Underwater photography offer’s a glimpse into the world beneath the waves, a place of strange creatures and bizarre visual effects. This type of image making is usually carried whilst scuba diving or snorkelling, requiring specialist equipment and presenting a specific set of technical demands. This post brings together 20 examples of breathtaking underwater photographs, amazing examples displaying a range of subjects to be found under the sea.
This beautiful shot captures a freediver breathing in preparation for a plunge into the ocean’s depths. The photographer, using a Fuji F30 with an underwater case, achieves an ethereal dreamlike quality by the capturing the diver’s silhouette against the sun above.
Many of the life forms that live underwater have an otherworldly, alien appearance, such as these luminously coloured jellyfish, photographed at Underwater World in Singapore.
A Flying Gurnard glides across the seabed about five metres under the surface off the coast of eastern coast of Crete. The fish are distinguished by their hugely enlarged pectoral fins, which enable them to ‘fly’ through the water or ‘walk’ across the sea floor.
Toni Frissell’s astonishing underwater shot was taken at Weeki Wachee Spring in Florida. The beautifully crisp image was taken in 1947 and printed in Harper’s Bazaar later that year. It was used again in a 1955 edition of Sports Illustrated, and has since featured in the artwork for several record covers.
The legs of a pier in Dumaguete, Philippines, add depth and a touch of sci-fi atmosphere to Tanaka Juuyoh’s underwater shot.
This mysterious architectural image shows a view of SS Thistlegorm, a British navy ship sunk in October 1941 off the coast of Ras Muhammad in the Red Sea. The vessel lay hidden in the sea’s depths until French marine explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau discovered the wreck in the 1950s, and today it is a popular very diving site.
This image captures the stunning red colouration of a huge specimen of the Panamic Cushion Star, found at a depth of 15 metres in Panama’s Coiba National Park.
Artist Jason de Caires Taylor created 65 works for the world’s first underwater sculpture park, at Molinere bay off Grenada. The sculptures, located in a National Marine Park, have cement surfaces intended to cultivate sealife such as coral and barnacles.
A King Penguin dives gracefully into the light-filled water of a tank at Melbourne Aquarium, an elegantly composed and focused photograph.
Jean-Marc Kuffer’s stunning photo shows a competitor at Great Camberwell Breath Hold Freediving Competition; the moment the diver equipped with a monofin enters the water is curiously frozen in time.
This amazing image with its deep emerald greens was taken at Lobbecke-Museum and Aquazoo in Düsseldorf, Germany. The zoo has 80 aquariums and boasts a huge number of aquatic species.
Christ of the Abyss is a 2.5-metre tall statue that stands on the seabed at Key Largo in Florida. The bronze sculpture, cast in 1961, is a copy from the mould of an identical piece that was placed in the sea off Liguria in northwest Italy in 1954.
The azure blue of the sea contrasts marvellously with the bright orange bodies of a school of anthias, brilliantly captured in Jon Hanson’s reef-side shot.
This wreck of a Corsair Fighter Plane sits 35 metres under the Pacific, off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii. The US Air Force plane crashed in 1946 during a routine training mission, and, rumour has it, the pilot managed to swim back to the Hawaiian where he continues to happily live to this day.
Another brilliant shot by photographer Tanaka Juuyoh, this time an atmospherically dark image with the sinister form of a shark swimming through deep blue waters.
This breathtaking image has a model plunging past a swirling shoal of fish, a strange, dreamlike image.
Richelieu Rock off Phuket, seen in this image, is one of the best diving sites in Thailand, an ecologically rich environment that is a great place to see Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.
The serene figure of a Buddha statue sits in the turquoise waters of Maunalua Bay, to the south of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
This wreck is in the Atlantic Ocean at Puerto Calero off Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. There’s an abundance of marine life dwelling in the deliberately sunk vessel, including Angel Sharks, Barracuda, Rays, Cuttlefish, Amber Jacks and many fish of the Wrasse family.
Jean-Marc Kuffer’s beautiful shot captures British Freediving Champion Liv Philip making a dive into dark blue and very deep waters, another amazing example of underwater photography. James is an ardent photographer, tech writer and analyst who works at an online supplier of ink cartridges called Cartridge Save.