“Devil Ray Ballet” Spinetail devil rays, (Mobula japanica) Best of Show, Marine Life Behavior, 1st Place. Duncan Murrell. Shot in Honda Bay, Palawan, the Philippines
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.
“Gentle Giants” 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
“Nemo” Ocellaris Clownfish in ritteri sea anemone Portrait, Honorable Mention. Matteo Visconti. Shot in Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, Japan with Nikon D850
“Cannibal Crab” Spider Crabs Compact Behavior, 1st Place. PT Hirschfield. Shot in Victoria, Australia with Canon G12 Camera
“Dancing Jellyfish” Compact Wide Angle, 1st Place. Melody Chuang. Shot in North-East Coast, Taiwan with Olympus TG5 Camera
“Cleaning” 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
“Mangrove” 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.
“Open Eyes” 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
“Feasting” 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
“Burst” 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” Grey Seal Cold Water, 1st Place. Greg Lecoeur.
“The Fight” Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) Marine Life Behavior, 2nd Place. Anders Nyberg. Shot in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia with Nikon D500
“Ancistrocheirus” Sharp-eared enope squid (Ancistricheirus lesseurii). Macro, 1st Place. Jeff Milisen. Shot in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii with Canon T1i