Winner & British Underwater Photographer of the Year : MATT DOGGETT (UK)

Gannets’ Feast (Shetland Islands, UK)

Photographer’s comments: ”With my good friend Richard Shucksmith, I hatched the plan of trying to photograph gannets diving under water. It was early in the season and their main food source, mackerel, was close inshore.
“To attract them close enough to my lens, we threw in some dead mackerel from a local supplier, commonly done on birding trips to get diving photos above the surface.
“The gannets went crazy and we were surrounded in minutes. They hit the water at 50-60mph so I had to be fast. I was shooting from the hip and rarely looked through the viewfinder. Sometimes the gannets were right on the front of the lens! It was amazing. You could hear them hitting the surface one after another.
”This shot shows three birds just as the race to reach the fish was over. The lucky bird with the fish would have swallowed it while still under water to avoid being harassed by hungry skuas waiting at the surface.”

Technical: Canon EOS 5D MkII, 17-40mm. Ikelite housing, Inon Z240 strobes. 1/250th @ f/8, ISO 200.

Judge’s comments (Peter Rowlands): ”There are some images that are, quite literally, breath-taking, and this is up there with the best. Timed to perfection and precisely focused, it captures the peak of the action, which must have been extremely frantic. I think I’d have worn a crash helmet with such fast-moving and sharp beaks plunging down so fast! Stunning.”

Runner-Up: TREVOR REES (UK)

Pike, The Lurking Predator (Stoney Cove, Leics)

Photographer’s comments:
”I tend to dive a fair bit in UK quarries in the winter, and never tire of trying to get a better shot of pike. They are impressively large fish and I think of them as a mean and moody freshwater barracuda.
“Pike are not difficult to find but the patience to approach them only very slowly is a real challenge. A fisheye lens coupled with a teleconverter (to avoid excessive barrel distortion with bent light rays) has given me the natural perspective I wanted.”

Technical: Nikon D600, 15mm and 1.5x teleconverter. Sea & Sea housing, Sea & Sea YS110 strobes. 1/50th @ f/10, ISO 1000.

Judge’s comments (Martin Edge): ”You see many freshwater-fish images, but this pike study is a cut above the rest. Subtle use of flash technique on the pike with strong eye contact, not to mention the clever balance of the composition and in particular the reeds in the background.
“All we need now is exceptional light and it’s as though someone has just pulled a switch! There it is! Outstanding use of shallow-water light, which dapples the top of the pike.”

Third: STEVE JONES (UK)

Tunnel Vision (NDAC, Chepstow)

Photographer’s comments:
”This image was taken during pre-launch trials of the Orcalight, the most powerful battery-powered LED dive-lamp in the world. The diver pictured is BBC NHU cameraman Doug Anderson.
“We positioned one lamp to the right to light Doug and the forward area of the inside hull, while Doug held the second light, pointing behind him to light the rear of the hull. The use of rebreathers helped greatly, avoiding any annoying bubbles disturbing the silt on the ceiling.”

Technical: Nikon D4, 16mm. Seacam housing, Orcalight SeaWolf 2260 lamps. 1/60th @ f/8, ISO 3200.

Judge’s comments (Alex Mustard): ”It is great to see such a variety of underwater photography styles, subjects and techniques in the competition. This photo uses off-camera lighting to create depth in the image, a feature enhanced by the composition, with the lines of the fuselage drawing your eye through the image to the diver.”


Highly Commended: Charles Hood (UK), Richard Shucksmith (UK), Adam Hanlon (UK), Trevor Rees (UK)
Commended: Charles Hood (UK), Paul Colley (UK), Richard Shucksmith (UK)

INTRODUCTION
CATEGORY 1: INTERNATIONAL WIDE ANGLE
CATEGORY 2: INTERNATIONAL MACRO
CATEGORY 3: INTERNATIONAL WRECKS
CATEGORY 4: INTERNATIONAL BEHAVIOUR
CATEGORY 5: UP AND COMING WORLDWIDE
CATEGORY 6: BRITISH WATERS WIDE ANGLE
CATEGORY 7: BRITISH WATERS MACRO
CATEGORY 8: BRITISH WATERS COMPACT