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Dive under the sea with 'Underwater Photographer' winners

Shipwrecks, sharks, inquisitive sea lions and even a long-necked swan make the grade in this stunning underwater photography contest.

Would you like to be, under the sea, in an octopus' garden, in the shade? Underwater photographers are living the dream, and the images they send back are like postcards from Atlantis.

The annual Underwater Photographer of the Year contest "seeks to celebrate photography beneath the surface of the sea, lakes, rivers and even swimming pools." The contest has 10 categories, including one for photos taken near or on shipwrecks, and 3 categories for photos taken in British waters.

A photograph of a hunting octopus won French diver Gabriel Barathieu the title Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017. His image beat out 4,500 underwater photos taken by photographers from 67 countries.

And though many of the photos are captured deep under the sea, Baratheiu's winner wasn't one of them.

"͞It was taken in knee-deep water, showing that underwater photography is open to anyone who is prepared to dip their toe in the water," said judge and underwater photographer Alex Mustard.

Here's a look at just a small sampling of the winning and commended images announced earlier this month.