Photographers from 50 countries entered this year’s renowned Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition, organized by the Underwater Photography Guide. The overall winner was Ray Collins with his shot through the arc of a wave on a Gold Coast Beach.

Through a breaking wave on the Gold Coast Australia. Best in show awarding winning photo by Ray Collins.
Underwater – Kirra Point. Best in Show and 1st Place Wide-Angle Category

Judge Martin Edge, author of the Underwater Photographer, said of the winning photo “The ‘Best in Show’ image, in my opinion was simply incredible from the very first moment I set eyes on it. Simply loved this shot!”

If you like it check out the works of George Karbus. He takes some excellent through-wave shots, as well as underwater photos.

Martin Edge was joined on the judging panel by acclaimed photographers Tony Wu, Marty Snyderman and Scott Gietler. There are at least four winners in each of the twelve categories: Wide-Angle, Macro, Portrait, Behaviour, Novice, Nudibranchs, Super Macro, Divers & Fashion, Cold Water, Compact Macro, Compact Wide-Angle and Compact Marine Life Behaviour. The judges also awarded honourable mentions and in some categories a fifth place.

The macro category winner was Ron Watkins with this fascinating shot.

1st Place, Macro by Ron Watkins “Tiny Refuge in the Dark” Shot on a black water dive in Kona, Hawaii with Nikon D800

The photographer recounted “While in Kona, I went out on a Black Water Dive with Kona Honu Divers where we were attached to a 40 foot vertical line in over a thousand feet of water at 10 pm. While suspended in the black water you observe life forms that you have never seen before or even imagined that surface in the shallows. Every dive is an adventure and full of life.”

Another striking image in the macro category, awarded the 5th prize, was that of a skeleton shrimp taken with a super macro converter.

Skeleton shrimp taken at Tulambem by Digant Desai
Skeleton shrimp Tulambem by Digant Desai

The cold-water category had winning shots and honourable mentions taken in Norway, Switzerland, Alaska, Estonia and Austria.

Cold Water Dive, Norway by Lill Haugen
Winner of the cold-water category, Bigmouth by Lill Haugen.

Winner Lill Haugen commented on her photo “Divers on the north-western coast of Norway sometimes find really huge angler fish. This odd looking, well camouflaged ocean floor dweller has an enormous mouth – planning to ambush and eat anything that comes along, attracting its prey with a “lure”, which is connected to a fishing rod-like thing on top of its head. This cold water fish can get seriously large – 2 meters long and over 100 kilograms!”

Interestingly the judges chose a black and white shot for the second prize.

Black and white fresh water dive in Switzerland by David Salvatori
“Towards the Light” Shot in Ticino, Switzerland with Nikon D800E by David Salvatori

An electric spider crab won the portrait category, beating the manta ray and hammerhead shark.

Electric Spider Crab by Nonna Pokras
Electric Spider Crab by Nonna Pokras
Hammerhead shark by Christine Shepard
Hammerhead shark by Christine Shepard, placed fourth in the portrait category

One family of animals had a section all to itself, the beautiful nudibranchs.

Glaucus Atlanticus by Eduardo Acevedo Fernandez in the Canary Islands
Winner by Eduardo Acevedo Fernandez. “Glaucus Atlanticus” Shot in the Canary Islands.
Doto sp. on Nudibranch with Eggs Shot in Tulamben, Indonesia with Canon 5D Mark III by So Yat Wai
Doto sp. with Eggs Shot in Tulamben, Indonesia with Canon 5D Mark III by So Yat Wai

Nudibranch: Flabelina nobilis by Luc Rooman

Nudibranch by Jackie Hildering

Nudibranch by Diana Paboojian Shot in Tulamben, Bali with Nikon D7100
“Peep’s Lil Sheep” Shot in Tulamben, Bali with Nikon D7100 by Diana Paboojian

If you fancy entering next year here are some tips from the judges

  1. Don’t enter an almost identical image you did last year. We remember!
  2. Look out for unwanted distractions along the edge of the image. There’s nothing worse to hinder your primary subject!
  3. Some potential contenders lost out from both over processing and over sharpening. Resist the temptation to “Give it a little bit more’.
  4. 99.9 % of the time, eyes (if visible) have to be sharp.
  5. And finally, basic photo techniques matter: focus, lighting, composition, and such. There was one image in particular of which the judges were very fond. Tony Wu comments “The sad thing was that it was not in focus. Though we agonized about it, there is no way I can endorse an out-of-focus image as a selection for a photo contest (unless of course being out of focus is intentional and part of the overall composition and style).”
Juvenile file fish, Lembeh, Indonesia by Gicaomo Marchione
File fish, Lembeh, Indonesia by Gicaomo Marchione; Third place in macro category.

Thousands of entries were viewed by the judges before the final set of images were selected and deemed some of the best underwater photos in the world.


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