11 Honorable Mention, Portrait Category, "Nemo" By Matteo Visconti
The relationship between the ocellaris clownfish that dwell among the tentacles of Ritteri sea anemones is a good example of mutualism. The territorial fish protects the anemone from anemone-eating fish, and in turn the stinging tentacles of the anemone protect the clownfish from its predators.
12 3rd Place, Marine Life Behavior, "Love From A Father" By François Baelen
When it comes to clownfishes, we can safely say that Daddy does everything he can to make sure the next generation is safe. He takes care of the eggs by making them breathe with his fins; he removes dust, debris and dead eggs from the nest. This was a really lucky shot as I was trying a new wetlens (+20 diopter). It is pretty hard to use because its depth of field is so shallow that I had to focus manually. What a surprise it was to get this lovely behavior and the clownfish eye in perfect focus!
13 2nd Place, Wide-Angle Category, "Paddle Boarders Sunset" By Grant Thomas
Stand up paddle boarders were out exploring the shallow reefs at sunset. I wanted to demonstrate the innate bond humans have with the ocean, whether we are physically in it or floating on the surface. Our inherent relationship with the ocean is eternal and we must care for it in a way that ensures sustainability for the future.
14 4th Place, Portrait Category, "Eye To Eye" By Shane Keena
A curious and quite playful humpback whale calf comes in for a close look in an amazing few seconds between two sentient beings. This calf was rolling around as its mom slept then swam towards me, turning and slowing down just long enough for us to make eye to eye contact.
15 1st Place, Nudibranch, "Inside The Eggs" By Flavio Vailati
During a dive in Anilao, Philippines I found this nudibranch and I waited for the best time to make this shot.
16 2nd Place, Cold Water, "Burst" By Tyler Schiffman
I was diving the break wall in Monterey bay and this week in particular had over 40 foot vis for 3 days straight. I had been shooting kelp bursts all day as the light was exploding amongst the canopy above. I had framed this shot waiting for a sea lion to swim by. After 5 minutes, one swam up and paused for a few seconds, I took 3 photos and as rare as it was the moment left in a blink of an eye.
17 4th Place, Wide-Angle Category, "West Coast Flowers" By Geo Cloete
Each year during the early spring, the normally barren looking West Coast landscape of South Africa undergoes a magnificent transformation as millions of wildflowers bloom and decorates the landscape in a kaleidoscope of colours as far as the eye can see. When I stumbled upon this scene of sandy anemones (Aulactinia reynaudi) whilst exploring the West Coast coastline, it immediately reminded me of the yearly flower season of the region. Only in this instance nature treats us to this beautiful display year round and a wonderful reason to appreciate and give recognition to the wonders of our coastline much more. In order to capture as wide a field of view as possible, I relied on my trusty fisheye lens and applied a lens correction function.
18 3rd Place, Nudibranch, "Frosted Pearl" By Bettina Balnis
Beside giant jellyfishes, octopuses, and seastars - all subjects too big for my macro lense - I suddenly saw this beautiful creature crawling on a kelp leave. Fantastic. I watched it until the end of the dive. Never saw such a beautiful nudibranch again
19 3rd Place, Mirrorless Wide Angle, "No No!" By Pier Mane
While diving in Galapagos looking for Mola Mola, we encounter playful Sealions (Zalophus wollebaeki). This particular one used to shake his head side-to-side, like he was saying no for a photograph. But he remained in the same spot for minutes at the time prior to moving away for a few minutes and then returning. What caught my eye was his beautiful whiskers. The dark water, limited natural light, and fast movement of the sea lion was a challenge.
20 6th Place, Marine Life Behavior, "Cleaning" By Liang Fu
A white-banded cleaner shrimp hopped into the mouth of a grouper to have some leftover food. While at the same time, the grouper has its mouth cleaned by the shrimp. This cleaning behavior ensures both species mutually benefit from this symbiotic relationship. I am fascinated by this behaviorbetween the grouper and the shrimp. To capture this moment, I tried to use a snoot with side-back lighting to create a strong shadow of the body of the grouper while at the same time lighting up the mouth. Lucky enough when a shrimp jumped just on the edge of the mouth, I got the photo that I was hoping for.