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The best underwater photographs of 2016 are staggeringly beautiful

Aquatic snaps that made a splash

The best underwater photographs of 2016 are staggeringly beautiful

“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.

Best of Show/Wide-Angle: “Blue Lasso” by Matty Smith
Marine Life Behavior: Gino Symus
Coldwater: Tobias Dahlin
Compact Marine Life Behaviour: Lawrence Alex Wu
Compact Macro: Lawrence Alex Wu
Compact Wide-Angle: Stephen Holinski
Macro: Dennis Corpuz
Mirrorless Behaviour: Jenny Stomvoll
Mirrorless Macro: Scipione Mannacio Soderini
Mirrorless Wide-Angle: Eugene Kitsios
Novice dSLR: Catalin Craciun
Nudibranchs: Rafael Cosme
Pool/Conceptual: Christian Miller
Portrait: Joaquin Gutierrez
Reefscapes: Jeong Sang Keun
Supermacro: Chad Tamis