Delving The Deep: Spellbinding Yet Haunting Underwater Photography

By Stuart W December 26, 2023

This article was originally published on therocketsscience

Though we all know that almost three-quarters of the planet is covered in water, it doesn’t always feel like it. It’s easy to forget this since we spend most of our time on land and only ever think about the ocean when we crave a beach vacation.

Seas and oceans have intrigued and inspired mankind since the dawn of history. They have always been full of drama and mystery, and today, we feature terrifying pics that show you just how little we know about the deep sea. Beneath the surface is a whole other world that remains largely unexplored.

In this listicle, we explore mother nature in her element, proving to us yet again that we’re mere mortals at her mercy. These pictures will fascinate but also terrify you. Either way, we guarantee you don’t want to miss this. We’ve got crazy weather, shipwrecks, and incredible waters to explore, so keep reading!

A Huge Wave

A surfers delight, it may be, but waves like this are not to be taken lightly. The sheer force of energy stored inside this great wave is quite humbling since it has the potential to wreak untold havoc upon anything it encounters.

Image courtesy of Little-Helper/ Reddit

Of course, chances are that by the time it hits land, much of its power will have dissipated. That’s definitely a good thing, as we really don’t fancy getting in its way! The sea is not something to be messed around with.

Blue on Blue

The sky appears to us as blue because of reflection from the oceans. In this image, the sky and the sea are pictured with only a slight discrepancy between their shades. The effect is hypnotic, and the sense of calm is truly spectacular. 

Image courtesy of UserMcUserson/ Reddit

However, this picture inspires fear and dread more than peace. We can’t tell if the two ships here are sinking simultaneously or if there was fog, or if the person who snapped the photo did some weird editing. What do you think is happening here?

Another Example of a Great Wave

Photos usually have the uncanny ability to capture the essence of a particular time, place, or thing. We feel that this one did just that since it perfectly shows the raw power of the ocean at its most volatile. Awe-inspiring and terrifying in equal measure.

Image courtesy of u[deleted]/ Reddit

Some elite-level surfers get dropped, by helicopter, further out into the sea than your average surfer with the specific intention of catching such massive waves. Whilst we admire this kind of bravery, we’re perfectly happy just looking at the photos in the safety and comfort of our homes!

The Power of the Ocean

Beware that even on what appears to be the calmest of waters, nature can turn at any moment. The sheer power and force that is stored within these spectacular oceans is not something to be taken lightly, as you’ve seen. 

Image courtesy of chrisgagne/ Reddit

These waters can intimidate even the hardiest seafaring souls, but we suspect that this is part of the appeal. The beauty of an angry sea is something to behold because a photo like this, though incredibly terrifying, is also undeniably stunning.

Calm Turquoise Blue

This photograph was taken from the edge of what appears to be a fishing pier of some sort. The clarity of the water is what lends this image its beauty and calmness. We imagine that it would be a very pleasant spot to fish. 

Image courtesy of poolside_band_aid/ Reddit

Of course, by remaining safely on land (or at least very close to it), you won’t experience the fear factor of being in the middle of the water. We can’t deny that the clarity here just feeds into our fear since it shows just how deep these waters are.

Diving in the Deep

It’s not just the seas and oceans that are almost unimaginably deep. Some inland lakes and bodies of water go down incredibly deep as well. This photo was taken at the bottom of one of the greatest lakes in America.

Image courtesy of Seyens/ Reddit

The lake is called Lake Eerie, and the photo shows a diver inspecting the light sensors that line the walls of a neutrino detector. There are a total of 2,048 sensors down there, so it must have taken some time to complete the work! Imagine having to come to work here every day.

View From an Underwater Hotel

In recent years, luxury underwater hotels have become more and more prevalent. These establishments are famed for their unique locations, and the views are undoubtedly something to behold. Imagine waking up and taking in such a view. Spectacular, to say the least.

Image courtesy of Simonpkb/ Reddit

Looking at tropical fish is quite fascinating and even relaxing. It’s the reason why people get aquarium tanks or visit giant ones. However, sleeping here is a whole different thing. You would have to be a very gutsy person (not to mention moneyed).

Alex Dawson’s Stunning Underwater Photography

Alex Dawson is an underwater photographer who has won widespread acclaim and accolades with his series of underwater photographs. The two images shown here are fine examples of the sort of work he produces. Now we understand why he gets so many plaudits.

Image courtesy of Friendcherisher/ Reddit

These haunting images of a shipwreck and a whale graveyard capture the otherworldly qualities that are inherent to the ocean. To get into this line of work, we reckon you have to have a passion for adventure and photography, and he clearly does.

Fishermen Work the Ocean

The seas and oceans have, since the days of yore, provided sustenance and income to seafaring civilizations. This fishing boat is out trawling for fish and goes to show that if treated with respect, the water can help sustain life.

Image courtesy of TheMooJuice/ Reddit

Fishing is a tough way to make a living. Can you imagine having to face the open seas and terrifying creatures every other day? However, this photo here is nothing short of mesmerizing. The nets almost look like a giant green flower under the sea.

Storm Columns on the Horizon

Another reminder here of nature’s tremendous power. This series of small storm columns stir up the water and cause disruption and turbulence. Nature really is an all-powerful thing, and frankly, we should never underestimate it. This photo will convince you of that.

Image courtesy of tinylion286/ Reddit

Whoever took these photographs must have been feeling particularly brave, and all we can do is be thankful that they had a camera in hand at the time. Though these columns are relatively common, capturing this many at a time was quite lucky.

The Frothing Sea

The churn and turbulence of the world’s seas have inspired artists and writers for millennia. Photographs such as this one really emphasize the beauty we find in the water. But sometimes, we wonder just how someone took the time to capture them.

Image courtesy of TheBigsBubRigs/ Reddit

Because if we were at sea and saw something like this, taking a photo would be the last thing on our minds. We’d probably be begging Poseidon to have mercy on us and bargaining for our mortal souls! But Thank heavens for these daredevils.

Underwater, Otherworldly 

Over the past hundred years, marine technology has evolved and developed to such an extent that stunning images such as this one are now a lot easier to capture. Our ancestors would never have been able to see such wonder.

Image courtesy of Fredeight/ Reddit

There is almost an unnerving sense of beauty in this composition, and although it contains a sense of quiet serenity, there’s something quite unworldly about it. It’s almost as if it’s been taken from a completely different world from ours.

View of a Wreck

This unusual view of a shipwreck is quite striking in its peculiarities. You are looking at a cross-section of the sea here, so you really get a sense of depth in this photograph. Shipwrecks, though heartbreaking and sad, are always a fascinating thing to see.

Image courtesy of u[deleted]/ Reddit

The photo shows a diver on his way down to the sea floor to explore the wreckage. This type of diving is fraught with danger and is only done by highly trained and skilled professionals. It’s completely different from recreational diving.

Standing on the Edge of a Shipwreck

Divers are, by nature, adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers. The experience of exploring an underwater shipwreck would be amazing in itself, but to mess around balancing off of its railings takes it to the next level. But at least we all got a fantastic photo out of it!

Image courtesy of bikinireef/ Reddit

We wonder just how deep this wreck is in the water. It’s great that he or she had a buddy down there with them to capture such a once-in-a-lifetime picture. With this, they could confidently brag about being where no other man has ever been.

Shades of Sea Between Land

The ocean is a constantly changing entity, and the colors it exhibits and displays are almost hypnotic. Here, we can see how the different shades interact and give the picture an almost magical quality. We can’t take our eyes off it.

Image courtesy of Mtcv/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0

The difference in color is caused by various factors, including depth and swell, as well as vast shoals of tiny plankton that provide bigger sea creatures with sustenance. There is so much mystery out there and just as much beauty.

Eels on the Seabed

If there is a picture that will surely send shivers down the spine of any thalassophobic, then this is it. Just look at them all! The way they are all swaying together and seemingly looking in the same direction only adds to the effect.

Image courtesy of Mulpulty/ Reddit

Despite all the fascinating images of mysterious wrecks and amazing weather, this particular one makes us keen to keep our feet firmly on dry land. To be in this environment and to capture an image like this takes a different kind of, well, balls!

Abandoned Sea Defence Fort

During the Second World War, these defensive forts were built and maintained around the coast of the United Kingdom (and other coastal countries). They were to be the first line of defense from any attempted sea landing by the enemy.

Image courtesy of No-perception9546/ Reddit

After the war, they were decommissioned and abandoned, but the shells remain dotted around coastal regions as a reminder of how close the world came to the brink during those wartorn years. We can only hope we don’t see those days again.

Peace and Quiet on a Tiny Island

Whoever lives on this tiny island must really love their own company. It must be so peaceful and tranquil to live here. There are no noisy neighbors or traffic to contend with on this small little outcrop. It almost doesn’t seem real.

Image courtesy of Frosty_Direction_675/ Reddit

Though the idea of moving to a place that’s completely off the grid sometimes sounds appealing, this is way too off the grid, if you know what we mean. The only way we’d live here is if we were on the run. It would be perfect for a guy like “Raymond Reddington.”

Bottomless Pit

At first glance, this may look like just a normal, weathered water pit. While weathered is an apt description, this pit is the furthest thing from normal. Located in France, the pit is called La Fosse Dionne and is famous for being seemingly bottomless.

Image courtesy of Serynch/ Reddit

Numerous divers have reportedly tried to establish its depth over the years, and a big number have sadly perished in the process. Diving in this mysterious spring is now restricted because of that, so it looks like we’ll have to live with the fact that we’ll never know if it really has a bottom.

Eerie Isolation at Sea

The isolation and spooky emptiness of the ocean are really made vivid in this image. When you add in the rain, it sounds and looks even scarier. This photo appears to have been taken from the side of a ship and emphasizes how lonely life at sea can be. Just an empty sea and an empty sky.

Image courtesy of Jahstin/ Reddit

There are over 361 million square miles of ocean covering our planet, and we can’t help but think that when you are in the middle of it, it must feel like you are the only person in the whole world. It’s like being in the middle of the Sahara desert.

When the Tide Comes In

When the sea roars, everything disappears beneath its powerful rolling waves. This picture shows the only visible part of a groyne or sea defense. There is nothing quite like watching the tide rolling in and submerging everything in its path.

Image courtesy of R0XiDE/ Reddit

These sea defenses are long barrier-like structures that stretch out to sea and are usually built to break or ‘contain’ its power. However, we all know that Mother Nature is untamable, and this photo is just more proof of this fact.

An Old Flooded Mine Shaft

In a similar way that cave diving provides a thrilling opportunity for exploration, old flooded mines are equally as ripe for adventure. Mines are often abandoned when they have been depleted of their assets, and for whatever reasons, many of them become flooded.

Image courtesy of AVAN007/ Reddit

This diver is clearly keen to investigate this particular location. Just imagine the adrenaline rush of being down there all alone (well, besides the photographer). We bet coming up to land after experiencing such thrilling experiences must feel boring sometimes.

Nighttime by the Water

It’s amazing what can happen when you use night mode on your camera phone. Have you ever tried it? This picture gives a new perspective on a view of the water at night. It really does open your eyes to the beauty of a world we don’t always see.

Image courtesy of rollobones/ Reddit

From the starry night in the background to the translucence of the water at the front, this composition is very interesting. It is very atmospheric and gives us a real sense of what it was like being in that place.

Underwater Cave

An underwater cave, also known as a littoral cave, is a type of cave that is formed by erosion caused by the waves and tides of the ocean. People love to explore these naturally formed maritime caves, and we can see why.

Image courtesy of keeplayer109/ Reddit

Though we don’t have half the audacity or curiosity of most of the people who captured these photos, we have to admit that they are quite fascinating (once you get over the initial claustrophobia!) Would you ever consider diving here if you had the chance?

Sea Vs. Pool

Man-made structures populate all of the world’s oceans (some with more longevity than others). With all its tremendous force, the sea is always a worthy adversary to such structures, be they ships like the mighty Titanic or even something stationary.

Image courtesy of keeyno/ Reddit

This swimming pool is an example of mankind’s attempts to pacify nature’s power to conquer and destroy. The picture has definitely made us reconsider our love for beachfront living because we doubt anyone would survive such rage. If this was someone’s resort, we hope there was no one in the pool at the time.

Messing About in the Water

Swimming in open water is an exhilarating and life-affirming activity and one which brings great pleasure to many people. The smile on the face of this lady speaks volumes as to how much she is enjoying herself as she swims in the ocean while it rains.

Image courtesy of TheAthleticDiabetic/ Reddit

The sense of freedom you get while you are out frolicking in the open water is something that just can’t be replicated at a regular swimming pool. The only slight problem is you are never completely sure what is lurking beneath the surface!

A Series of Plunge Pools

We are not exactly sure why, but this photograph really gives us the creeps. There is definitely an element of claustrophobia at play here, and all the cameras don’t help. We are convinced there is something sinister about this place. 

Image courtesy of tired_blonde/ Reddit

It kinda makes us think it’s a villain’s secret facility. Although the buoyancy aid offers a modicum of reassurance, it is still not enough to offset the uneasy vibes we get from this image. We’re just glad our local pool isn’t like this!

An Eerie Stairway

If you have plans of getting yourself on an old rig for whatever reason, be prepared for scenes like the one pictured below. We don’t know about you, but there is no way we would go down these stairs. Nothing good could come from venturing down there.

Image courtesy of cricifixable/ Reddit

The elements and the ocean itself have clearly had an effect on this structure since the rust and wear are clearly visible. We bet within a few more years, more steps will be missing thanks to that. There won’t be a ladder anymore.

A Hole On The Ocean Floor

There are plenty of untold treasures to be found on the ocean floor. At the same time, there are also plenty of creepy, less desirable things to find. But that happens on land too, so maybe in some aspects, the sea and land are a bit similar.

Image courtesy of Just-FUXXYT/Reddit

Diving here must be like entering a new and completely alien world. It takes a different kind of courage to see such a vast dark hole and dive right in without a care. We hope those who do this professionally get paid insane amounts of money because it must be extremely risky and hard.

View From a Plane Over the Ocean

Just look at that view! Air travel is known for providing spectacular views, and that is usually more evident when flying over the ocean. This image depicts a massive rolling wave, and from this angle, you can really appreciate its size.

Image courtesy of KittenThunder/ Reddit

Spectacular views such as these are quite humbling since they allow us to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us. For example, the travelers on this plane were treated to the sight of the ocean’s drop-off. So scary yet so stunning.

Steps Leading to Dark, Brooding Waters

This dock has a set of steps at the end of it for ease of embarking and disembarking any boats that happen to moor close to it. On this occasion, the weather seems to be on the turn, so it looks like the steps just lead to death!

Image courtesy of Ethereal_Symphony/ Reddit

As the old saying goes, ‘any port in a storm,’ and it looks like there is one brewing here. Storms at sea can be extremely vicious, so we hope whoever snapped this had a quick way out. Honestly, after seeing all these photos, lakes are now our favorite bodies of water.

A Storm is Brewing

When mother nature decides to unleash her fury upon the seas, the results are spectacular and frightening. The bruising sky is mirrored by the disquieted waters, and the awesome power of this meteorological event is almost palpable to the viewer.

Image courtesy of

A land-bound storm can certainly be scary, but such a thing out in the middle of constantly evolving water takes it to a whole new level. We still can imagine that somebody actually had to be there to capture this moody image.

Right Down at the Bottom, a Diver Explores

The seabed is scattered with all manner of things that make it a perfect destination for deep-sea divers to explore. The structure in this photo has obviously been underwater for quite some since nature has obviously grabbed a foothold on it.

Image courtesy of magicfeistybitcoin/ Reddit

Barnacles and various seaweeds have attached themselves to every exposed surface and made themselves at home. It doesn’t take long for things like these to happen down there since the ocean has a rich ecosystem, and as we’ve seen, it always wins in the end.

Luxury Villa on the Cliff Face

Wow! We would certainly be very keen to visit this place. Living by the coast has often been associated with wealth and luxury, and this picture is a perfect display of opulence and conspicuous wealth. This is such a magnificent view!

Image courtesy of yeokyungmi/ Reddit

From the style of the villa, we imagine this picture was taken somewhere around the Mediterranean Sea. The miles and miles of glorious coastline are a place of wonder, just as this one is. Just imagine sunbathing on that terrace! 

Something in the Murk

If you look carefully at this image, you will be able to make out something underneath the surface of the water. However, much as we have tried, we can’t really tell what it is. Chances are it’s just a harmless piece of debris but on the other hand…

Image courtesy of Loophone1/ Reddit

it could be Poseidon’s trident! Jokes aside, the oceans are home to all sorts of weird and sometimes terrifying creatures. It’s the reason why stories of fearsome sea monsters have been around for as long as we’ve existed, so forgive us if we aren’t willing to dive and find out what this is.

Where Water Meets Land

Some of the most dramatic shots we have seen offer a juxtaposition between land and sea. Pictures such as this one provide rich contrast both in terms of color and texture. The point where they meet is always a source of emotive imagery.

Image courtesy of CrazyPomelo98/ Reddit

This outdoor seawater pool is man-made, but as we have seen in earlier examples, nature always finds a way to survive and thrive. Here we can see seaweed and other foliage starting to claim their place on the concrete wall of the reservoir.

Oil Rig

This is a fascinating example of something that not a lot of people would have seen before. This cross-section shows not only an oil rig jutting out from the waves of the ocean but also what it looks like beneath the surface of the water.

Image courtesy of Divulgação Petrobras / wiki commons / CC BY 3.0

These expensive structures are designed and built to last in the harsh and unpredictable conditions of the ocean. The lifespan of a rig like the one in the picture is usually between twenty and thirty years. Once again, mankind proves that even though nature is stronger, we are sometimes quite impressive too!

The Famous Bluehole

Blueholes are naturally occurring phenomena that happen when the ground suddenly gives way and leaves in its place a great void. A version of these holes can occur on land, but they’re also present in water. In fact, water is the main reason they form.

Image courtesy of j_smittz/ Reddit

When water dissolves minerals in the rocky surface of the earth, it can leave open spaces within the rock itself, which eventually results in sudden collapses. The one pictured here is found in China and is said to be one of the world’s deepest.

A Sea Kayak Pushing Through the Mist

Sea kayaking is a popular, enjoyable pastime that gives you the perfect opportunity to gain a new perspective on things. Being so low and close to the surface of the water gives you an incredible view that is undeniably breathtaking.

Image courtesy of Beamng47/ Reddit

Even on misty days such as this one, you can still get an idea of how small we are compared to our great bodies of water. The mist gives this image an almost surrealist quality, and even though these waters look calmer than most of the ones we’ve seen, they’re still a bit unsettling.

Close Call

Sometimes the sheer size of the waves seas can produce is almost too large to comprehend. This image gives you a good idea of the scale that the ocean works in. Imagine a set of these barrelling toward your home! 

Image courtesy of Daan-91/ Reddit

We doubt you have ever seen something this scary with regard to waves and people’s homes. Luckily, we have some good news for you since these aren’t waves. They are just clouds that, for some reason, look like the biggest waves ever!

Two Divers Exploring

This evocative photograph depicts two deep-water divers exploring. Note the plumes of bubbles rising above them, expelled from their breathing apparatus. They look like they’re investigating an underwater cave or cavern using a special light known as a dive torch.

Image courtesy of happyjitterbug/ Reddit

It must be a strange and eerie feeling to know you are investigating a part of the world that very few, if any, have ventured into. It must almost feel like you are entering a completely new realm, like finding Atlantis.

Giant Bridge Spanning the Water

Sometimes a boat is just not practical when people need to cross great bodies of water often. This gigantic bridge is not only a fantastic feat of engineering but also a brilliant venue to take some awesome photos, wouldn’t you agree?

Image courtesy of The Broadlife

Examples such as this one really highlight how far mankind has come in terms of technological advances. If you would like to see this incredible bridge up close, find your way to Lake Pontchartrain in Louisana. It’s an excellent idea for a road trip!

All Alone in the Ocean

The world’s oceans take up about 71% of its surface; that’s nearly three-quarters! If you are sailing the seas on your own, you can find yourself completely alone, miles and miles away from another human being. We can’t imagine ever doing that ourselves since that sense of isolation would be immense.

Image courtesy of ItsACellarDoor/ Reddit

Some people thrive in the tranquility of being completely alone. Still, even for those brave souls, the sense of trepidation here must be extreme. It must take a certain type of courage to be at peace, knowing that your survival depends entirely upon yourself and Mother Nature’s mercies.

The View From a Jetty

Water is naturally reflective; that’s why the sky is blue. Sometimes the light can play in strange and mysterious ways over a body of water and yield effects such as the ones pictured here. Check out the contrast of the dull wood with the luminosity.

Image courtesy of A_Complicated_Thing/ Reddit

Artists of all types have always been attracted to and inspired by water. There is something magical and almost magnetic about its appeal. After seeing this photo, we’re certainly feeling inspired! That’s one of the greenest greens we’ve ever seen!

Floating in the Hull of a Shipwreck 

Sometimes the wreckage of a boat or ship will, after a while, get eroded and disintegrate. Others, such as the one pictured below, retain their structure to a greater or lesser degree. This fun-loving swimmer clearly had his eye on a unique photo.

Image courtesy of airhogg/ Reddit

Wrecks such as this one are pretty common around the world, and we’re sure this gentleman is not the first to spot the potential for fun and an eye-catching picture. If you decide to do this sometime in the future, remember to treat the wreck cautiously.

Killers in the Waves

You know how some movies have intriguing villains who, in addition to being ruthless, are also super smart? Well, these whales are that kind of villain in the marine world. Orcas, often called killer whales, are stunning but deadly creatures of the sea.

Image courtesy of RandyLynn1/ Reddit

They are also quite brilliant as they’ve been known to dupe unsuspecting fishermen and strike when they least expect it. Seeing how happy they look in such rough seas, we can’t help but fear them even more! Beautiful but deadly.