JIM CATLIN (CAYMAN ISLANDS), ISLA MUJERES, YUCATAN, MEXICO
“The white dots and dark skin of a whale shark immediately lend themselves to a black & white image. Shooting this whale shark from above enabled me to capture the animal as a whole. For the shot to work, the shark needed to be beneath me and parallel to the surface and my camera; fortunately it came together.”
Taken with an Olympus OMD-EM5II with Olympus 7-14mm lens at 7mm, ISO 320, 1/100sec @ f/6.3, Nauticam NA-EM5II housing

JOHAN SUNDELIN (SWEDEN), SANTA FE ISLAND, GALAPAGOS, ECUADOR
CATEGORY WINNER

“While snorkelling with a colony of sea-lions, I quickly noticed two particular photography challenges. The first was how to avoid the attention of the large, aggressive and protective alpha male. The second was the enormous speed of the animals in the water. Lying very still in the water and using high ISO solved the issues. That allowed me to freeze this moment of tenderness using only natural light.”
Taken with a Nikon D600 with Nikkor 16-35mm lens at 16mm, ISO 1600, 1/180sec @ f/13, Sea&Sea housing.

ISABELLA MAFFEI (ITALY), PESCADOR ISLAND, MOALBOAL, CEBU, PHILIPPINES
“It was an early-morning dive, and what looked like a big black animal was moving under the boat. Under water among the sardines, it was like being in a typhoon of swirling motion. The problem was how to make the right exposure; the fish move so fast, and sunlight was constantly flicking in and out of the scene. The movements of the school were quite predictable, as there were no predators around, so I decided to stay and wait for the right scene and the right exposure to come together.
I decided to use a slow shutter-speed to emphasise the movement of the school; standing on the seabed to stabilise my body was crucial in allowing me to focus on the right point.”
Taken with a Nikon D5000 with Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 lens at 10mm, ISO 200, 1/30sec @ f/13, Ikelite housing, two Ikelite DS-51 strobes

PASQUALE VASSALLO (ITALY), CAPO MISENO, NAPLES, ITALY
“This winter, the coast off the Gulf of Naples had a strong presence of Rhizostoma pulmo jellyfish. With a bit of luck and a good eye, it is possible to see a small guest, a Liocarcinus vernalis crab, on some of the jellyfish. They get carried away by the jellyfish to new destinations. After many days of diving I managed to find a crab in a comfortable-enough position to be able to take a photograph.”
Taken with a Canon EOS 5DS R with 8-15mm lens at 14mm, ISO 200, 1/60sec @ f/11, Seacam housing with fisheye macro port, two Inon Z-240 strobes

BRETT LOBWEIN (AUSTRALIA), JARDINES DE LA REINA MARINE PARK, CUBA
“Swimming with American crocodiles is definitely something that gets your heart racing. After spending a few hours in the water I became much more comfortable in their presence, allowing me to focus in on the shot. I really wanted an image that showed the crocodile’s eyes and teeth; the waterline in this image perfectly frames them, and hopefully changes people’s perspective on these beautiful animals.”
Taken with a Nikon D7200 with Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens at 10mm, ISO 100, 1/160sec @ f/9, Seacam housing, Seacam 9in dome, two Ikelite DS161 strobes

PIER A MANE (SOUTH AFRICA / ITALY), PROTEA BANKS, SOUTH AFRICA
“While open-water diving at Protea Banks searching for hammerhead schools, my eyes fell upon a sizeable and animated figure. Unable to identify it from afar, I slowly approached it and saw that it was the largest crown jellyfish I have ever seen. With no background objects or diver present to provide perspective, and wishing to exalt this jellyfish in all its stunning colours, majestic size, and dancing elegance, I opted for a cropped head-shot to magnify its presence.”
Taken with an Olympus E-M1 with lens at 9mm, ISO 400, 1/250sec @ f/16

MASSIMO GIORGETTA (ITALY), LEMBEH STRAIT, SULAWESI, INDONESIA
“This image was captured on a mixed backdrop of black sand and coral reefs at a depth of about 8m. During the dive I met this beautiful pygmy seahorse, which was only about 2cm long, on a red coral.”
Taken with a Nikon D800E with Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 100, 1/160sec @ f/36, Seacam housing, SubSee +10 diopter, two Subtronic Pro 160 strobes

Entry for Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2017 opens in the autumn, but divers interested can register at opoty.co.uk for advance notice of the date. Underwater photographers are welcome to enter their images in the Under Exposed category but may also consider entering the Wildlife Insight category.
The fee for entering each of the adult categories is £8 for up to eight images.