Photographers take the plunge as their best oceanic images battle it out in underwater contest 

This incredible octopus selfie beat a snap off a smiling croc and other stunning underwater shots to be crowned king of the creatures of the deep.

The up-close photo of an octopus was so highly rated by judges it was named overall winner of the prestigious Annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest.

The once-in-a-lifetime photo show the octopus – suckers and all – stretching out its legs to pose while a family is visible above the surface, grinning down at it.

Pictured: This photo of an octopus was named overall winner of the prestigious Annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest. It was taken by photographer Gaetano Dario Gargiulo in New South Wales, Australia and is entitled The Day of the Tentacle

Pictured: This photo of an octopus was named overall winner of the prestigious Annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest. It was taken by photographer Gaetano Dario Gargiulo in New South Wales, Australia and is entitled The Day of the Tentacle

Pictured: This photo of an octopus was named overall winner of the prestigious Annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest. It was taken by photographer Gaetano Dario Gargiulo in New South Wales, Australia and is entitled The Day of the Tentacle

This photograph of a crocodile entitled Crocosmile by Jenny Stock was awarded first place in the Underwater Art category

This photograph of a crocodile entitled Crocosmile by Jenny Stock was awarded first place in the Underwater Art category

This photograph of a crocodile entitled Crocosmile by Jenny Stock was awarded first place in the Underwater Art category

Amazing: Photographer PT Hirschfield took this stunning photograph of seahorses while diving beneath Blairgowrie Pier in Australia. The picture won first place in the compact macro category of the competition and is entitled '5 Baby Seahorses'

Amazing: Photographer PT Hirschfield took this stunning photograph of seahorses while diving beneath Blairgowrie Pier in Australia. The picture won first place in the compact macro category of the competition and is entitled '5 Baby Seahorses'

Amazing: Photographer PT Hirschfield took this stunning photograph of seahorses while diving beneath Blairgowrie Pier in Australia. The picture won first place in the compact macro category of the competition and is entitled ‘5 Baby Seahorses’

Jeff Molder's photograph was taken in Hawaii and won second place in the portrait category for his work entitled Mardi Gras Blenny

Jeff Molder's photograph was taken in Hawaii and won second place in the portrait category for his work entitled Mardi Gras Blenny

Harlequin Sweetlips by Igor Bogachenko which was captured in Indonesia and came third in the portrait category

Harlequin Sweetlips by Igor Bogachenko which was captured in Indonesia and came third in the portrait category

Jeff Molder’s photograph entitled Mardi Gras Blenny (left) which was captured in Hawaii came second in the portrait category while Igor Bogachenko’s photograph entitled Harlequin Sweetlips (right) came third and was snapped in Indonesia

The winning-photo, entitled The Day Of The Tentacle, was taken by Gaetano Dario Gargiulo close to his home in the tide pools of Kamay Botany Bay National Park, New South Wales, Australia.

The photographer, who was with his three-year-old son, said: ‘On the day of the photo, I remained in the tide pool as the tide was too low to venture outside of its boundaries.

‘In one of the shallowest parts of the pool I noticed an octopus.

‘I placed my camera near its den and the octopus started interacting with it.

‘It came completely out of the den and to our amazement it started shooting pictures!’

Another remarkable photo which impressed the judges shows a mother and its calf having a whale of a time as they bob about it in the inky blue sea.

This beautiful photograph entitled 'Soulmates' by Erika Miura  and shot in Japan was awarded an Honourable Mention

This beautiful photograph entitled 'Soulmates' by Erika Miura  and shot in Japan was awarded an Honourable Mention

This beautiful photograph entitled ‘Soulmates’ by Erika Miura  and shot in Japan was awarded an Honourable Mention

My New Toy: photograph taken by Celia Kujala in Hornby, Canada, and was awarded fourth place in wide angle category

My New Toy: photograph taken by Celia Kujala in Hornby, Canada, and was awarded fourth place in wide angle category

My New Toy: photograph taken by Celia Kujala in Hornby, Canada, and was awarded fourth place in wide angle category

Galice Hoarau won first place in the macro category with this incredible image of a pygmy seahorse

Galice Hoarau won first place in the macro category with this incredible image of a pygmy seahorse

Captured in the Philippines, this is Merry Christmas' by Andrey Savin

Captured in the Philippines, this is Merry Christmas' by Andrey Savin

Galice Hoarau won first place in the macro category for this incredible image of a pygmy seahorse (left), is one of the smallest and most recently discovered seahorses while the festive image of a squid by Andrey Savin was awarded third place overall

Cindy vs. Lionfish: Stephanie Doniger captured this incredible picture off in Honduras featuring a diver with a lionfish

Cindy vs. Lionfish: Stephanie Doniger captured this incredible picture off in Honduras featuring a diver with a lionfish

Cindy vs. Lionfish: Stephanie Doniger captured this incredible picture off in Honduras featuring a diver with a lionfish

Stunning: Winning third place in the marine life behaviour category is Shy and Brave by Salvatore Ianniello

Stunning: Winning third place in the marine life behaviour category is Shy and Brave by Salvatore Ianniello

Stunning: Winning third place in the marine life behaviour category is Shy and Brave by Salvatore Ianniello

A croc flashes a toothy grin as its head breaches the rippling black surface water – showing off its rows of razor sharp teeth.

Jenny Stock’s Crocosmile piece was captured in Cuba, and came first in the underwater photography category.

She said: ‘Whilst snorkelling with this crocodile in Cuba I was dazzled by his jagged teeth.’

Translucent baby seahorses appear dotted with gold glitter in another dazzling photo by PT Hirschfield.

The Five Baby Seahorses shot was taken by the diving photographer in Blairgowrie Pier, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Australia.

It bolted to first place in the compact macro photo category.

Winning an honourable mention in the compact macro is this image called the Hedgehog by Daniela Menegon shot in Canada

Winning an honourable mention in the compact macro is this image called the Hedgehog by Daniela Menegon shot in Canada

Winning an honourable mention in the compact macro is this image called the Hedgehog by Daniela Menegon shot in Canada

This picture entitled Barracuda Meets the Goggle Eyes was taken by Stephanie Doniger and was captured in Honduras

This picture entitled Barracuda Meets the Goggle Eyes was taken by Stephanie Doniger and was captured in Honduras

This picture entitled Barracuda Meets the Goggle Eyes was taken by Stephanie Doniger and was captured in Honduras

Waiting for the Kiss was captured by Johan Sundelin in Sweden and was awarded second place in the cold water category

Waiting for the Kiss was captured by Johan Sundelin in Sweden and was awarded second place in the cold water category

Waiting for the Kiss was captured by Johan Sundelin in Sweden and was awarded second place in the cold water category

Dream Meeting won an honourable mention in the cold water category and was shot by Celia Kujala in Coronado, Mexico

Dream Meeting won an honourable mention in the cold water category and was shot by Celia Kujala in Coronado, Mexico

Dream Meeting won an honourable mention in the cold water category and was shot by Celia Kujala in Coronado, Mexico

This opportune photo of a meeting of two fish in Indonesia was entitled Latest Gossip and was captured by Andy Schmid

This opportune photo of a meeting of two fish in Indonesia was entitled Latest Gossip and was captured by Andy Schmid

This opportune photo of a meeting of two fish in Indonesia was entitled Latest Gossip and was captured by Andy Schmid

Otherworldly: This stunning picture came third in the compact wide angle category and was shot by Andrea Michelutti in Italy

Otherworldly: This stunning picture came third in the compact wide angle category and was shot by Andrea Michelutti in Italy

Otherworldly: This stunning picture came third in the compact wide angle category and was shot by Andrea Michelutti in Italy

A photo of a red-orange glowing pygmy seahorse – one of the smallest and most recently discovered seahorses- also won Galice Hoarau first place in the macro category.

A lazy-looking frog chills on a pink lily flower – framed by inky-green water – in another ribbit-ing photo.

Thousands of photographs from 80 countries were submitted across 12 different categories for evaluation by the judges.

It was the competition’s ninth incarnation, and over $45,000 (about £32,000) in prizes have been awarded, making the Ocean Art prize value among the highest in the world.

Coming top in the Blackwater class was Steven Kovacs' picture of one of the most sought after subjects off the Florida coast - the larva of Acanthonus Armatus. This fish is a bathypelagic species of cusk-eel found in tropical and sub-tropical waters

Coming top in the Blackwater class was Steven Kovacs' picture of one of the most sought after subjects off the Florida coast - the larva of Acanthonus Armatus. This fish is a bathypelagic species of cusk-eel found in tropical and sub-tropical waters

Coming top in the Blackwater class was Steven Kovacs’ picture of one of the most sought after subjects off the Florida coast – the larva of Acanthonus Armatus. This fish is a bathypelagic species of cusk-eel found in tropical and sub-tropical waters

Captured by Alex Lindbloom this is Eco Tourism which won honourable mention in the underwater conservation category

Captured by Alex Lindbloom this is Eco Tourism which won honourable mention in the underwater conservation category

Captured by Alex Lindbloom this is Eco Tourism which won honourable mention in the underwater conservation category

Receiving an honourable mention in the compact macro category is this photo called 'I am shy' by Kathrin Landgraf

Receiving an honourable mention in the compact macro category is this photo called 'I am shy' by Kathrin Landgraf

Receiving an honourable mention in the compact macro category is this photo called ‘I am shy’ by Kathrin Landgraf

This incredible photo won second place in the underwater art category and is entitled Drowning in Plastic by Justin Lutsky

This incredible photo won second place in the underwater art category and is entitled Drowning in Plastic by Justin Lutsky

This incredible photo won second place in the underwater art category and is entitled Drowning in Plastic by Justin Lutsky

Second place in the macro category is this stark image of baby angelfish which was taken by Sayaka Ichinoseki in Japan

Second place in the macro category is this stark image of baby angelfish which was taken by Sayaka Ichinoseki in Japan

Second place in the macro category is this stark image of baby angelfish which was taken by Sayaka Ichinoseki in Japan

This shot called Alone was awarded second place in compact wide angle category and was taken by Joanna Chen in Australia

This shot called Alone was awarded second place in compact wide angle category and was taken by Joanna Chen in Australia

This shot called Alone was awarded second place in compact wide angle category and was taken by Joanna Chen in Australia

Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel owner and Underwater Photography Guide publisher Scott Gietler said: ‘The Ocean Art team was thrilled to see that so many photographers were able to get out, dive, and immerse themselves in photography this year.

‘The Best of Show was especially impressive.

‘My only concern is that the octopus should get its share of the prize, as it did assist in taking the shot!’

Link hienalouca.com

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