Underwater Photographer Of The Year Awards | Here Are The Photographs That Won!

May 06, 2022by Olivia - F&F

We’re blown away by the award-winning photographs in the Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) competition for 2022. This spectacular collection of photographs highlights how beautiful and bizarre our oceans and rivers can be, and why we need to protect them!

UPY 2022 Winner | Rafael Fernandez Caballero

Photographer: Rafael Fernandez Caballero (Spain)

Photograph Name: 'Dancing with the giants of the night' 

Location: Maldives

Explanation: “I was together with Gador Muntaner, a shark researcher, who couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We counted at the same time 11 whale sharks surrounding us. It was a unique moment that no one there had thought it could even be possible. Magic happens in the ocean every day, but if we don’t protect the oceans and sharks, these moments will soon be a thing of the past,” said UPY 2022 Winner, Rafael Fernandez Caballero.

Quico Abadal / UPY2022Quico Abadal / UPY2022

Image: Quico Abadal / UPY2022

UPY 2022 | Up & Coming Photographer Of The Year

Photographer: Quico Abadal (Spain)

Photograph Name: 'Supernova in paradise'

Location: Sairee Beach, Thailand

Explanation: “She [subject of photo] was wearing a stunning long white dress and we just planned to shoot mostly split shots with the sunset. I’d use the strobes to illuminate the underwater scene and the sun would do the rest. It was a pretty challenging shot, since I didn’t have any fins or wetsuit, so I would easily sink. Also it was tricky to gain focus properly on the subject. What I like about this photograph is the imperfection of backscatter, recreating space and making it perfect to me,” said UPY 2022 Winner, Quico Abadal.

Matty Smith / UPY2022Matty Smith / UPY2022

Image: Matty Smith / UPY2022

UPY 2022 | British Underwater Photographer Of The Year 

Photographer: Matty Smith (Australia)

Photograph Name: ‘Great White Split’

Location: Neptune Islands, South Australia

Explanation: “I had wanted to shoot a charismatic over/under portrait of a great white shark for a couple of years. Some techniques I had previously tried failed terribly, so this time I designed and constructed my own carbon pole and remote trigger. This enabled me to safely lower my camera and housing into the water with my own 12” split shot dome port attached. We had wonderfully calm seas and nice evening side lighting for this naturally lit image,” said UPY 2022 Winner, Matty Smith.

Paul Pettitt / UPY2022Paul Pettitt / UPY2022

Image: Paul Pettitt / UPY2022

UPY 2022 | Most Promising British Underwater Photographer Of The Year 

Photographer: Paul Pettitt (UK)

Photograph Name: 'Diamonds and Rust'

Location: Swanage, England

Explanation: “This picture was taken on a bright afternoon when I knew the sun would be on the west side of the Pier. The Sea Gooseberries had been around for a while and on this particular day the water was like glass. I floated in the spot I wanted and waited for them to slowly drift by. The background colours represent the rust and weed growth on a metal cross beam,” said UPY 2022 Winner, Paul Pettitt.

Pekka Tuuri / UPY2022Pekka Tuuri / UPY2022

Image: Pekka Tuuri / UPY2022

UPY 2022 | Winner Of The My Backyard Category

Photographer: Pekka Tuuri (Finland)

Photograph Name: ‘All You Need Is Love’

Location: Finland

Explanation: “This love pond is in my backyard, a 20 minute drive from home. I wore a drysuit with argon, lots of undergarments and a heated vest to survive in the five degree water. I floated and stayed put among the frogs and quite soon they accepted me and my camera as a part of the scenery. What an experience, with lots of photo ops!” said UPY 2022 Winner, Pekka Tuuri.

Thien Nguyen Ngoc / UPY2022Thien Nguyen Ngoc / UPY2022

Image: Thien Nguyen Ngoc / UPY2022

UPY 2022 | Winner Of The Marine Conservation Category

Photographer: Thien Nguyen Ngoc (Vietnam)

Photograph Name: ‘Big Appetite’

Location: Hon Yen, Phu Yen Province, Vietnam

Explanation: “Salted anchovy is the most important raw material to create traditional Vietnamese fish sauce, but anchovies are a little fish with a big impact. When they are overfished, the whales, tunas, sea birds... and other marine predators that rely on them as a dietary staple face starvation and population decline critically. And so far Vietnam is also facing this anchovy overfishing situation. The reserves and catches of anchovies have decreased by 20-30% in the past 10 years,” said UPY 2022 Winner, Thien Nguyen Ngoc.

Which is your favourite photograph from the 2022 UPY Awards? We love all of them, but our favourite would have to be ‘Great White Split’ by Matty Smith; photographed near the tiny Neptune Islands in South Australia! 

To view all of the stunning, award-winning photographs, head over to the 2022 Underwater Photographer of the Year winner's collection.

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