Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

Terry Steeley won the overall prize for his stunning image of a cenote in Mexico

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The Independent Online

A curious grey seal exploring the sea floor off the coast of Bristol and an ethereal pink and white sea anemone are among the stunning snapshots celebrated in an annual underwater photography competition.

The British Society of Underwater Photographers has unveiled the 2014 winners of its annual DIVER Annual Print Competition, with judges unanimously naming British photographer Terry Steeley as the overall winner for his otherworldly shot of a diver in Taj Mahal cenote in Mexico.

An experienced diver, Steeley first took his camera into the water with him in 2012. In 2013, he took a sabattical from work to indulge his passion for photography across the Bahamas, Maldives, Philippines, Egypt, South Africa, Alaska, Thailand and Wakatobi. He has not returned to his desk job since.

Patience and perseverance helped him catch his winning photo, after a number of previous attempts were ruined by clouds.

“The final day was different, navigating my way through the tunnels to Bill’s Hole provided a real treat, the intimately lit cavern set against a backdrop of energetically dancing light beams layered with vivid hues of colour forged as the sun shone brightly on the mangroves above was breathtaking and a worthy final dive,” he said.

 

Steve Jones, an underwater photo journalist and member of the judging panel, praised all of the photographs for their “high quality”.

He called Stelley’s winning shot “both mysterious and inviting,” and praised the “beautiful lighting.”

“I love the way it’s been framed in the darkness surrounding the scene. Quite simply, I wish I’d taken it,” he added.

Kirsty Andrews was among the photographers to receive a highly commended award for her image of a rare firework anemone. The same image also saw her named the overall winner of the British and Irish category.

Martin Edge, author and underwater photo-journalist, added “For the first time in quite a few years my fellow judges, Nigel Eaton, Steve Jones and I, had little to disagree with.

He added: “I thought that the three cenote prints in the Overseas category were all outstanding, but it came down to the quality of print of the image by Terry Steeley. A stunning shot."

The British Society of Underwater Photographers was formed in 1967, and has grown to become the UK’s largest photographic society, with over 250 members.

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