Breaking News – Stunning underwater images star in Outdoor Photography of the Year 2018 awards

After another epic competition that attracted over 20,000 entries – more than any previous year – and saw photographers from around the globe submitting their most inspiring work, OPOTY have announced today the overall winner and category winners of the 2018 competition.

Now in its eighth year, OPOTY is one of the world’s foremost photography competitions in this genre. Its aim is to reveal and celebrate the outstanding work of the most highly talented image makers out there and offer up a powerful insight into the landscapes, wildlife and nature of the planet, and the adventures to be found on it.

Once again OPOTY have partnered with the UK distributor of legendary outdoor gear manufacturer Fjällräven, who have generously offered a £500 Fjällräven Award for each Category Winner to kit themselves out with the equipment of their choice to match their style of photography and the environments they shoot in.

The category winning photographers come from around the globe, and this year the competition received over 20,000 images entered by professional and amateur photographers from over 60 countries, including South Africa, Australia, USA, Canada, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Falkland Islands! The category winning images take us from beneath the waves in French Polynesia, to the rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park; from the wetlands of Louisiana to the wrestling pits of Varanasi, India; and from the underwater caves of the Yucatán Peninsula to the snowy South Pennines of Yorkshire.

Head judge Steve Watkins, editor of Outdoor Photography magazine, had this to say: “The judges were blown away by the quality of work that we looked at this year, and it shows that the world of outdoor photography is thriving like never before, thanks to the hard work, fresh thinking and deep passion brought by the photographers. There were so many outstanding images and it was incredibly tough to boil it all down to the final selection; those photographs that just had an extra edge and impact to them, whether in terms of creative or technical expertise, or both. The competition is going from strength to strength, with the quality bar being raised each year.”

Here are some of the superb underwater that were awarded in the OPOTY 2018 awards.

Live the Adventure – Winner

Greg Lecoeur (France)

Rangiroa, French Polynesia

“Passionate about the marine world, I usually travel to the different oceans of the planet to photograph marine creatures. But in Polynesia it was another type of creature that I immortalised. One of my dreams was to go and face the waves breaking on the reefs and see how surfers were able to tame the power of nature. It was in Rangiroa in the small pass of Avaturu that I dipped my fins with the local surfers. That day the waves were powerful and I hesitated to get into the water but the good lazy atmosphere on the site motivated me and we shared exciting moments in the middle of thunderous waves.”

Nikon D7200 with Tokina 10-17mm lens, ISO 200, 1/250sec at f/9, Nauticam underwater housing

Under Exposed – Winner

Greg Lecoeur (France)

Shetland Islands, Scotland

Presumed to have been introduced to the Shetland Isles during Viking times, or maybe earlier, the otter has adapted to marine life and proliferated. More used to living in the rivers and lakes of Scotland, they are now found along the coastline and dive into the sea to feed on marine animals, especially crustaceans – some of the more experienced otters attack octopuses. The otter is a very fearful and shy animal, so to make this image it was necessary to spend time studying its behavior and habits at sea. Once I was immersed, it was necessary to be patient. I was lucky to eventually have the opportunity to capture this image.

Nikon D7200 with Tokina 10-17mm lens, ISO 200, 1/250sec at f/9, Nauticam underwater housing, two Ikelite DS160 underwater strobes

To see more of Greg’s work visit his website by clicking here.

Under Exposed – Runner-up

Pier Mane (Italy and South Africa)

Protea Banks, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

“Protea Banks is an underwater reef on the east coast of South Africa that is under consideration for protected area status. Amazing creatures such as this cephea (or crown) jellyfish live there. It was the biggest jellyfish I’ve ever seen, over one metre in diameter. Its purple head and yellow fuselage were simply amazing. With no background objects present to provide perspective, and wishing to exalt this crown jellyfish with its stunning colours, majestic size and dancing elegance, I opted to purposefully crop the jellyfish to fill the frame.”

Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Olympus 9-18mm lens at 9mm, ISO 400, 1/250sec at f/16, two Sea&Sea YS-D1 strobes

To see more from Pier Mane visit his Facebook site by clicking here.

Under Exposed – Commended

Judith Conning (Australia)

Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga

“This image was captured on a dream trip to swim and snorkel with the magnificent humpback whales and their calves in the warm tropical waters of Tonga, their winter breeding ground. On the first trip of the day a very energetic calf joined us that just wanted to play with these tiny creatures that were bobbing around on the surface, while his mother slept 20m below. I allowed myself to sink a little below the surface so I could fill the frame as the calf slowly rose towards the light, surrounded by a fizz of bubbles.”

Olympus TG-5 compact camera with 7mm lens, ISO 200, 1/500sec at f/2.8, Ikelite housing with dome port

For more information about the Outdoor Photography of the Year 2018 competition and to see the overall winner, visit their website by clicking here.


Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit

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