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2017 top underwater photographs

Donna Coutts, February 19, 2017 7:50PM Herald Sun

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TAKE a peek deep down beneath the surface to see life underwater.

Photographers from 67 different countries submitted more than 2500 photos for the 2017 Underwater Photographer of the Year competition.

The competition began in 1965 and has been growing ever since.

This year’s overall winner was French photographer Gabriel Barathieu who stunned judges with his portrait of an octopus in the lagoon off the island of Mayotte.

Pelicans flocking around a fishing boat for scraps from the nets. Picture: Simone Caprodossi media_cameraPelicans flocking around a fishing boat for scraps from the nets. Picture: Simone Caprodossi

“During spring low tides, there is very little water on the flats. Only 30cm in fact. That’s when I took this picture. I had to get as close as possible to the dome to create this effect,” he said.

The British Photographer of the Year was awarded to Nick Blake for his photo taken in a freshwater Mexican sinkhole.

A bat fish in Egypt. Picture: Lorincz Ferenc media_cameraA bat fish in Egypt. Picture: Lorincz Ferenc

“Underwater photographers can move freely in three dimensions, so I adjusted my position in the water to capture the symmetrical* framing of the light beams by the rocks,” Blake said.

The competition also shines a light on new and emerging* talent, awarding a prize in the category of Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017.

This year it went to Argentinian Horacio Martinez for his photo of a shark lurking in the deep.

“I noticed this oceanic whitetip shark patrolling in the distance and exposed for the sun beams, and was pleased by the dreamlike effect,” Martinez said.

“Oceanics are great subjects for close ups as they are anything but shy. Yet, I wanted to capture their apparent* loneliness in the big blue,” said Martinez.

The competition had 10 categories, testing photographers with themes such as Macro, Wide Angle, Behaviour and Wreck photography, as well as three categories for photos taken in British waters.


symmetrical: the same on both sides

emerging: just being noticed

apparent: how it appears



Activity 1: “And the winner is…”

Read or listen to the article carefully.

Copy this paragraph, filling in the gaps with information from the article. Ensure the sentences make sense. Some answers are found easily some you will have to work out from the information given.

The Underwater __________________ of the Year competition has been running for _____ years. There are _____ categories. In 2017 __________________________ was the overall winner with _____________________________________ taken _____________________________. The ______________ Photographer of the Year went to Nick Blake for _____________________________________________________. A photo of a shark _________________________________ Horacio Martinez. He wanted to show ______________________________ in the ocean. He got a prize in the _______________________________________ category. This year there were photographers from _____ countries including, _______________________, _______________________ and ______________________. The judges had to look through more than _____________ photos.

Taking photographs for a job involves more than just clicking a button. What are some the things photographers who entered this competition did to capture the perfect picture?

Extension: Judging artwork can be very difficult. Although judges would be looking for techniques and skills, personal opinion may also help decide a winner. Look at the photographs included with the article. Which would you pick as the overall winner? Why?

Create a certificate for the winner that includes a statement as to what you thought was great about their photo.

Time: allow about 30 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English,

Activity 2: Collage

Re-create one of the photographs using a variety of collage materials (scrap coloured paper, crepe or tissue paper, ribbons, twigs, pompoms, twigs, leaves etc). Think or a title for your piece.

When labelling your artwork be sure to give some credit to the original photographer. For example; you may call your piece ‘Octopuses Garden’ by (Your name) Inspired by ______________’s photograph.


Create your own underwater scene using collage materials. Include at least one marine animal in your picture. Think or a title for your piece.

* A collage is a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric on to paper.

Extension: Take photos of your artwork in different lights (inside, outside, shade or full sun) and from different angles and note the effect it has on your artwork. Make a slideshow of these photos. Insert text boxes to say where/how each photo was taken.

Extra resources: paper or cardboard for background, range of collage materials, glue, tape or other adhesive, digital cameras or other camera device, computer or notebook or tablet (e.g. ipad) to create slideshow.

Time: allow at least 60 minutes to complete this task.

Curriculum links: English, Digital Technology, Visual Arts

VCOP Activity

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Collecting some Punctuation Data

Use a green highlighter to find all the punctuation within the article. Then create a tally, and count up how many times each piece of punctuation is used. What is used the most? What is used the least?

Extension: Display the data you have collected using a bar graph.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete the task

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP, Maths






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