Opening: September 9, 2019
Deadline: November 30, 2019
Entry fee: $10 per photo
Prizes: valuable prizes
The contest features almost 30 incredible liveaboard, resort, and photo gear sponsors exceeding $80,000 USD in value. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in all categories will be able to choose from excellent prizes.
Judges include world-renowned underwater photographers Tony Wu, Martin Edge, Marty Snyderman and Scott Gietler. Martin Edge is the author of The Underwater Photographer, a top-selling book on underwater photography. Marty Snyderman is an Emmy winner with work appearing in top publications like National Geographic. Tony Wu is a renowned underwater photographer and author of Silent Symphony. Scott Gietler is the owner of Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel and the Underwater Photography Guide.
Winners will be announced early January, 2020.
Any photo that shows a wider angle of view than the human eye (35mm focal length), including over-under shots (half in the water, half out), and close-focus wide-angle photos.
Any photo where the subject is recorded as lifesize or greater on the camera’s image sensor, also known as a 1:1 (or greater) reproduction ratio.
- Marine Life Behavior
An underwater photograph showing marine life in action (e.g. feeding, cleaning, schooling, yawning, playing, mating).
- Marine Life Portrait
A portrait shot of an animal underwater including fish, sharks, sea lions, octopus, marine birds, etc. A portrait shot usually focuses on a single subject and shows their personality. Portraits can be full body shots or framed tightly around the face/head.
- Cold Water / Temperate Water
Any underwater photograph taken in a cold or temperate water environment where the water is below 15C/59F for most of the year AND/OR one of the following destinations: California, New Zealand, UK, Northern Europe, Artic/Antarctic, Chile, Tasmania, Black Sea, Pacific Northwest, and Northern Atlantic. The Mediterranean and southern Australia are not included in this category (Tasmania is eligable as Cold Water).
The main subject of the photo should be a nudibranch. Any sea slug is ok for this category. We suggest that the nudibranch(s) is very prominent in the photo.
Photos depicting a subject that is very small. A typical macro lens will achieve a 1:1 reproduction ratio at the minimum focus distance. Supermacro is anything beyond this, where the subject is recorded on the sensor larger than seen in real life.
Any photo where the living reef is the subject of the photo, similar to an underwater landscape shot. Reefscapes may use the close focus wide-angle technique and also may incorporate large fish, diver or other animal, as long as they are shown in the reef habitat among the hard and soft corals, sponges and other reef life.
- Novice Wide Angle
Wide-angle photos taken with any camera. Anyone can enter this category who feels like they are still a “beginner” photographer. A beginner photographer has been using their camera underwater for less than 2 years and has never placed or received an honorable mention in any national or international underwater photography competition. Photographers matching this description are not limited to the Novice categories and can also enter their photos in any of the above categories.
- Novice Macro
Macro photos taken with a compact camera. Anyone can enter this category who feels like they are still a “beginner” photographer.
Blackwater photos are taken of pelagic subjects (i.e., organisms in the water column – not on the bottom) with a characteristic black background. Most blackwater subjects are macro subjects, though some may be larger, as long as the photo maintains a black background and the subject does not live on the bottom. Most blackwater images are taken at night, though we accept images taken during the day, as long as they have a black background. Photos from both Blackwater and Bonfire dives are both accepted in this category.
- Underwater Conservation
Photos that inspire a feeling to protect and care for our oceans, lakes, rivers, or any natural underwater environments. Images can be of environmental tragedy or heroic scenes of environmental protection. In this category, the image does not need to be taken underwater, but it should be related to underwater conservation.
- Compact Wide-Angle
Wide-angle photos taken with a compact camera. Wide-angle subjects are generally larger than 6 inches. Compact cameras are definted above.
- Compact Macro
Macro and supermacro photos taken with a compact camera. Macro subjects are generally smaller than 6 inches. Compact cameras are defined above.
- Compact Behavior
Photos showing marine life in action (e.g. feeding, cleaning, schooling, yawning, playing). Compact cameras are defined above.
- Underwater Art
Photos entered in this category can be taken in any underwater environment – including controlled environments (e.g., pools, tanks). The main subject can be anything ranging from an abstract concept to a person (a diver, freediver, model, etc.) to a fish. Commercial photographs are allowed. There are no post-processing restrictions in this category, so let your imagination fly.
- Entry Fee is $10 USD per photo
- Enter 10 photos and get the 11th free (11 for $100)
- or pay for 20 photos and get 2 free photos (22 for $200)