by Viktor Lyagushkin
This winning photograph was taken near Ekaterinburg, Russia. Lazurny is an old neglected quarry, totally filled with ground waters. Pine trees and bushes on its bottom remain green for many years. In winter the quarry is covered with thick ice and snow. The circles and rays on ice “sky” are man-made. According to Russian ice diving standards the snow should be removed from the ice in such a manner as to let divers orientate themselves beneath the ice and easily find their way back.
Feather duster worms
by Domenico Roscigno, 2nd in wide angle category
I knew that a big mooring line in the port of Sorrento, Italy had been completely colonized by feather duster worms of every color and size. On a fine summer day I went diving on the site, and I spent more than an hour to take a lot of photos. I was waiting a lot of the time, because when the worms reopened their corollas, I had the impression that the line had been animated!
Nikon D800E, Sigma 15mm fisheye, dual strobes
F13, 1/200th, ISO 200
A halocline layer and tree create an eerie mood in Cenote Angelita near Tulum, Mexico
by Phil Davison
This shot was taken on one of the most unusual and interesting dives I have ever done, in Cenote Angelitas on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula with my dive guide Julian Borde. Descending through crystal clear fresh water into the sinkhole which bottoms out at almost 60 metres, we passed a couple of the many trees which have fallen in over thousands of years and decomposed. As they rot, a chemical called hydrogen sulphide is produced which forms a cloudy acidic (and eggy tasting!) layer that sits at around 35 metres deep, on the boundary between the fresh water and the heavier salt water at the bottom of the cenote. This cloud is so thick that the light from my buddy's cave diving torch all but disappeared as we passed through it.
Swimming around the sinkhole we came across the remains of this massive tree clawing its way up out of the thick fog. As my buddy swam underneath it I captured this shot which sums up the dive really nicely. Even at 35 metres there is still plenty of light filtering through the clear water from above and I love the way that the sunlight catches off the tree branches whilst the divers torch lights up the mist below.
Olympus OM-D EM-5, Panasonic 7-14mm lens at 8mm
F4.0, 1/100th, ISO 3200
Nudibranch, Horseshoe Bay, Komodo, Indonesia
by Phil Sokol
We were exploring the far side of Horseshoe Bay, Komodo, Indonesia across from the island of Rinca. In a small, protected cove, we followed the wall down to the sandy slope and strated to go deeper. In the middle of the sand, atop a small rock as if posing was the most magnificent nudibranch I had ever seen! I was able to position myself further down the slope and get below him and he maintained his pose, allowing me to get a couple shots before he began to move off his perch.
Canon 7D, Canon 100mm lens
F14, 1/250, ISO 160, 2 x Inon Z240 strobes
by Jeffrey Milisen
This was taken at night, five miles off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The photographer says “The tiny octopus stopped in my lights, intently studying me as I studied it, and then began to expressively posture and react to my every move. The cephalopod would move into position then freeze for a few seconds before adjusting its exaggeratedly long arms again. It went through probably a dozen different poses before moving on and into far deeper water than my comparably feeble physiology would allow.”