Underwater Photographer of the Year has just announced its winners for 2022. And like every year, quite a lot of stunning scenes have been captured in splendid underwater photographs.
“One photo to rule them all” was taken by Spanish photographer Rafael Fernandez Caballero. He was named this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year, and his incredible image shows five whale sharks feeding together at night in the waters of the Maldives.
Fernandez’s photo was the winner among 4,200 underwater pictures submitted to this year’s contest from underwater photographers from 71 countries. The photo was titled “Giants Of The Night” and it captures a unique ocean event, taken in challenging conditions.
“It was already incredible when one whale shark came to our boat,” Fernandez said about his image. “But more and more kept arriving. I was diving with Gador Muntaner, a shark researcher, who couldn’t believe it as their numbers grew. He counted 11 sharks that night – a once in a lifetime encounter that nobody thought was possible.”
With the help of light from the boat, Fernandez turned this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity into a stunning photo that eventually earned him the win in the contest. And other than being an overall winner, Fernandez also won the Wide-Angle category with his image.
Speaking of categories, Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 recognizes winners in 14 of them:
- Wide Angle
- Black & White
- Up & Coming
- British Waters Wide Angle
- British Waters Macro
- British Waters Compact
- British Waters Living Together
- My Backyard
- “Save Our Seas Foundation” Marine Conservation
“Save Our Seas Foundation” Marine Conservation is a special category, and this year’s winner is Thien Nguyen Ngoc from Vietnam. His aerial photo titled “Big Appetite” shows boats straining the waters for anchovies in the Phu Yen province of Vietnam.
Since the contest is based in the UK, it has special categories for British photographers. This year’s British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 is Matty Smith, an Englishman now living in Australia. His image “Great White Split” shows a portrait of a great white shark, and it was taken in the Neptune Islands, South Australia. This stunning photo also brought him the second place in the Portrait category.
To make this photo, Smith built a special supersize dome port for his camera, as well as a carbon pole and remote trigger to allow him to get this revealing perspective. “I had wanted to shoot a charismatic over/under portrait for years,” explained Smith. “Some techniques I had previously tried failed terribly, so this time I designed and constructed my own equipment to get the camera exactly where I wanted. Surprisingly, the sharks were instantly attracted to the camera, in fact it was a battle to stop them biting it!”
I’m going to leave you now with the rest of the category winners and runner-ups, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy these amazing images as much as I did. For more photos and information, make sure to visit the Underwater Photographer of the Year’s website.