From the gaping jaws of a giant shark to the intricate dance of mating seahorses - the Best Underwater Photographer of the Year Competition reveals its winner


Jaws: Sam Cahir won first prize in the wide angle category with this spectacular image of the moment a mako shark opens its jaws and swims towards his camera off the coast of Australia

Thousands of amateur and professional photographers slipped into their wetsuits and came face-to-face with extreme danger in the pursuit of the best underwater photograph of the year.
From an open-mouthed shark to the wreckage of a ship, the spectacular photographs taken from the depths of the sea baffle the imagination and show nature at its most spectacular.

Golden seabed: Thousands of entries mean the competition boasts a spectacular range of photographs. Here, a cloud of tadpoles float in the golden Campbell River in British Columbia, Canada

Hamid Rad won best in show with his portrait of a fish-eye view of the world. The picture, taken in New Guinea, won the reefscapes category and was selected as the best overall shot in this year's competition.
Thousands of photographers from 15 countries entered into the seven categories- compact cameras, divers, animal portraits, animal behaviour, reefscapes, surfs and sharks.

Graceful: This group of mantra rays were captured in a peaceful moment by an amateur photographer. Some of the winning entries include human subjects, such as the diver who is following in their path

15 per cent of proceeds from the entries are donated to marine conservation projects. More than £50,000 worth of prizes have been awarded to group finalists and winners.
The competition, in its seventh year, is part of a series of underwater imaging events and has become one of the biggest and most prestigious in the world.

Whirlpool: A diver on the seabed in Cabo, New Mexico, works next to a huge shoal of fish who swirl around each other

Swimming with sharks: You could be forgiven for thinking this image was photoshopped. A model darts through the water with a white shark n the Philippines

Close up: From the bulbous eyes of this tiny goby fish to its fluorescent lips, this image shows the benefits of compact photography

Watery depths: A large fish is encircled by a shoal of thousands off the coast of Eden Rock in Grand Cayman

Aquatic dancing: Two seahorses embrace in a mating ritual in Singer Island, Florida. This photograph won bronze in the animal behaviour category

source: more photos at dailymail
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