A TALENTED underwater photographer is showcasing the weird and wonderful life off the Cumbraes in a breathtaking new exhibition in Largs.

Ross McLaren, a teacher by trade, discovered the world of underwater photography six years ago and has travelled around Scotland showcasing what lurks beneath our waters.

The snapper has come face to face with jellyfish, octopus, squid and dogfish, as well as a host of other rarely-seen creatures.

Ross said: “I’ve made it my mission to try and show off what’s out there, although I’m no professional photographer nor an expert in marine biology.

“The number of people who don’t know that Scotland is home to these kinds of creatures is quite incredible.

“Our country is well-known around the world for its landscapes and coasts, but very few people get to see what’s beneath the waves.

“It really is beautiful down there and surprisingly very colourful, with some creatures that have to be seen to be believed.”

Ross says that the waters around the Cumbraes are a treasure-trove for underwater snappers.

He explained: “As part of Kilmarnock Sub-Aqua Club, we have a boat moored at Largs Yacht Haven, so diving around the Cumbrae’s is really convenient.

“Some of the dive sites around the two islands are fantastic, with huge underwater cliffs that have an abundance of wildlife in them.

“On the west side of Little Cumbrae there’s actually a shallow wreck called the Lady Isabella, and at some points people might look at my photos and think I’m at the Great Barrier Reef.

“A few weeks ago I came face-to-face with an octopus off Cumbrae.

“It appeared just sitting in the seabed and it made me realise how lucky I was to see all these incredible creatures up close and personal.”

Ross’ work is currently showing in the Open Water exhibition alongside paintings by Kelsey Todd at Gallery Sometimes inside Studio 44 in Boyd Street.

The exhibition will be open from 10am until 4.30pm every day until November 12.

Ross says he was nervous to showcase his work in person for the first time.

He added: “The idea of an exhibition is totally new for me although I'm looking forward to seeing what people think.

“If the exhibition helps people realise the creatures we are blessed with locally, then all the better.”

Ross’ work can also be viewed by searching for Underwater.ross on Facebook.