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The best underwater photographs of 2016 are staggeringly beautiful

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“It's better. Down where it's wetter. Take it from me.”

Sebastian the crab knew what he was talking about if these breathtaking photos are anything to go by.

They’re the winners of the sixth annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition, which is organised by the Underwater Photography Guide, and showcase an exceptional array of images, selected from thousands of entries by photographers from all over the world.

They feature rarely-seen animal behaviour and innovative shooting techniques, capturing animals including sharks, whales and even the odd human. The Best of Show image, seen below and shot by Matty Smith in New South Wales, Australia, is a truly incredible photo of a dangerous Portuguese Man Of War, contrasting ‘raw dramatic lighting with the delicate nature of the creature.

You can check out all of the placed images, alongside each ‘story of the shot’ on the 2016 Ocean Art Contest website.

Underwater Photographs

Best of Show/Wide-Angle: “Blue Lasso” by Matty Smith

Underwater Photographs

Marine Life Behavior: Gino Symus

Underwater Photographs

Coldwater: Tobias Dahlin

Underwater Photographs

Compact Marine Life Behaviour: Lawrence Alex Wu

Underwater Photographs

Compact Macro: Lawrence Alex Wu

Underwater Photographs

Compact Wide-Angle: Stephen Holinski

Underwater Photographs

Macro: Dennis Corpuz

Underwater Photographs

Mirrorless Behaviour: Jenny Stomvoll

Underwater Photographs

Mirrorless Macro: Scipione Mannacio Soderini

Underwater Photographs

Mirrorless Wide-Angle: Eugene Kitsios

Underwater Photographs

Novice dSLR: Catalin Craciun

Underwater Photographs

Nudibranchs: Rafael Cosme

Underwater Photographs

Pool/Conceptual: Christian Miller

Underwater Photographs

Portrait: Joaquin Gutierrez

Underwater Photographs

Reefscapes: Jeong Sang Keun

Underwater Photographs

Supermacro: Chad Tamis

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