Winner: RAFFAELE LIVORNESE (Italy)

From Below (North Ari Atoll, Maldives)

Photographer’s comments:
”I took this photo below the dive-boat during a safari in the Maldives last October. The only light source was from a spotlight on the liveaboard.
“In the water, I waited 40 minutes to get this shot. The manta made many pirouettes as it fed on the plankton attracted to the light. It was always too far from the surface and I was using a snorkel, but once I saw the photo on my camera I was very happy.”

Technical: Nikon D90, 10-17mm. Ikelite housing, Inon Z240 strobes. 1/250th @ f/8, ISO 200.

Judge’s comments (Alex Mustard): ”Mantas are among the most beautiful creatures in the ocean, and such graphically powerful images are a rare treat in wide-angle photography.
“The single light source from above the surface reveals the 3D form of the ray – I especially like how the light and dark define the gill-slits. The shot is precisely timed, capturing perfect symmetry in the subject. It works so well in monochrome and in every way.”

Runner-Up: HANI BADER (Bahrain)

Socotra Cormorant (West Coast, Bahrain)

Photographer’s comments:
”I was diving to shoot a jellyfish, as they arrive in huge quantities between May and July. I find them inspiring subjects, especially seeing so many swimming rhythmically on all sides. This picture came together when
I saw some Socotra cormorants diving to eat the small fish hiding beneath the jellyfish. It was difficult to shoot, as the birds move so fast.”

Technical: Nikon D7000, 10.5mm, Sea & Sea housing, Sea & Sea YS250 strobes. 1/60th @f/11. ISO 100.

Judge’s comments (Martin Edge): ”Engaging behaviour with competent use of all the elements. Notice how the subject is surrounded by the jellyfish and within Snell’s window, but the entire form including feet and wings is visible.
“Nothing blocks the eye of the viewer but in all four corners there’s plenty going on! Skilled technical control of the highlights through ‘Snell’, combined with a balanced control of the jellyfish in all four corners – again, stellar peak of the action.”

Third: MORTEN BJØRN LARSEN (Denmark)

Bottoms Up! (Aarhus Swim Stadium, Denmark)

Photographer’s comments:
”I was official underwater photographer at the 2009 Freediving World Championships in Denmark. On the final day after the last competition, I invited all the 175 athletes outside in the deep pool to try to create some photos.
“My idea was to get them all to dive down directly towards me, but after a few attempts I looked up and saw this funny and unusual gathering at the surface.”

Technical: Nikon D200, 10-17mm, Sea & Sea housing, Sea & Sea YS110 strobes. 1/250th @f/6.3. ISO 100.

Judge’s comments (Peter Rowlands): ”In every photography competition there is usually one unique image that stands out from the crowd, and this is it.
“In truth, the initially positive effect of such an eye-catching image can often fade when viewed more. This shot, however, keeps growing.”

Highly Commended: Julian Cohen (Singapore), Matthew Smith (Australia), Joao Paulo Krajewski (Brazil), Allison Vitsky Sallmon (USA)
Commended: Gregory Sherman (USA), Fabrice Guerin (France), Elaine White (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