Underwater photographers from around the world explored the deep blue seas and all its mysteries for the 7th annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition. The high caliber of photographs entered across 16 categories made this the most competitive year ever. In the end, photographer Duncan Murrell came away with the top prize for his magical photo of three devil rays frolicking in Honda Bay in the Philippines.
Murrell framed these rarely observed animals in soft, ambient light as they carried out a courtship ritual, with two males pursuing one female. Murrell’s was just one of many incredible images awarded in categories like Marine Behavior, Reefscapes, Portrait, Wide Angle, and Macro. Over $80,000 in prizes were awarded to winning photographers, including a trip to the Solomon Islands and diving packages in Indonesia.
“This year’s outstanding underwater images in the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition continue to raise the bar for underwater photographers,” says Bluewater Photo and Travel owner and Underwater Photography Guide publisher, Scott Gietler. “Myself and the other three judges were honored to be viewing such amazing results of the dedication and drive of the human spirit.”
As the competition continues to push the boundaries of underwater photography, a new category highlighted underwater fine art photography—Underwater Art. This a new category for the 2018 competition allowed photographers to challenge themselves even further in how they depict underwater imagery.
From colorful reefscapes to insightful photographs of marine behavior, the winners of the 2018 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition are incredible reminders of the submerged world that we risk losing if conservation efforts aren’t successful. By pushing themselves to document life underwater, these photographers are doing a service to a public that may not be fully aware of the rich and complex world that lies below.
The winners of the 2018 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition capture the rich complexity of life underwater.
Humpback whale and her calf (Megaptera novaeangliae).
Wide-Angle, 1st Place. François Baelen.
Shot in Saint-Gilles, Reunion Island with Sony A7III
“Paddle Boarders Sunset”
Wide Angle, 2nd Place. Grant Thomas.
Shot in Ha’apai, Tonga with Canon 5D Mark III
Ocellaris Clownfish in ritteri sea anemone
Portrait, Honorable Mention. Matteo Visconti.
Shot in Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, Japan with Nikon D850
Compact Behavior, 1st Place. PT Hirschfield.
Shot in Victoria, Australia with Canon G12 Camera
Compact Wide Angle, 1st Place. Melody Chuang.
Shot in North-East Coast, Taiwan with Olympus TG5 Camera
White Banded Cleaner Shrimp
Marine Life Behavior, 6th Place. Liang Fu.
Shot in Tulamben Bali Indonesia with Canon 5DS
“Inside the Eggs”
Favorinus pacificus and eggs
Nudibranchs, 1st Place. Flavio Vailati.
Shot in Anilao, Philippines with Nikon D500 Camera
Soft coral grows on mangrove roots
Reefscapes, 1st Place. Yen-Yi Lee.
Shot in Raja Ampat, Indonesia with Canon 5D Mark IV Camera
Over $80,000 in prizes were awarded to winners of the contest, now in its 7th year.
Dancing shrimp (Rhynchocinetes uritai)
Portrait, 3rd Place. Doris Vierkötter.
Shot in Bali, Indonesia with Canon 7D Mark II
“Smile of a Friend”
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
Novice DSLR, 2nd Place. Antonio Pastrana.
Shot in Jucaro, Cuba with Nikon D850 Camera
“Face to Face”
Mirrorless Macro, Honorable Mention. Rafi Amar.
Shot in Shark Paradise, Bahamas with Olympus OM-D E-M1
Giant Kingfish predating on Giant Crown Jellyfish
Mirrorless Behavior, Honorable Mention. Pier Mane.
Shot in Sodwana Bay, South Africa with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
California Sealion in the kelp forest
Cold Water, 2nd Place. Tyler Schiffman.
Shot in Monterey bay, United States with Sony A7R III
“Grey Seal Face”
Cold Water, 1st Place. Greg Lecoeur.
Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis)
Marine Life Behavior, 2nd Place. Anders Nyberg.
Shot in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia with Nikon D500
Sharp-eared enope squid (Ancistricheirus lesseurii).
Macro, 1st Place. Jeff Milisen.
Shot in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii with Canon T1i
The competition is run by Underwater Photography Guide, a leading destination for tutorials, gear reviews, and news on underwater photography.
“Atlantic Spotted Dolphins”
Mirrorless Wide-Angle, 1st Place. Eugene Kitsios.
Shot in Bimini, Bahamas with Olympus E-M1 Camera
Reefscapes, 2nd Place. Tobias Friedrich.
Shot in Red Sea, Egypt with Canon 1DX Mark II
Supermacro, 2nd Place. Wayne Jones.
Shot in Anilao, Philippines with Canon 5D Mark IV
Oceanic Manta Ray
Novice DSLR, 1st Place. Alvin Cheung.
Shot it Socorro, Mexico with Nikon D810 Camera
Galapagos Sealion (Zalophus wollebaeki)
Mirrorless Wide-Angle, 3rd Place. Pier Main.
Shot in Galapagos Island with Olympus E-M1 Mark II Camera
“Red on Green”
Coral Goby on Coral
Macro, 2nd Place. Kate Tinson.
Shot in North Sulawesi, Indonesia with Olympus TG4
“Foggy Morning in Adams River”
Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)
Cold Water, 5th Place. Eiko Jones.
Shot in British Columbia, Canada with Nikon D800e Camera
Cuttlefish (Sepiola sp.)
Macro, 3rd Place. Fabio Iardino.
Shot in Trieste Gulf, Italy with Nikon D850
Yellowtail clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii) oxygenating its eggs
Mirrorless Behavior, 1st Place. Fabrice Dudenhofer.
Shot in Amami Oshima Island, Japan with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
“Sheep on the Shot”
Nudibranchs, Honorable Mention. Chun Ho Tam.
Shot in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
“3 Baby Seahorses”
Big-belly Seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis)
Mirrorless Macro, 1st Place. Steven Walsh.
Shot in Blairgowrie Pier, Victoria, Australia with Sony A7III Camera
Participants could select from 16 different categories, including a new Underwater Art section.
Hypselodoris bullocki nudibranch
Underwater art, 1st Place. Bruno Van Saen.
Shot in Bali, Indonesia with Nikon D810 Camera
“Discovering the Hidden Face of Yucatan”
Freediver in Cenote
Underwater Art, 3rd Place. Guillaume Néry.
Shot in Yucatan, Mexico with Sony A7R II Camera
“Two Inquisitive Friends”
Australian sea lion pups.
Wide Angle, 3rd Place. Celia Kujala.
Shot in Jurien Bay Marine Park, Western Australia, Australia with Nikon D500
Croc in the Mist”
Portrait, 2rd Place. Christina Barringer.
Shot in Banco Chinchorro, Mexico with Canon 6D Camera
Spotted Ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei)
Portrait, 1st Place. Claudio Zori.
Shot in Hurst Island, Canada with Nikon D300S
Supermacro, 1st Place. Edison So.
Shot in Anilao, Philippines with Canon 5D Mark III