The beauty and terror of marine life: Stunning underwater shots showcase the strange world beneath the waves


Grinning: Bruce the smiling great white by Sam Cahir (runner up sharks)

These stunning pictures are some of the winners in one of the world’s biggest underwater photo competitions.
From grinning great whites to colourful nudibranchs and underwater strip poker players it runs the whole spectrum of water related photography.
And with 12,000 entries from 123 different countries submitted to the website, some of the top prizes have gone to British snappers. The competition covers 16 categories from wrecks to sharks to close-up and freshwater shots.
Nick Blake won a gold medal in the freshwater category for a London cab underwater at Wraysbury Lake near Heathrow Airport.
He also got a runner up prize in the topside (above water but marine related) category for his roly-poly grey seal balancing precariously on a rock on St Tudwal’s Islands north Wales.

Briton Nick Blake won gold in the freshwater category with this snap of a black cab

Fellow countryman Paul Colley also won gold in the wrecks (wide angle) category for his full-length picture of the newly-sunk USS Kittiwake in the Cayman Islands.
Other winners include a savage looking fang tooth moray eel, a humpback whale off Hawaii, a duckling in the water photographed from underneath and a weird looking siphonophore shot in the cold waters off Norway.

Resident napoleon by Tobias Reitmayr (runner up wide angle close focus), Fangtooth moray eel by Jorge Sorial (runner up macro close-up)

Kiss me by Doris Vierkoetter (runner up macro super macro)

Humpback whale by Steven Anderson (gold wide angle marine life)

Trumpetfish by Brad Ryon (bronze wide angle), Siphonophore by Jorn Ari (runner up temperate water)

Dirty dancing by Marcello di Francesco (silver macro swimming)

Website spokesman Benny Sutton said: 'This shows the true diversity of aquatic environments from all over the globe.
'The photo contest is the longest running and most prestigious online, or off.
'If you want to make a name for yourself it is the place to do it.
'One of our medals is the reward for all the hard work underwater photographers put in chasing those great shots in far-flung destinations.
'It’s the industry’s most coveted prize because it says you succeeded in the most competitive environment there is, against the top talent of the moment.'

Sand trap by Tony Cherbas (gold macro close-up), Call of the Wild by Suzan Meldonian (silver macro not swimming)

Duck by Levent Albas (silver medal over/under)

Boat and mountain by Jagwang Koo (runner up over / under)

Seal on rock by Nick Blake (runner up topside)

USS Kittiwake by Paul Colley (winner wide angle wrecks)

source: dailymail