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Underwater Photographer of the year 2019 winners!

Underwater Photographer of the Year is an annual competition, based in the UK, that seeks to celebrate photography beneath the surface of the ocean, lakes and even swimming pools.

British photographer Phil Smith was the first underwater Photographer of the Year, named in 1965.

Today’s competition has 13 categories, one more than in 2018.

Every year photographers around the world are tested with themes such as Macro, Wide Angle, Behaviour and Wreck photography, as well as four categories for photos taken specifically in British waters.

This year’s judges were experienced underwater photographers Peter Rowlands, Martin Edge, and Alex Mustard.

Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019

2019 saw Richard Barnden from the UK named Underwater Photographer of the Year as well as British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019 with his captivating image titled “The Gauntlet”.

In conjunction with Underwater Photography Magazine, the UPY team have once again produced this stunning Yearbook which brings together the top images from the 2019 competition.

Underwater Photographer & British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019

Title: The Gauntlet
Photographer: Richard Barnden (United Kingdom)
Category: Behaviour
Location: Fakarava South Pass, French Polynesia
Camera/Lens: Nikon D810 / 15mm Sigma

The Gauntlet | © Richard Barnden / UPY2019
The Gauntlet | © Richard Barnden / UPY2019

The title of Underwater Photographer & British Underwater Photographer of the Year goes to Richard Barnden.

The story behind the image

A thrilling photograph showing the exact moment a pack of grey reef sharks catch and devour parrotfishes.

Barnden’s photograph triumphed over 5000 underwater pictures entered by underwater photographers from 65 countries around the world.

“The Gauntlet” was taken underwater, late at night on the reefs of French Polynesia in the center of the Pacific Ocean.

As I descended, hundreds of sharks covered the bottom. This unlucky parrotfish flinched, and that tiny movement alerted the swarm of sharks. The mayhem hurtled straight towards me and I instinctively pressed the shutter, moments later all that remained was a rain of parrotfish scales in the darkness, and this photo on my camera.

Barnden, 40, is originally from Brighton, England, but now lives on the small island of Palau, in Micronesia.

Chair of the judges, Dr. Alexander Mustard MBE, commented:

Photography is about preserving moments and what an unforgettable instant this is. Using a wide-angle lens, the photographer takes us into the full drama of the hunt, as a melee of grey reef sharks rises like a breaking wave to tear apart their prey, truly revealing the ocean’s wilder side.


Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year

Title: Paradise
Photographer: Taeyup Kim (Republic of Korea)
Category: Up & Coming
Location: South Fakarava, French Polynesia
Camera / Lens: NikonD850 / Nikon AF-S FISHEYE NIKKON 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E

Paradise | © Taeyup Kim/UPY 2019
Paradise | © Taeyup Kim/UPY 2019

The Underwater Photographer of the Year competition also aims to promote new photographic talent. This year’s award Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year goes to Taeyup Kim.

The story behind the image

Korean Taeyup Kim was named Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019 for a technically challenging image half in and half out of the water.

“Paradise” shows healthy corals growing in front of a resort in French Polynesia.

This photo was physically tough to shoot, holding the heavy camera exactly in this position while floating in the water.

Competition judge Martin Edge commented:

A perfect under and over split. One of the best examples I have seen of this type of image for some time.


Highly Commended & Most Promising British Underwater Photographer

Title: Marine Compass
Photographer: Malcolm Nimmo (United Kingdom)
Category: British Waters Wide Angle
Location: Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
Camera/Lens: NikonD7200 / Nikon 10.5mm fisheye

Marine Compass | © Malcolm Nimmo/UPY 2019
Marine Compass | © Malcolm Nimmo/UPY 2019

The title of Most Promising British Underwater Photographer 2019 goes to Malcolm Nimmo from Plymouth in England.

The story behind the image

Malcolm’s image “Marine Compass” was taken while snorkelling in the Scilly Islands, in the UK.

Maintaining both the surface features and subject illumination requires high strobe power settings and hence careful strobe positioning. Hopefully this image highlights the beautiful marine environments we are lucky to have around the UK

Competition judge, Peter Rowlands commented:

Composition, colour vibrancy and contrast combined with an unusual angle kept it rising in the rankings with each viewing.


Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year

Title: Caretta caretta turtle
Photographer: Eduardo Acevedo (Spain)
Category: Marine Conservation
Location: Los Gigantes, Tenerife, Canary Island, Spain
Camera/Lens: Canon5D MKII / 15mm

Caretta caretta turtle | © Acevedo/UPY 2019
Caretta caretta turtle | © Acevedo/UPY 2019

The title of Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2019 goes to Eduardo Acevedo from Tenerife.

The story behind the image

Spanish photographer, Eduardo Acevedo from Tenerife, was named Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2019 for his photo showing a loggerhead turtle entangled in a discarded plastic fishing net.

The turtles come to the Canary Islands by crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean and have to avoid many manmade dangers, like plastics, ropes and fishing nets. This individual was one of the lucky ones because we were able to free it and recover the net.

Judge Mustard adding:

Plastic pollution and ghost fishing are ever increasing serious issues threatening the ocean, this sad image highlights both issues


All category winners

In the gallery below are all the winners by category.

High-Resolution images with captions were kindly provided by Under Water Photographer of the Year

Header image credits: Richard Barnden / UPY2019

Colin

Colin

Colin is Padi certified Divemaster, loves diving with the larger marine species around the world, and writing code.

 

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