OCEAN ART reckons it may offer the biggest “prize purse” of any single underwater photo competition, with more than $70,000-worth of prizes awarded to 75 photographers competing in 15 categories, the outright winners of which are all shown here.
Thousands of entries were viewed by the judging panel of eminent photographers – Britain’s Martin Edge, Marty Snyderman, Tony Wu and Underwater Photography Guide’s Scott Gietler – before the final set were proclaimed “some of the best underwater photos in the world”.
Best of Show was a photo of a larval-stage eel photographed at night off the Hawaiian coast. “I was on a blackwater dive with a member of the Roddenberry family (of Star Trek fame) watching a parade of underwater aliens drift past when this larval cusk eel swam by,” said photographer Jeff Milisen.
“The external stomach helps the developing fish grow as fast as possible by eking every last bit of nutrition from its every meal.
“Of the four divers under water, we had more than 1000 blackwater dives under our belt and none of us had ever seen anything like it, whether on Earth or boldly going elsewhere!”
The Underwater Photography Guide is based in California. Find more about the back-stories to these and other pictures, the prizes and how to enter the 2016 competition at www.uwphotographyguide.com

1: MACRO & BEST OF SHOW
Jeff Milisen, Feeling Exposed (Cusk eel, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii). Canon T1i, Canon 60mm lens, Ikelite housing, dual Ikelite DS-51 substrobes, f13, 1/125, ISO 200.

2: WIDE-ANGLE
Francesco Visintin, The Satellite (Rhizostoma pulmo jellyfish, Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany, Italy). Nikon D7000, Tokina 10-17 lens @10mm (1/320s f 18 100 ISO) Isotta housing, two Ikelite SS200 strobes.

3: COLD WATER
Lill Haugen, Anemone Light (Bolocera tuediae anemone & Spirontocarus liljeborgi red shrimps, Oslo Fjord, Norway). Nikon D300, Nikon fisheye 10.5mm lens, Ikelite DS160 strobe, Triggerfish remote slave sensor connected to Inon Z240 strobe.

4: NOVICE DSLR
Irene Middleton, Panic Puffer School (Arothron firmamentum starry toado pufferfish, Maroro Bay, Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve, Northland New Zealand). Nikon D300, Sealux housing, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, Ikelite D125 strobe & DS50 on slave.

5: PORTRAIT
Greg LeCoeur, Pilot Whales (Nice, France). Nikon D7000, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye.

6: MARINE LIFE BEHAVIOUR
Steven Kovacs, Egg Release (Striated frogfish, Blue Heron Bridge, Lake Worth Lagoon, Riviera Beach, Florida, USA). Nikon D7000, Nikon 105mm lens, Ikelite housing, two Ikelite DS160 strobes, 1/250 sec at f/18.

7: COMPACT MACRO
Alessandro Raho, The Fluorescent Cerianthus (Noli, Italy). Canon G16, Isotta housing, two YS-D1 strobes. Yellow filter on, taken during daytime.

8: COMPACT MARINE-LIFE BEHAVIOUR
Jack Berthomier, Fast Strike of a Tylosorus crocodilus on a Juvenile Kyphosus vaigiensis (Ouemo Bay, Noumea, New Caledonia). Sony RX100, Nauticam housing, internal flash. f 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 200.

9: COMPACT WIDE-ANGLE
Brian Christiansen, Cetaceclipse (Dolphin, Deshaies, Guadeloupe). Olympus TG-3.

10: SUPERMACRO
So Yat Wai, Skeleton Shrimp (Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia). Canon 5D MkIII, Sea & Sea housing, Canon 100mm macro lens, SMC, dual Inon z240 strobes, Light & Motion Photo 800 focus light.

11: NUDIBRANCHS
Roland Bach, Sunny Day (Felimare picta, Punta den Siulet, Menorca). Nikon D300, 10.5mm fisheye 1.4x TC, Sealux housing, Nikon SB900 strobe.

12: POOL-CONCEPTUAL
Francesco Pacienza, The Painter of the Sea (Santa Maria al Bagno, Salento, Apulia, Italy). Nikon D7100, Tokina 10-17 fisheye lens, Easydive LEO3 housing, two Sea & Sea D1 strobes, Nikonos SB105 with Bank diffuser.

13: MIRRORLESS BEHAVIOUR
Walter Bassi, Dad and Her Eggs (Seahorse, Capo Noli, Liguria Sea, Italy). Olympus EP1 mirrorless, Olympus EPT 01-60 housing, Olympus macro lens, two Sea & Sea YS-110 Alpha strobes.

14: MIRRORLESS MACRO
Simon Chiu, Shyness (Filefish, Mactan, Cebu, Philippines). Panasonic GF1, Panasonic 45mm lens, two Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes, FIT(10), FIT(5).

15: MIRRORLESS WIDE-ANGLE
Matthew Sullivan, Wood Turtle (Bridge Waterfall, Pennsylvania, USA) Sony A6000, Nauticam housing, Zeiss 12mm lens, dual Sea & Sea YS-01 strobes.