The ocean is filled with a myriad of magnificent creatures, some of which are absolutely stunning and others which are absolutely terrifying. In 2018, the Underwater Photography Guide hosted the 7th annual Ocean Art Photography Competition, during which professional photographers can submit their entries displaying the true splendor and beauty of life under the sea. These underwater images are breathtakingly gorgeous and show the wonders of the aquatic world like you’ve never seen it before. One will always be surprised by the astounding creatures that live on the ocean floor. From first place winners to honorable mentions, these are the ultimate competition photographs to see!
1. Devil Ray Ballet, by Duncan Murrell: First Place, Marine Life Behavior, and Best of Show Winner
Featuring Spinetail devil rays, (Mobula japanica), two males and one female, engaging in the rarely observed courtship behavior.
2. Gentle Giants, by François Baelen: First Place, Wide Angle
The photograph takes you to a unique occurrence on Reunion Island where humpback whales go to breed and birth. A mother whale patiently waits while her calf interacts with his human friend: the ultimate display of trust.
3. Sunsplit, by Tobias Friedrich: Second Place, Reefscapes
A sunset splits this shot above the shallow reefs of the Red Sea in Egypt, making for an exceptionally gorgeous view.
4. Porcelain Bloom, by Wayne Jones: Second Place, Supermacro
This photo captures the perfect moment, as a small porcelain crab clings to an overhanging branch, in the Philippines. A difficult photograph to take as crabs have a quick-reacting survival instinct, making still shorts a challenge.
5. Smile of a Friend, by Antonio Pastrana: Second Place, Novice DSLR
One of the nicest wild crocodiles you’ll ever see, El Nino, grins at the camera as he moves gently underwater in Jucaro, Cuba.