A panorama photograph of British World War II military vehicles deep inside a shipwreck in the Red Sea sees German photographer Tobias Friedrich named Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018.
Friedrich’s photograph triumphed over 5000 underwater pictures entered by underwater photographers from all around the world.
“Cycle War” was taken in Egypt and shows Norton 16H motorbikes loaded in Fordson WOT 3 trucks, with soldierfish schooling above. Friedrich explains “I had had this image in mind for a few years, but it is impossible to capture in one photo because there is no space inside the wreck to photograph this scene in a single frame. My solution was to take a series pictures and stitch them together as a panorama.”
Chair of the judges, Peter Rowlands, added “this is a quite extraordinary shot which must be viewed as large as possible. The artistic skill is to visualise such an image and the photographic talent is to achieve it.”
The title of British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018 goes to Grant Thomas from Glasgow, who now lives in New Zealand. His photo of swans called “Love Birds” was taken in Loch Lomond, Scotland. Thomas explains “I have always been fascinated by over-under photography, connecting the everyday terrestrial world that we all know with the less familiar underwater secrets. The swans were searching for food beneath the surface, I just had to wait for that perfect moment of synchronicity.”
Competition judge Martin Edge commented “the symmetry makes this image a stand out.”
The Underwater Photographer of the Year competition also aims to promote new photographic talent. Malaysian Man BD was named as Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018 for his image “Roar”, showing a pair of sea slugs with a gaping moray eel as a background, photographed in Indonesia. “When shooting these nudibranchs I was focusing on getting the shot,” explains Man, “when suddenly a moray eel appeared behind. It still took me about 30 minutes to get this shot.”
Competition judge Martin Edge commented “Great photography to use the moray as a background, with its gleaming white teeth, adds so much drama.”
If you want to know more about underwater photography, check out this video of Thomas Peschak going about his daily life as a professional underwater ocean photographer.