From thousands of drone, underwater and coastal images submitted by the world’s best ocean photographers, Ocean Photographer of the Year 2023 has announced the overall and the different categories winners of its prestigious awards.
The Ocean Photographer of the Year has a simple mission: to shine a light on the beauty of our oceans and the threats they face.
Marine biologist and amateur photographer Jialing Cai has been named Ocean Photographer of the Year 2023, with a stunning image (below) of a paper nautilus floating on a piece of ocean debris, photographed on a blackwater dive in the wake of a volcanic eruption in the Philippines.
Cai was inspired to start shooting on blackwater dives after learning about “diel vertical migration,” when zooplankton moves from the deep ocean to the surface at night. “That hit me like lightning,” said Cai. “My professor was telling me the deep sea was within my reach, that it would come to me. That realization was mind-blowing. It’s why [I’ve become] so obsessed with blackwater photography.”
All the winning photos will be showcased at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia, which opens to the public on November 17.
The overall winner, category winners and winning photos can be seen here.
Overall Winner and Runners Up
A Paper Nautilus drifts at night on a piece of ocean debris, surrounded by heavy sediment (Philippines).
Andrei Savin was named runner-up with his astonishing image of a crab sitting in the middle of a sea anemone as it sways in the ocean current (Philippines).
A distressing but thought-provoking image of a whale struggling on with its flukes severely damaged as a result of continued entanglement (Mexico).
While surfing North Shore’s famous Banzai Pipeline, a rainbow appears in O’ahu, Hawaii.
A scuba diver explores the underside of a gigantic iceberg in Tasiilaq, East Greenland. Only in springtime, when the hard winter slowly subsides, are the ice-cold waters suitable for divers who can dive around icebergs that float in crystal-clear water.
A manatee enjoys the crystal-clear waters of Florida’s Homosassa River.
Two pale octopuses sit on a pipe that forms part of an artificial reef built to attract octopuses and other marine life to this area of Australia.
During low tide, a coral reef is perfectly mirrored on the surface of Mayotte Island, a French overseas region in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean.
The essence of Raja Ampat: Myriad colorful soft corals and schools of sweetlips in one frame at Indonesia’s Raja Ampat.
A batallion of mobula rays swim peacefully in the shallow waters of the Gulf of California in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
A whale shark and its entourage of remoras is attracted by the bright lights of fishermen in The Maldives.
The calm after the storm: After feeding on a baitball, almost diminishing it, a blue marlin swims through sparkling fish scales at Baja California Sur, Mexico.
A porcelain crab sits atop a sea pen, its constant companion in the Philippines
Chilean devil rays glide through the ocean off Costa Rica.
Humpback whales in the shallow water at Turks and Caicos Islands.
A cormorant dives beneath the surface to hunt in Mexican waters.
A young gray reef shark is seen at the surface being hooked by an angler during the night in the open sea at Burma Bank, an offshore plateau in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Tanintharyi region, Myanmar.
Although shark fisheries are legally banned in Myanmar at the national level, the lack of enforcement at sea and trade regulation can barely prevent shark fishing or trade in shark products.
Half-and-half image of a shallow, healthy mangrove habitat containing numerous hard corals and fish and a local woman in a handmade canoe near Kavieng, Papua New Guinea.
Although the corals are plentiful and beautiful, they exhibit the beginnings of bleaching, which is a reminder of the urgent need not only to protect our oceans but also mitigate the factors contributing to climate change.
A South Right Whale fin-slaps the surface at Argentina’s extraordinary Peninsula Valdez.
A polar bear cub contends with the fragility of melting ice in Svalbard, Norway.
The young polar bear yearling is playing in the water, testing the fresh ice to get out of the water and jumping back and forth with his sibling while their mother is resting nearby.
Framed by her unexpected surroundings, walrus Freya sits on a concrete pier in the harbor of Harlingen in the Netherlands.