onto the ocean currents to try to navigate their way through to adulthood. All are male. They will hope to establish themselves with an anemone to form a symbiotic relationship. Only the dominant male will breed with the single female, the largest in the group. When she dies, he will alter his sex to become the next breeding female. And so the cycle is complete - in balance - but first, they must hatch – getting close now - will it be tonight? Yes – the day after I took this picture they were gone.' The judges praised Alpert's 'very nice composition of this difficult subject'

The Indonesian dive resort and conservation centre of Misool was the setting for this vibrant picture – a runner-up within the ‘Macro’ class – which exhibits anemone fish embryos simply hours earlier than they have been as a consequence of hatch. UK photographer David Alpert, who was behind the lens, stated: ‘Their giant eyes give a way of foreboding for what lies past. Round spring tide, with water volumes at their biggest, a few hours after nightfall, for max safety from predators, they are going to be forged adrift onto the ocean currents to attempt to navigate their method via to maturity. All are male. They are going to hope to ascertain themselves with an anemone to type a symbiotic relationship. Solely the dominant male will breed with the one feminine, the most important within the group. When she dies, he’ll alter his intercourse to turn out to be the following breeding feminine. And so the cycle is full – in steadiness – however first, they have to hatch – getting shut now – will it’s tonight? Sure – the day after I took this image they have been gone.’ The judges praised Alpert’s ‘very good composition of this troublesome topic’ 

Thien Nguyen Ngoc was declared the 'Save Our Seas Foundation' Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2022 thanks to this breathtaking picture, which shows an aerial perspective of 'busy anchovy fishing activities' off the coast of Vietnam's Phu Yen province. The image also reigned supreme in the 'Marine Conservation' category. Ngoc explained that many local fisherman families along the Phu Yen coastline follow the near-shore currents to catch the anchovy during peak season. He said: 'Salted anchovy is the most important raw material to create traditional Vietnamese fish sauce, but anchovies are a little fish with a big impact. When they are overfished, the whales, tunas, sea birds... - and other marine predators that rely on them as a dietary staple - face starvation and the population declines critically. And Vietnam is facing this anchovy overfishing situation. According to the survey results of the Institute of Seafood Research, the reserves and catches of anchovies in the waters of Vietnam have decreased by 20 to 30 per cent in the past 10 years'

Thien Nguyen Ngoc was declared the ‘Save Our Seas Basis’ Marine Conservation Photographer of the Yr 2022 because of this breathtaking image, which exhibits an aerial perspective of ‘busy anchovy fishing actions’ off the coast of Vietnam’s Phu Yen province. The picture additionally reigned supreme within the ‘Marine Conservation’ class. Ngoc defined that many native fisherman households alongside the Phu Yen shoreline comply with the near-shore currents to catch the anchovy throughout peak season. He stated: ‘Salted anchovy is crucial uncooked materials to create conventional Vietnamese fish sauce, however anchovies are a bit fish with a big effect. When they’re overfished, the whales, tunas, sea birds… – and different marine predators that depend on them as a dietary staple – face hunger and the inhabitants declines critically. And Vietnam is going through this anchovy overfishing scenario. Based on the survey outcomes of the Institute of Seafood Analysis, the reserves and catches of anchovies within the waters of Vietnam have decreased by 20 to 30 per cent prior to now 10 years’