Aussies celebrated at Underwater Photographer of the Year awards

Spanish photographer Rafael Fernandez Caballero has been named the Overall Winner of the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 for his image, Giants of the Night, of five whale sharks feeding together in the Maldives. The image reveals the whale sharks feasting on nocturnal plankton around a boat’s light. Caballero was diving with a shark researcher at the time who counted a total of 11 sharks - a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. The image went on to beat 4,200 other images from photographers in 71 countries.

© Rafael Fernandez Caballero - Overall Winner of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022
© Rafael Fernandez Caballero. Overall Winner and 1st place Wide Angle,
Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

Featuring a total of 13 categories, Underwater Photographer of the Year celebrates images taken below the surface of the ocean, seas, lakes, rivers, ponds, and pools

Australian-based Matty Smith won the title of British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 for his portrait of a great white shark, Great White Split. Captured off the Neptune Islands of South Australia, Smith built a super-sized dome port for his camera and utilised a carbon pole and remote trigger to allow him to capture the perspective revealed in the image.

© Matthew Smith / UPY 2022
© Matthew Smith. Great White Split. 

“I had wanted to shoot a charismatic over/under portrait for years,” Smith said. “Some techniques I had previously tried failed terribly, so this time I designed and constructed my own equipment to get the camera exactly where I wanted.” He went on to say that the sharks were instantly attracted to the camera and that it was a battle to stop them biting it.

Other accolades Smith received included being named the runner-up in the Portrait category, a highly commended award in the Behaviour category, and a commended award in the Black & White category.

Top Australian finalists

Aside from Smith’s recognition, a number of other Australian photographers received top honours. Kerrie Burow took out first place in the Black & White category for her image, Sarah’s Underwater World. Meanwhile, Hannah Le Leu’s image, Against All Odds, placed third in the Wide Angle category.

© Kerrie Burow - First place Black & White category / UPY 2022
© Kerrie Burow. 1st place, Black & White.

Several other Australian photographers received Highly Commended and Commended awards in the competition:

  • Jules Casey: Highly Commended, Behaviour category.
  • Matty Smith: Highly Commended, Behaviour category.
  • Jake Wilton: Commended, Behaviour category.
  • Matty Smith: Commended, Black & White category.
© Hannah Le Leu - 3rd place in the Wide Angle category
© Hannah Le Leu. 3rd place, Wide Angle.

Category Winners

© Dan Bolt / UPY 2022
© Dan Bolt. 1st place, British Waters Macro.
© Martin Stevens / UPY 2022
© Martin Stevens. 1st place, British Water Compact.
© Francisco Abadal Ramon / UPY 2022
© Francisco Abadal Ramon. 1st place, Up & Coming.
© Henley Spiers / UPY 2022
© Henley Spiers. 1st place, British Waters Wide Angle.
© Lewis Jefferies / UPY 2022
© Lewis Michael Jefferies. 1st place, British Waters Living Together.
© Enrico Somogyi / UPY 2022
© Enrico Somogyi. 1st place, Compact.
© Thomas Heckmann / UPY 2022
© Thomas Heckmann. 1st place, Portrait.
© Pekka Tuuri / UPY 2022
© Pekka Tuuri. 1st place, Behaviour.
© Francisco Murcia Requena / UPY 2022
© Francisco Murcia Requena. 1st place, Macro.

Check out the gallery of all the category winners and finalists here.

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