The Beauty of British Waters – Winners of UPY 2017

Winners of Underwater Photography Competition 2017 dedicated to British Waters

Every year underwater photographers around the world have the chance to submit their images to several categories of the Underwater Photography Competition. In our previous article, we present the winners of the international entries of UPY 2017 in the categories “Wide Angle”, “Macro”, “Wrecks”, “Behaviour” “Portrait”, “Compact”, “Up & Coming”. This article we want to dedicate to the winners of the 3 categories that are open only to images taken within the UK. 

The UK has historically been home to some of the world’s most prestigious underwater photography competitions. In 1965, the first Brighton Underwater Film Festival was organized by Bernard Eaton. This competition then led to the foundation of the British Society of Underwater Photographers in 1967. Hence, the categories for images taken within the UK, have the scope to promote Underwater Photography in British Waters.

The Underwater Photography Competition (UPY) rebirth was 3 years ago and “it is something that we are really proud of”, states Alex Mustard, Chair of the UPY judges, who presented the awards. In this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest 2017, photographers from 67 different countries participated. 

British Underwater Photographer of the Year, 2017

Winner of the British Underwater Photographer of the Year is Nick Blake with “Out of the Blue”

UPY 2017 British UPY Nick Blake

© Nick Blake UPY 2017

“Underwater photography is my passion, particularly shooting natural lights, which is my favorite” states enthusiastic Nick Blake. The picture was taken in Yukatán peninsula, Kukulkan that one of the spectacular cenotes on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. There, Nick Blake captured this diver in the center of one of the beams. Martin Edge, one of jury members says about the picture “ What I really like about this image is the enclosure of the light within the Cenote. The author has contained all the sunlight so the eye of the viewer cannot escape. The lone diver is positioned within the beams and I do believe that the author meant for this to happen. Stunning natural light wide-angle! “

British Waters Wide Angle  – Category

Winner of the British Water Wide Angle is Melvin Redeker with “Eye to eye”

UPY 2017 British Waters Wide Angle winner Melvin Redeker

©Melvin Redeker UPY 2017

“In 2011 I saw my first orcas in the North Sea. It was the inspiration for our Dutch photo project ‘In the North Sea’. We needed the iconic killer whales to raise attention that the North Sea has many fantastic ecosystems and habitats” states Melvin Redeker. Peter Rowlands, the Chair of the jury 2017 says about this pictures “My heart skips a beat just looking at this image! The eye contact and the close proximity together with the silence. This is a groundbreaking shot for British waters.” 

British Waters Macro – Category

Winner of the British Water Macro is Kirsty Andrews with “’Dragon display’”

UPY 2017 British Waters Macro winner Kirsty Andrews

©Kirsty Andrews UPY 2017

A cuttlefish with a thread display has been captured in UK waters by Kirsty Andrews. “Cuttlefish are fascinating, beautiful creatures and I have had some wonderful experiences in British waters watching them breed, fight, feed, or just interact with divers” says Kirsty Andrews and adds that “it is terribly sad that in some former hotspots, increased use of cuttlefish pots, especially during the mating season, has had a devastating impact on cuttlefish numbers.” “For me, part of what I love about underwater photography is to see and show people the brilliant world life that we have in UK waters” emphasizes Kirsty Andrews.

British Waters Compact – Category

Winner of the British Water Compact is Simon Yates with “Scottish Fireworks Anemone’”

UPY 2017 British Waters Compacts Simon Yates

© Simon Yates UPY 2017

This picture of the fireworks anemones (Pachycerianthus multiplicatus) was taken during a shore diving trip to Scotland at Loch Duich near Inverinate. Fireworks anemones are found in quite deep and dark water. “This together with a very soft silty bottom presented quite a challenge to get a well-lit image”, says Simon Yates and therefore he is “particularly pleased with the ‘glow’ at the center on the subject”. No wonder Peter Rowlands, the Chair of the jury 2017 states that “this image leapt out at us as the winner right from the start.”


If you want to see some more of this stunning pictures, the UPY team produced a Yearbook which brings together the top 100 images from the 2017 competition. Each picture is featured each with photographers notes and feedback from the judges. 

”From my own point of view, I have been captivated not only by the winning images but also by the stories behind how those images were achieved. The conception, the planning, and the physical effort to achieve a successful result; it is those efforts that we, as judges, pay our respects to by taking out two days to meet up, sit together and look in detail at all the images. It is a mammoth task but one that we all agree is a privilege to be part of”, states the Chair of the UPY jury 2017, Peter Rowlands.

Share your underwater photography 

Interested in entering next year’s competition? Well, then “there is no need to wait until the last minute to submit your images as you can always delete and re-submit different photos should you change your mind before the final submission deadline” state the committee members. One can check this year’s deadlines online, to have the next years timeline in mind. 

So grab your camera, take images and submit the best ones to UPY. Who knows, maybe next year you will win the competition and we can see through your eyes the beauty and the treasures of ours seas! 

If you are not in a competing mood and you just would like to share your underwater photography and diving experience contact us, TheBlueReporters, and we are happy to work with you on your story.

Share This: