Photos: Award-Winning Shots From The 2012 Underwater Photo Contest
By Mark Johanson | Apr 21, 2012 05:19 AM EDT
Intrepid photographers submitted over 700 underwater images for the 2012 Underwater Photography Contest and an adorable red sea slug grinning for the camera was awarded the contest's star.
The annual contest, put on by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, showcases the colorful creatures typically beneath reach and awards prizes in three categories: macro, fish or marine animal portrait, and wide angle.
UM lecturer Myron Wang, one of the judges on the panel of experts, said "the quality of photos keeps getting better each year."
"Judging becomes more difficult when you have so many wonderful pictures to choose from," Wang gushed in a statement. "For me, there were excellent entries in every category but this year's standout was the great picture of the juvenile sperm whale taken by Douglas Lahle in Dominica. It is spectacular."
Yet, the best overall photo, equivalent to first place, went to Ximena Olds' shot of the headshield sea slug against a brilliant background of emerald green sea grass. Olds captured the creature on a trip to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A new addition to this year's contest was an online "Fan Favorite" poll on the Rosenstiel School blog. Over half of the 1,200 votes went to Todd Aki's shot of a jellyfish in Monterey, California.
The contest was open to all amateur photographers who earn no more than 20 percent of their annual income from photography. The winner received a trip on Blackbeard's Cruises, departing from Freeport, Bahamas.
Check out the beauties and beasts of the sea in the award-winning shots below:
Fan Favorite: Todd Aki Sea nettle Chrysaora quinquecirrh taken on an early morning shore dive off the Breakwater -- Monterey, California, USASource: Todd Aki Date:04/29/2012
1st Place Fish or Marine Life Portrait: Douglas A. Kahle Juvenile sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus -- DominicaSource: Douglas A. Kahle Date:04/29/2012
2nd Place Fish or Marine Life Portrait: Rockford Draper Paddle flap Rhinopias, Rhinopias eschmeyeri -- Bali, IndonesiaSource: Rockford Draper Date:04/29/2012
3rd Place Fish or Marine Life Portrait: Nicholas Samaras Nudibranch, Cratena peregrina – Chalkidiki, GreeceSource: Nicholas Samaras Date:04/29/2012
1st Place Macro: Todd Mintz Yellownose gobies, Elacatinus randalli, in bolder brain coral – Bonaire, Dutch CaribbeanSource: Todd Mintz Date:04/29/2012
2nd Place Macro: Davide Lopresti Porcelain crab, Porcellanella sp. on feathery sea pen - Komodo National Park, IndonesiaSource: Davide Lopresti Date:04/29/2012
3rd Place Macro: Marcello Di Francesco Emperor shrimp, Periclimenes imperator -- Ambon, IndonesiaSource: Marcello Di Francesco Date:04/29/2012
1st Place Wide Angle: Mark Fuller Lionfish, Pterois sp -- Eilat, Israel, Red SeaSource: Mark Fuller Date:04/29/2012
2nd Place Wide Angle: Matthew Potenski Red mangroves, Rhizophora mangle -- South Bimini, BahamasSource: Matthew Potenski Date:04/29/2012
3rd Place Wide Angle: Bill Lamp’l Soft corals and scalefin anthias, Pseudanthias squamipinnis -- Bligh Water, FijiSource: Bill Lamp’l Date:04/29/2012
1st Place Student: Kyra Hartog Whale shark, Rhincodon typus -- Isla Mujeres, MexicoSource: Kyra Hartog Date:04/29/2012
2nd Place Student: Phillip Gillette Harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera picta -- Similan Islands, ThailandSource: Phillip Gillette Date:04/29/2012
3rd Place Student: Austin Gallagher Juvenile tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, and lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris -- BahamasSource: Austin Gallagher Date:04/29/2012
Best Overall: Ximena Olds Headshield slug Chelidonura hirundinina -- St. Thomas, USVISource: Ximena Olds Date:04/29/2012