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'Dancing' Octopus Photo Wins Underwater Photographer Of The Year 2017 Competition

A vibrant and colourful photograph of an Octopus has won this year's Underwater Photographer of the Year competition.

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© Gabriel Barathieu / UPY2017 


French diver, Gabriel Barathieu has been named 'Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017' with his colourful capture of an octopus hunting its prey. 

Barathieu’s 'Dancing Octopus' photo was taken in the lagoon of the tiny island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean and a lot of patience was needed, as Barathieu explained: “I had to wait for a low spring tide when the water was just 30cm deep (1 foot) so that the octopus would fill the water column. I got as close as possible with a wide angle lens to create this image, which makes the octopus look huge.”

Commenting on the winning image, competition judge, Alex Mustard said: "“Both balletic and malevolent, this image shows an octopus that really means business as it hunts. The way it moves is so different from any predator on land, this truly could be an alien from another world. It was taken in knee deep water, showing that underwater photography is open to anyone who is prepared to dip their toe in the water.”


Freshwater sinkhole in Mexico

© Nick Blake / UPY2017 


The title of 'British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017' went to Nick Blake, who lives in Dublin, Ireland, for his photo 'Out Of The Blue' taken in a freshwater sinkhole in Mexico, known as Chac Mool Cenote. Commenting on his image, Blake said: "Underwater photographers can move freely in three dimensions, so I adjusted my position in the water to capture the symmetrical framing of the light beams by the rocks."

Competition judge Martin Edge added: “I love the enclosure of the light within the Cenote, the composition contains all the sunlight so that the eye of the viewer cannot escape.”

The Underwater Photographer of the Year competition also aims to promote new photographic talent and Argentinian Horacio Martinez was named as 'Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017' for his image 'Oceanic In The Sky' photographed in Egypt.


Oceanic whitetip shark patrolling in the distance

© Horacio Martinez / UPY2017 


"I noticed this oceanic whitetip shark patrolling in the distance and exposed for the sun beams, and was pleased by the dreamlike effect. Oceanics are great subjects for close ups as they are anything but shy. Yet, I wanted to capture their apparent loneliness in the big blue," said Martinez. 

Adding his thoughts on the winning image, Chair of the judges, Peter Rowlands said: “The photographer has seen the light and realised its dramatic effect extremely well and used it to contrast the small shark in a lonely world. Very evocative indeed.”

The title of 'Most Promising British Underwater Photographer, 2017' went to Nicholai Georgiou for his image 'Orca Pod' taken in the depths of winter in northern Norway and Melvin Redeker from the Netherlands won the 'British Waters wide angle' category with the first photo of orca (killer whales) taken in Shetland in the UK.


Orca Pod

© Nicholai Georgiou  / UPY2017 


The Underwater Photographer of the Year is an annual competition that celebrates photography beneath the surface of the sea, lakes, rivers and even swimming pools. Today’s competition has 10 categories, testing photographers with themes such as Macro, Wide Angle, Behaviour and Wreck photography, as well as three categories for photos taken specifically in British waters. This year’s judges were experienced underwater photographers Peter Rowlands, Martin Edge and Alex Mustard.

For more information, and to see all of the winning photos, visit the Underwater Photographer of the Year website. Last year, a lovely capture of a spiny seahorse took the top spot in the competition, captured by Italian Davide Lopresti. 



© Melvin Redeker / UPY2017 


Seal© Ellen Cuylaerts  / UPY2017 



© Yannick Gouguenheim / UPY2017 


blue sea pen

© Jenny Stromvoll / UPY 2017


Clown anemonefish

©  Qing Lin / UPY 2017

Sealion playing with starfish

©  Francis Pérez/UPY 2017

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