Stunning Underwater Photography Contest Winners (Photos)

Shocked Shark

underwater photographer 2016, underwater photography contest

(Image credit: Will Clark/UPY 2016)

Teasing a toothy shark isn't usually advised but it gave a phenomenal result in this instance. After a long hour of chumming the waters of Penzance, Cornwall, this young Blue shark made a showing and, when his snack was jerked from his mouth, he was clearly surprised, as seen in this image captured by photographer Will Clark.

Planktonic Predator

underwater photographer 2016, underwater photography contest

(Image credit: George Stoyle/UPY 2016)

At the end of a long dive surveilling a cave in North Rona off Scotland, photographer George Stoyle captured this image of an other-worldly looking creature — a juvenile monkfish — grabbing a snack.

"The most remarkable looking creature I have seen photographed in British waters. This juvenile monkfish doesn’t even look like it comes from our planet, let alone our shores," Mustard said. "An amazing subject photographed flawlessly, it is definitely one of the most memorable pictures in this year’s collection."

What Feeds Beneath

underwater photographer 2016, underwater photography contest

(Image credit: Alejandro Prieto/UPY 2016)

When plans to capture a humpback whale pair were cut short, photographer Alejandro Prieto was in the right place at the right time to snap this image of an endangered Hawaiian petrel noshing on sea creatures in Todos Santos, Mexico.

Hello Ducky!

underwater photographer 2016, underwater photography contest

(Image credit: Paul Colley/UPY 2016)

What began as an interruption turned into an opportunity to be creative and produced this image. A flock of Mallard ducks barged in on a project focused on photographing trout at River Test, Hampshire and, with a load of patience, photographer Paul Colley captured this intriguing view of both animals as well as winning first prize in the category.

Tompot Looking Out

underwater photographer 2016, underwater photography contest

(Image credit: Trevor Rees/UPY 2016)

This charming little fish peaks out from its hiding place under a sea pier. The Tompot blenny posed curiously for photographer Trevor Rees to capture this image, taking Runner up in the British Waters Compact Category.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.  Her book "Rise of the Zombie Bugs: The Surprising Science of Parasitic Mind Control" will be published in spring 2025 by Johns Hopkins University Press.