The winners of the annual Through Your Lens Underwater Photo Contest—developed and produced by Scuba Diving Magazine—have just been announced, and they do not disappoint. Now in it’s 13th year, the contest drew more than 2,500 entries from all over the world. The winners were chosen from four categories—Wide-Angle, Macro, Conceptual, and Compact Camera—along with an overall winner, who took home a grand prize of $1,000 in cash.
The winning photographs reveal stunning underwater scenes and intimate moments, including a macro view into the eye of an ancient sea turtle, diving gannet birds chasing after their prey, and freedivers swimming in crystal clear waters. Each winning image gives an extraordinary firsthand glimpse of what lurks below and the wondrous underwater environments we rarely see.
Entries for next year’s contest can be submitted from October 15, 2017 until May 31st, 2018. Underwater photographers of all skill levels are encouraged to enter, so if you think you’ve got what it takes, pull on your diving gear and get out there!
Catch a glimpse of the water world. Here are the 2017 winners of the Through Your Lens underwater photo contest.
Grand Prize Winner
“Into the waters off the island of Noss in Shetland, Scotland I was surrounded by thousand of gannet birds feeding frenzy mackerel fishes. Plunging from between ten and fifteen meters above the water they reach up to one-hundred-kilometers per hour when they hit the surface. To catch their meal, they dive until 15 meters deep. I can hear them as they hit the water and then appearing in front of the camera. Regardless of the abundance of prey, competition between gannets is always going occur as when a gannet dives this indicates to the other gannets to dive creating several gannets diving for the same fish. Witnessing this behavior is something incredible and will remain engraved in my memory.”–Greg Lecoeur
First Prize – Compact Camera
“At the end of a muck dive in Lembeh Strait, I found this incredibly photogenic coconut octopus sitting on the black-sand bottom right next to my dive boat at a depth of just 13 feet. What looks like nighttime was a sunny afternoon dive — my setup and settings allowed me to get the photo exactly the way I wanted. To get close enough to the subject, I used a wide-angle wet lens with a single snooted strobe for lighting from the top. You’d think the octopus was posing for me; in fact, I was lucky enough to capture a beautiful moment while it was getting ready for an escape. Five seconds before the shot, the octopus was hiding in between its shells. Five seconds later, it was already rushing away from me.” –Kevin Richter
First Prize – Macro
“It was a day for macro pictures in Ecuador (pacific coast), I had decided to shoot small animals and I had prepared my whole equipment for macro pictures. Like often, in these occasions, I met a wonderful huge old green turtle covered by shells and resting on the bottom. It was absolutely not afraid by my presence and it let me approach closely without moving. My first reaction was … oh but why did I put a macro lens … And then, I noticed a small cleaner fish turning around the head of the old mama turtle. Sometimes the fish was really close to the eye’s turtle. So I decided to immortalize this moment with a picture.I wanted to have the eye and the cleaner fish on the same picture to add impact to the eye picture.” –Raoul Caprez
First Prize – Wide-Angle
“Last year I went to Tavarua, Fiji to do some surf photography with pro surfer Donavon Frankenreiter. When I discovered that Tonga was only a couple hours away, I called my travel agent to see about rerouting my trip last minute. It was highly recommended to have a reputable guide in place, but I figured I was so close that I had to take the chance. As luck would have it I caught the tail end of a group that had some guests depart early freeing up a spot for me. I had no idea what I was in for, but I had the shots in my head that I wanted to get and this was one of them. I was photographing the mom when this calf came from behind and breached right beside me. It was an experience I will never forget.” –Rodney Bursiel
First Prize – Conceptual
“Barefoot freediver in Barracuda Lake, Coron — The idea for the photo came together with my friend Catalin Craciun, also a gifted underwater photographer, Freedive Instructor and at the same time my underwater model. It is pleasant to work together with him because as an photographer he knows exactly what and how to do underwater. The image was taken with Freediving Coron at the famous Barracuda Lake, Palawan, Philippines in a depth of 8 to max 12 meters. We wanted to convey a feeling: Freediving…Freediving is not only about going up and down on a rope…freediving is about being natural underwater, it's about exploring the underwater world in the purest way, without any equipment, relying only on your natural abilities. Freediving is underwater freedom!” –Helmut Theiss