From whale graves to dancing sharks: the stunning Underwater Photography of 2024

From the chilling shot that won first prize, entitled "Whale Bones", to the other winning photographs in the various categories. One more beautiful (and touching) than the other!

The “Underwater Photographer of the Year” competition annually celebrates the enchanting beauty hidden beneath the waves. The 2024 edition has unveiled winners that leave viewers in awe, highlighting the extraordinary talents of photographers who capture the underwater world’s marvels. Leading the pack is Sweden’s Alex Dawson, whose “Whale Bones” clinched the top prize, setting the tone for a showcase of mesmerizing aquatic life and surreal underwater scenes.

Whale bones

Off the coast of Greenland, Dawson’s camera caught a chilling underwater graveyard where the massive bones of a Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) lay on the seabed. These skeletal remnants, left by local fishermen, present a haunting yet fascinating glimpse into the cycle of life and death in the ocean depths.

Whale Bones by Alex Dawson

@Underwater Photographer 2024

Window of opportunity

Emerging talent Lisa Stengel earned the title of “Emerging Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024” with her snapshot of a mahi-mahi in pursuit of a sardine—a moment of survival and predation in the open water.

Window of Opportunity' by Lisa Stengel

@Underwater Photographer 2024

Star attraction

Jenny Stock‘s dive near Oban, Scotland, revealed a carpet of vibrant starfish and a purple sea urchin, capturing the subtle yet stunning beauty of marine biodiversity.

'Star Attraction' by Jenny Stock

@Underwater Photographer 2024

Midnight raver

Sandra Stalker turned an ordinary sea crab into an extraordinary subject in “Midnight raver,” proving that the ocean’s wonder isn’t limited to its most gigantic inhabitants.

'Midnight raver' by Sandra Stalker

@Underwater Photographer 2024

Twilight smile

In the waters off Grand Bahama, Rodolphe Guignard found himself surrounded by lemon sharks, capturing their encircling dance with a serene yet thrilling “Twilight smile.”

'Twilight smile' by Rodolphe Guignard

@Underwater Photographer 2024

Saving goliath

Nuno Sá‘s poignant “Saving Goliath” depicts the desperate efforts to rescue a stranded sperm whale, highlighting the tragic encounters between marine life and human activity.

'Saving Goliath' by Nuno Sá

@Underwater Photographer 2024

An abstract portrait of a potbelly seahorse

Talia Greis won the “Macro” category with a captivating close-up of a potbelly seahorse, showcasing the intricate details of marine life near Sydney’s Bare Island.

'An abstract portrait of a Potbelly Seahorse' by Talia Greis

@Underwater Photographer 2024

Chieftain tanks

Martin Broen‘s dive into Jordan’s waters revealed a haunting underwater military museum, with “Chieftain Tanks” taking the prize for the “Wrecks” category.

'Chieftain Tanks'  byMartin Broen

@Underwater Photographer 2024

The end of the baitball

Rafael Fernandez Caballero‘s “The End Of The Baitball,” capturing a Bryde’s whale’s feast on sardines in Magdalena Bay, won in the “Behavior” category, showcasing the dramatic moments of aquatic life.

'The End Of The Baitball' by Rafael Fernandez Caballero

@Underwater Photographer 2024

These highlighted entries are just a glimpse into the breathtaking imagery celebrated in this year’s competition. For those captivated by the beauty and mystery of the underwater realm, the official website offers a full gallery of the winning shots across various categories. Which image strikes you the most?

Source: Underwater Photographer of the Year winner’s collection 2024

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