One in a Million
"We cruised in the boat looking for their dorsal fins for hours and that is when we came across an enormous moon jellyfish bloom that stretched for several hundred meters," Watkins said in a statement. "It was surreal and more dense than anything I had ever experienced, including Jellyfish Lake in Palau. I came across this Lion's Mane Jellyfish rising from the bloom towards the surface and positioned myself directly over it to capture this image." Watkins' shot won the Wide Angle category.
Dumitrescu's photo snagged third place in the Macro category.
"Shrimps are challenging subjects to photograph; we have to portray their beautiful colors and shape, and especially focus on the eyes," Freitas said. During a late-afternoon dive "I saw this shrimp underneath the rock in a perfect position to make a backlighting technique, using continuous lighting. Immediately I turned off my strobes and asked my buddy to put the lighting behind the shrimp; he was very good putting the light exactly where I wanted it. I took only 4 pictures and then the shrimp vanished. It is important to know your techniques and when to use them, it is the key to making those special pictures with something more than the norm."
Views at dawn
"One of my favorite subjects has been the blue sea pen, which hosts different shrimps and gobies," photographer Jenny Stromvoll said. "With its flowing lines and beautiful polyps any subject inside this orange and blue sea pen is beautifully offset and lends itself to an artistic composition. Once I learned to dive with sea pens and their inhabitants, I got to know that they are quick to retract into the sand if threatened. Coupled with this, a deep nitrox decompression dive adds to the complexity. My husband found this sea pen on a recent dive and even though he had a camera himself, he was kind enough to give me an opportunity to take some photos."
And the judges were sold: "Portraits don't have to be cute or quirky. This one tugs the heartstrings, as the scorpionfish strains against the net. The long exposure and zoom really adds to the drama of the scene," judge Alex Mustard said.
I've got my eye on you!
"I have shot many whip gobies, but this particular shot was taken with the Inon compact bug-eye lens which added a lot of character to the goby's eye," Stromvoll said. "The trick was to get close enough without the goby moving away. I was fortunate enough to find a very forgiving goby who allowed me into his private space. I knew I had to get down low and shoot up to include the surface of the water. I shot this scene many times before getting the image I was after."
Hyppocampus guttulatus double exposure
"Pygmy seahorses are some of the most shy beings I've ever met. The strobes and strong light are not to their liking and most of the time they just turn away. My goal was to use as [little] light as possible, so I've built my own snoot in order to accomplish that," Dumitrescu said. "It creates a 'needle' of light. Not bothered by flashes or torches, this pygmy looked straight into the camera, offering me one of the most rewarding hypnotic portraits I have ever shot."
Barrio got a "Highly Commended" award in the Portrait category for this shot.
Here's what judge Alex Mustard had to say about the image: "What a fantastic character, it is hard to imagine a fish so bizarre can really exist."
Medusa Blenny on the Lookout
Hoksbergen got a "Commended" award in the Up & Coming category.
Through the coral window
Purple baubles in a sea of yellow
Pinski won a "Commended" award in the Up & Coming category for his jellyfish shot.
They eyes have it
Scottish Fireworks Anemone
Yates won the British Waters Compact category for the resulting shot.