In April the Underwater Photography Guide launched the Ocean Art Safe Under the Sea underwater photo competition to help raise money to fight coronavirus.

Whale shark following barracuda
Yannick Bruynoghe
“Welcome to Tubbataha”

The competition brought people from around the world together to dust off old hard drives, share the beauty of our oceans, and help the World Health Organisation in its fight to improve the health of the planet and its people.

Octopus scene in Scotland
Mark Kirkland
Shot in Cape Wrath. Scotland

Photographers from 79 countries entered. The quality of the photographs have been spectacular.  The Best of Show winning image, “Releasing Hope” by Edwar Herreno, does indeed convey hope for our future oceans. It shows marine biologist, Eduardo Espinosa, releasing a tagged hammerhead pup in order to study a unique shark nursery.

Baby hammerhead shark being released
Edwar Herreno
Releasing Hope

Paul Cox won first place in the wide angle category for his manta shot in South Kona, Hawaii.

Atomospheric manta ray and swimmer
Paul Cox
“Arms Wide Open”

Fighting skeleton shrimps won top honours in the macro category. The photographer, Lars Michaelis, commented “Diving at the famous divesite Arthur´s Rock, I noticed 2 big skeleton shrimps fighting for territory on a hydroid at 15m depth. All the other smaller shrimps kept distance and watched the fight. It was like in a boxing ring. The upper skeleton shrimp hit his rival´s head with one of his his big claws.The lower one stumbled backwards. The scene reminded me of the world champion-fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman 1974 in Kinshasa.”

Fighting skeletons
Lars Michaelis
“Rumble in the Jungle”

In the portrait category this magnificent mako shark was the winner for Jacopo Brunetti. Taken in Cabo San Lucas, Brunetti explained “Mako sharks display a strange behaviour called gaping. Mouth gaping in sharks has been considered to be either a threat display or a response to their innate territorialism especially when multiple makos are around. Makos are also attracted by the electricity of the camera, that’s why sometimes they gape at divers and bite the camera dome. This mako was a real player, he bited my dome 4 times on the same dive, this photo is the instant before he bites my dome. This mako was around 8 ft, it showed up from the deep on the typical vertical approach, like a silver rocket, amazing, pure adrenaline!”

Magnificent gaping mako
Jacopo Brunetti
“Vertical Approach”

Compact cameras had their own category, and the winner here was Uwe Schmolke for his photo of this beautiful nudibranch. It was taken in Tulamben, Bali.

Uwe Schmolke

Top prizes included more than a few gift certificates from Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel, a $500 gift certificate as well as an Ikelite DS161 strobe from Ikelite, the new Paralenz Vaquita dive camera from Paralenz, a 5 day dive package with AquaMarine Diving Bali and the Watergarden Hotel, and a trip for one at Atlantis Dive Resorts! Twelve different categories ensured a competitive contest for all levels and disciplines of underwater photography.

The wreck of the Rubis
Barraque Nicolas
Panoramic of the Rubis
Shot in South of France

Underwater Photography Guide publisher, Scott Gietler commented, “The images from this special competition, especially the winning conservation image, represent hope. Hope for our oceans, hope for our travel & dive industries ravaged by Coronavirus, and hope that our nations can come together.”

Cave diving in Yucatan
Petr Polách
Flooded Magic Castle

The organisers – Underwater Photography Guide – would like to extend “a heartfelt thank you to all the amazing underwater photographers that participated in this special underwater photo competition, and all the generous sponsors who made the competition possible.”

Octopus eating shrimp
Eric Hou

See more winning photos. All photographs copyright the photographer.


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