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Ocean Photography Awards
Ocean photographer of the year
I Photo by Aimee Jan

8 Awards, 7 Judges Unlimited Stories

8 Awards, 7
Judges Unlimited Stories

BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Oceanographic

The Ocean Photography Awards™ are a celebration of our beautiful blue planet, as well as a platform to highlight the many plights it is facing.

A total of eight awards, including the inaugural Female Fifty Fathoms Award, have been announced this year, with the overall winner named the Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021! Congratulations Aimee Jan!

The Prizes:

Find out more about the prizes being awarded at this year’s awards:

The Prizes

In partnership with:

Blancpain
Princess
Western Australia

Supported by:

SeaLegacy

Other Partners:

Find out more about the other partners at this year’s awards:

Partners

In partnership with:

Blancpain Princess Western Australia

Supported by:

SeaLegacy

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Oceanographic

The Prizes

More info on prizes

Other Partners

More info on partners

THE
JUDGES

ANDY MANN
CRISTINA MITTERMEIER
JOHN WELLER
AMI VITALE
ANDRÉ MUSGROVE
PAUL NICKLEN
SHAWN HEINRICHS
THE OCEAN Photographer of the Year

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Matty
Smith

3RD PLACE

Third

A Hawksbill turtle hatchling, just 3.5cm long, takes its first swim. “This turtle had emerged from an egg just minutes earlier with approximately 100 of its siblings,” says photographer Matty Smith. “They quickly made their way across the sand and into the ocean to disperse as rapidly as they could and avoid predation from birds and fish. I had to work quickly for this shot.”

2°39’52.0”S150°43’56.1”E
Lissenung Island,
Papua New Guinea

Henley
Spiers

2ND PLACE

Second

Gannets diving for food. “Diving amidst the barrage of gannets, I witness the violent synchronicity of these impressive seabirds as they embark on fishing dives,” says photographer Henley Spiers. “Their piercing glare scans for prey, even as they hit the water at 60mph, an impact they can only withstand thanks to specially evolved air sacs in the head and chest. The agility of the birds transfers from air to sea, swimming with an incredible speed of reaction as other gannets torpedo into the sea.”

60°08’43.8”N1°01’10.9”W
Isle of Noss,
Shetland, UK

Aimee
Jan

1ST PLACE

First

A green turtle, surrounded by a ball of glass fish, one of four turtle species found on Ningaloo Reef, the world’s largest fringing reef. “We were doing a back-of-the-reef snorkel when one of my work friends called me over to tell me there was a turtle under a ledge in a school of glass fish, about 10 metres down,” says photographer Aimee Jan. “When I dived down to look, the fish separated around the turtle perfectly and this is what I saw. I said to her: ‘I think I just took the best photo I have ever taken’.”

22°33’45”S113°48’37”E
Ningaloo Reef,
Western Australia
Info First

Aimee
Jan

Info Second

Henley
Spiers

Info Third

Matty
Smith

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THE OCEAN
Photographer of the Year

Awarded to the single most compelling and/or beautiful image submitted
throughout the competition: the ocean photograph of the year.

Conservation Photographer of the Year

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Henley
Spiers

HIGHLY COMMENDED

An olive ridley turtle ensnared by fishing gear, far offshore in the Pacific Ocean. “The more it struggled, the more tightly it became trapped,” says photographer Henley Spiers. “Moments after this image was captured, we were able to cut the turtle free. A happy outcome for this individual but one which is not shared by most of the turtles who are accidentally caught by fishing lines.”

24°34’59.9”N112°00’00.0”W
Baja California Sur,
Mexico

Jason
Gulley

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A dead manatee floats in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. “More manatees died in the first eight months of 2021 than any other year on record,” says photographer Jason Gulley. “The fatality surge was triggered by the pollution-fueled collapse of seagrass beds, important manatee food sources, along Florida’s east coast. With nothing to eat, manatees starved to death.”

28°26’23”N80°43’45”W
Florida,
USA

KIMBALL
CHEN

HIGHLY COMMENDED

An endangered yellow-eyed penguin under a starry sky. “Unlike other penguin species which are social, the endangered yellow-eyed penguin leads a rather solitary lifestyle,” says photographer Kimball Chen. “After a full day of foraging out in the Pacific Ocean, a lone individual comes ashore to dry its wet feathers on an ancient petrified forest at Curio Bay, New Zealand. The tide pools reflect the green glow of a shooting star and the radiance of the Aurora Australis, while the Milky Way stretches above.”

46°39’44.1”S169°06’14.1”E
Curio Bay,
New Zealand

THIEN
NGUYEN NGOC

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Anchovy fishing boats photographed from above along the coastline of Phu Yen province, Vietnam. “Salted anchovy is the most important raw material for creating traditional Vietnamese fish sauce,” says photographer Thien Nguyen Ngoc. “But, anchovies are little fish with a big impact. When they’re overfished, the whales, salmon, seabirds and other marine predators that rely on them as a dietary staple face starvation and death.”

13°13’35.9”N109°18’17.3”E
Phu Yen province,
Vietnam
  • DRONE
  • LATE
    AFTERNOON
  • LIGHT
    WIND

HENLEY
SPIERS

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A dead gannet hangs from a piece of discarded fishing gear, used to build its nest. “In mating season, seabird colonies outnumber the human population of Shetland many times over,” says photographer Henley Spiers. “Northern gannets arrive in their thousands, with 25,000 nesting pairs turning the black cliffs on the Isle of Noss white. At times the enterprising birds will recycle discarded fishing gear to build nests, but this sometimes ends in tragedy with the gannets becoming fatally ensnared.”

60°08’43.8”N1°01’10.9”W
Isle of Noss,
Shetland, UK

RODRIGO
THOME

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Dead fish in a ghost net. “Diving in a protected area off Rio de Janeiro, we found this ghost net,” says photographer Rodrigo Thome. “As well as dead fish, we saw others trying to escape the net, without success. We cut some free, but many were too exhausted to survive. I used my camera to register some of the worst moments of my underwater life. Those fighting fish still haunt my dreams.”

23°04’24.4”S43°11’56.4”W
Redonda Island,
Brazil

GALICE
HOARAU

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A shark with a fishing hook and line protruding from its mouth. “Jupiter is a great place to dive with sharks,” says photographer Galice Hoarau. “Multiple species can be seen in significant numbers during a single dive. Unfortunately, human pressures are strong in the area and most individuals carry marks of their encounters with our species: hooks, fishing lines, broken jaws or bullet wounds.”

26°56’31.1”N80°02’13.3”W
Florida,
USA
  • GLASSY
    CALM WATER
  • EARLY
    AFTERNOON
  • SCUBA

STEFAN
CHRISTMANN

HIGHLY COMMENDED

An emperor penguin chick stands on the edge of the ice-shelf, staring at the open water below. “This is a scene that should not be,” says photographer Stefan Christmann. “Typically, emperor penguin chicks fledge from the edge of the much lower sea ice. In this case however, a climate-change induced early break-up of the sea ice had forced the youngster to climb onto the ice shelf, where it needed to finish its molt. This image symbolises the uncertain future these magnificent birds are facing.”

70°39’45.3”S8°15’45.9”W
Atka Bay,
Antarctica
  • FREEZING
    CONDITIONS
  • OVERCAST
  • EARLY
    EVENING

Steven
Kovacs

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A lizardfish tries to eat a cigarette filter. “This image illustrates the environmental issue of people carelessly disposing of trash and the harm that can be done to wildlife,” says photographer Steven Kovacs. “This small lizardfish mistook the cigarette butt drifting by in the current for a small fish and grabbed it. I decided to intervene and take away its catch, fearing it would ultimately kill the fish.”

26°46’59.3”N80°02’39.8”W
Florida,
USA
  • Late
    afternoon
  • scuba
  • Sunny
    conditions

NICHOLAS
SAMARAS

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A seahorse clings to a face mask. “When you dive at a point regularly, you have the opportunity to observe changes,” says photographer Nicholas Samaras. “I visit Stratoni, a small seaside village in the Halkidiki peninsula, regularly to observe and photograph the local seahorse population. The biggest recent change: COVID waste.”

40°30′49.588″N23°49′31.379″E
Stratoni,
Greece

Steven
Kovacs

3RD PLACE

Third

A female paper nautilus drifts along on a piece of trash. “During a trip to Anilao, Philippines we did blackwater drift dives every night over deep water. Occasionally we came across female paper nautilus, Argonauta species, and often they were seen riding along on Jellyfish. This is likely for protection as well as to, possibly, conserve energy. I was quite surprised to see this particular female drifting along while holding onto a piece of trash.”

10°58’42.7”N122°45’11.1”E
Anilao,
Philippines
  • Night
    time
  • scuba
  • Glassy
    calm water

GALICE
HOARAU

2ND PLACE

Second

The gull and the ghost fishing line. “Saltstraumen is a narrow channel with one of the strongest tidal currents in the world,” says photographer Galice Hoarau. “It is also a biodiversity hotspot and a marine protected area, but fishing is allowed and the dive sites are littered with fishing lines. These lines are deadly traps for wildlife, especially seabirds.”

67°13’32.2”N14°36’58.3”E
Saltstraumen,
Norway
  • STRONG
    CURRENT
  • LATE
    AFTERNOON
  • SCUBA

KERIM
SABUNCUOGLU

1ST PLACE

First

A dead moray eel on an abandoned fishing line. Having bitten on to a sharp hook at the end of a ghost fishing line, the eel entangled itself further as it tried to wriggle free. “Every spin slowly suffocated the poor animal until it couldn’t breathe anymore,” says photographer Kerim Sabuncuoglu. “This photograph shows a silent scream.”

36°58’15.59”N27°27’26.99”E
Bodrum,
Turkey
Info First

KERIM
SABUNCUOGLU

Info Second

GALICE
HOARAU

Info Third

Steven
Kovacs

Info

NICHOLAS
SAMARAS

Info

Steven
Kovacs

Info

STEFAN
CHRISTMANN

Info

GALICE
HOARAU

Info

RODRIGO
THOME

Info

HENLEY
SPIERS

Info

THIEN
NGUYEN NGOC

Info

KIMBALL
CHEN

Info

Jason
Gulley

Info

Henley
Spiers

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CONSERVATION
Photographer of the Year

Awarded to the photographer who most powerfully communicates any
of the many perils facing the ocean today, or stories of hope and recovery.

Adventure Photographer of the Year

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Daisuke
Kurashima

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A humpback whale dives into the blue, emitting a large amount of bubbles. “This image is of a male humpback that showed up to escort a mother and calf,” says photographer Daisuke Kurashima. “I desperately tried to catch its eye, but it quickly disappeared. The whale’s tail fin, showered in glittering bubbles which caught the sunlight, was so beautiful that it remains firmly in my memory.”

26°12’53.5”N127°28’05.3”E
Okinawa,
Japan

Tanya
Houppermans

HIGHLY COMMENDED

An American crocodile glides through the water at sunset at Gardens of the Queen, Cuba, a protected marine reserve since 1996. There is a healthy population of American crocodiles that live amongst the shallow mangroves here, the largest of them growing up to four and half metres.

20°49’58.8”N78°57’03.6”W
Gardens of the Queen,
Cuba

Martin
Broen

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A diver descends into a cenote. “Like in a science fiction movie, the unique physical conditions of the cenotes offer alien experiences and photo opportunities,” says photographer Martin Broen. “In this photo a narrow beam of sunlight pierces the hole in the ceiling of the flooded chamber, passes through the crystal-clear water and hits the hydrogen sulphide cloud at 32m below the surface, framing the diver, abducted by the light.”

20°51’53.4”N87°01’42.2”W
Quintana Roo,
Mexico

Grant
Thomas

HIGHLY COMMENDED

The Farne islands in the UK are one of the best places in the world to dive with grey seals and this is largely due to the fact that they are protected under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970. This has allowed the seal population to grow enormously and it’s now estimated that there are more than 120,000 grey seals in Britain, representing 40% of the world’s population.

55°38’04.8”N1°37’37.7”W
Farne Islands,
United Kingdom

Jake
Wilton

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A manta ray, surrounded by a school of fish. “Freediving to the sand and laying as still as possible, the ray passed directly overhead as I captured this image,” says photographer Jake Wilton. “I believe this photograph conveys the message that a healthy ocean relies on all creatures, both large and small. People tend to focus on protecting the large iconic species while forgetting about the little guys which are just as, if not more, important to the ecosystem as a whole. If we are to save our oceans we must protect every species within it.”

23°05’38.8”S113°48’06.2”E
Coral Bay,
Western Australia

Scott
Portelli

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A humpback whale calf crashes back into the ocean. “The humpback whale has one of the most powerful tails in the animal kingdom,” says photographer Scott Portelli. “A young humpback calf propels its three-tonne body from the water with a spectacular re-entry into liquid space. I watched as the baby whale started to propel itself from 10 metres below. As it leaped out of the water, I was inches away. Truly, a very close encounter.”

18°40’58.3”S174°03’28.4”W
Neiafu,
Tonga

Steve
Woods

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Sea lions swarm a diver. “Sea lions have been periodically culled for more than a century in British Columbia, with some now pushing for a cull of 25,000 animals,” says photographer Steve Woods. “When photographing them underwater, absolutely no bait or food is used, they simply want to play and interact. I have never observed this unique behaviour anywhere else in the world, which makes it even more devastating that they are under threat of a cull.”

49°29’01.2”N124°38’54.6”W
Vancouver Island,
Canada

Rodrigo
Thome

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A shiver of hammerhead sharks. “This is an image that will live forever in my memory,” says photographer Rodrigo Thome. “When you visit the iconic Darwin Island in the Galapagos, you expect big things. Huge whale sharks, schools of hammerheads, lots of fishes and marine life all around. But can you never understand what it is to be under a ceiling of sharks until you experience it. The emotions are unexplainable.”

1°40’44.1”S92°00’14”W
Darwin Island,
Galapagos

James
Ferrara

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A sperm whale and sargassum weed. “It is exhilarating being in the water with a 40 ton adult sperm whale barreling past you,” says photographer James Ferrara. “The bubble trail left behind by the whale’s head is a testament to its speed and power. The awkward elegance of his oversized head, minuscule eye, and non-proportional pectoral fins are framed beautifully by the sporadic sargassum weed drifting in the currents of the Caribbean.”

15°19’18”N61°25’46”W
Roseau,
Dominica

Gergo
Rugli

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A common dolphin photographed in the Port Stephens Marine Park off Broughton Island. “This dolphin was expertly riding the pressure wave of a 52ft catamaran,” says photographer Gergo Rugli. “Around 40-50 common dolphins surrounded our boat and began riding the bow. I positioned myself in the net between the bows of the catamaran and started photographing them whilst I was hanging upside down from the moving boat.”

32°36’56.9”S152°18’50.4”E
Port Stephens,
Australia

Sebastien
Pontoizeau

3RD PLACE

Third

A freediver duck dives to capture a photograph of a humpback whale. “I was there that day with two friends specialising in humpback whale experiences off Réunion Island,” says photographer Sebastien Pontoizeau. “My friend Jeremy Goncalves wanted to capture a portrait of this whale. It is at this moment that I was able to realise this image, which shows two universes.”

17°50’50”S149°16’2”W
Réunion Island
  • Small
    swell
  • Mid-morning
  • Freedive

Ben
Thouard

2ND PLACE

Second

The wave of Teahupoo, as seen from below. “I’ve dedicated my time to shooting exclusively underwater these last five to six years,” says photographer Ben Thouard. “I’m so amazed by what is happening below this wave – a different world! I call this image ‘Underwater world’ as I felt everything was there in the image and it really describes how I feel down there, in another world.”

17°50’50”S149°16’2”W
Tahiti,
French Polynesia
  • Morning
  • Freediving
  • Sunny
    conditions

Ben
Thouard

1ST PLACE

First

Matahi Drollet catches a wave known as Teahupo’o in Tahiti.
“For this photo, I wanted to translate the energy of waves like these,” says photographer Ben Thouard. “I used a slow shutter speed to create the motion blur effect, giving a sense of speed to the photo. Speed is key in surfing, but capturing that sense of speed in an image was a real challenge. I’ve shot so many images like this, but this is the best I’ve got! I call it ‘Full speed’.”

17°50’50”S149°16’2”W
Tahiti,
French Polynesia
  • Big
    swell
  • No
    wind
  • Sunny
    conditions
Info First

Ben
Thouard

Info Second

Ben
Thouard

Info Third

Sebastien
Pontoizeau

Info

Gergo
Rugli

Info

James
Ferrara

Info

Rodrigo
Thome

Info

Steve
Woods

Info

Scott
Portelli

Info

Jake
Wilton

Info

Grant
Thomas

Info

Martin
Broen

Info

Tanya
Houppermans

Info

Daisuke
Kurashima

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ADVENTURE
Photographer of the Year

Awarded to the photographer who most successfully translates our species’
connection with – and fascination of – life in, on and around the ocean.

Exploration Photographer of the Year

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Matty
Smith

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A Southern Bobtail Squid puts on a performance. “When I came across this Southern Bobtail Squid it seemed to take interest in its reflection in my camera lens port and began to dance with this curious and colourful display,” says photographer Matty Smith. “‘I’ve only witnessed this behaviour a couple of times in several years of diving at this spot, but on this occasion I managed to capture it before the animal vanished into the night.”

34°25’12.7”S150°54’25.1”E
Wollongong Harbour,
Australia

Scott
Portelli

HIGHLY COMMENDED

False killer whales, in black and white. “False killer whales are something of a mystery to the cetacean world,” says photographer Scott Portelli. “Encounters are rare and often brief. This female uses loud clicks and whistles to communicate her feelings to us. She releases a stream of bubbles to distract from the vulnerable calf she keeps close to her body.”

18°47’41.1”S174°03’49.4”W
Ovaka,
Tonga

Nadia
Aly

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Emperor penguins at Snow Hill, Antarctica. “This picture showcases emperor penguins in their element, but don’t let the beauty of this picture fool you,” says photographer Nadia Aly. “These penguins are in trouble due to increased temperatures caused by climate change.”

64°29’00.6”S57°13’09.1”W
Snow Hill,
Antarctica

Matthew
Bagley

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A Southern Bottle Tail Squid in the palm of a hand. “It’s sometimes easy to forget the impact we can have on the environment and the creatures we share it with,” says photographer Matthew Bagley. “Using the alluring light of a dive torch during a night dive, it’s always surprising what comes out of the darkness.”

38°31’35.6”S145°21’57.2”E
Western Port Bay,
Australia
  • Small
    swell
  • Freedive
  • Night
    time

Martin
Broen

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A cave diver is silhouetted against a colourful backdrop in cenote Chikin Ha. “The caves in the Mayan riviera have amazing chambers with pristine formations that have been preserved over millennia,” says photographer Martin Broen. “Tannic acid created by the decomposition of organic matter accumulates in the upper part of certain caves and modifies the colour of the light passing through based on its density, giving the surreal feeling of flying within a rainbow.”

20º29’59.7”N87º15’41.4W
Quintana Roo,
Mexico

Scott
Portelli

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A diver observes mating cuttlefish. “Hundreds of thousands of giant Australian cuttlefish gather each winter from May to August in the shallow waters of South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf for their once-in-a-lifetime spawning event,” says photographer Scott Portelli. “The cuttlefish display an array of patterns, textures and colours to indicate their mating intentions.”

32°59’41.3”S137°44’12.8”E
Port Bonython,
South Australia

Alex
Kydd

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A fever of cownose rays. “These rays were spiralling and rubbing together throughout the water column,” says photographer Alex Kydd. “The behaviour documented is believed to be a mating or courtship behaviour. Having spent more than five years on Ningaloo Reef this was my first and only encounter with this species – a once in a lifetime.”

23°02’55.1”S113°46’27.6”E
Coral Bay,
Western Australia
  • Freedive
  • Light
    wind
  • Sunny
    conditions

Fabrice
Guerin

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A freediver makes their way back to the surface. “Darkness gives way to a freediver who goes back and forth from the bottom of this cenote to the surface,” says photographer Fabrice Guerin. “This freshwater sinkhole, calm, clear and without current, is ideal for training.”

20°51’53.4”N87°01’42.2”W
Quintana Roo,
Mexico

Steve
Woods

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Coastal wolves play on a remote beach. “This was the first day of a coastal wolf expedition,” says photographer Steve Woods. “As we sat in our hides at dawn near a beached sperm whale, a pack of coastal wolves fanned out onto the beach in front of us and howled at the rainforest.”

49°39’06.7”N126°50’21.5”W
British Columbia,
Canada

Tobias
Friedrich

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Life beneath a frozen fjord. “This photo was taken on an expedition to photograph former freediving champion Anna von Boetticher with icebergs under a frozen fjord,” says photographer Tobias Friedrich. “We had to put all our equipment on a snowmobile to go out on the fjord, until we reached a point where the snowmobile could go no further. From there we had to pull the equipment on a sledge to the dive site.”

65°37’02.5”N37°37’11.5”W
Tasiilaq fjord,
East Greenland
  • Freezing
    conditions
  • Midday
  • High
    winds

Matty
Smith

3RD PLACE

Third

Squid portrait. “I had spent several winters exploring various inland waters and bays at night looking for squid to photograph,” says photographer Matty Smith. “I find their behaviour and colourings mesmerising. I wanted to produce images that really captured their personality. I found by lying on my back on the sand on the seabed and shooting from below almost anthropomorphises their faces and reveals a character rarely seen.”

34°35’50.3”S150°53’58.4”E
Bushrangers Bay,
Australia

Steven
Kovacs

2ND PLACE

Second

A rare deep water Cusk Eel larva. “This eel is suspected to be Acanthonus armatus but has not been definitively verified,” says photographer Steven Kovacs. “The photograph was taken about seven miles off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida during a blackwater dive at about 10 metres while drifting in waters more than 200 metres deep.”

26°42’09.4”N80°01’11.3”W
Florida,
USA
  • Light
    swell
  • Night
    dive
  • Scuba

Martin
Broen

1ST PLACE

First

Speleothems cast long shadows at cenote Dos Pisos. “This photograph captures the magic feeling of flying through a labyrinth of fragile formations that go from ceiling to floor,” says photographer Martin Broen. “This is a unique environment that took thousands of years to form, that hides hours away from the closest exit and is only illuminated by the light you carry with you.”

20º11’09.4”N87º32’11.0”W
Quintana Roo,
Mexico
Info First

Martin
Broen

Info Second

Steven
Kovacs

Info Third

Matty
Smith

Info

Tobias
Friedrich

Info

Steve
Woods

Info

Fabrice
Guerin

Info

Alex
Kydd

Info

Scott
Portelli

Info

Martin
Broen

Info

Matthew
Bagley

Info

Nadia
Aly

Info

Scott
Portelli

Info

Matty
Smith

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EXPLORATION
Photographer of the Year

Awarded to the photographer who most dramatically brings the rawness
of ocean exploration to life.

Young Photographer of the Year

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Mikayla
Jones

3RD PLACE

Third

Two gray whales seemingly pose for the camera. “This was my first large mammal encounter,” says photographer Mikayla Jones. “I jumped in and was rewarded with these whales coming right at me. After catching my breath, I managed to get off a few frames, made some adjustments, and finished with this shot just before they swam down both sides of me. I could hardly breathe!”

23°19’46”N110°22’52”W
Baja California,
Mexico

Jack
McKee

2ND PLACE

Second

A juvenile flying fish. “This tiny flying fish was drifting along just below the ocean surface,” says photographer Jack McKee. “I was immediately drawn to its amazing wing-like fins. I held my camera beneath it and shot upwards, to reveal the underside of the fish, with the sky visible through the water. This creates the illusion that the fish is flying in the sky.”

24°06’43.2”S152°42’32.4”E
Lady Elliot Island,
Australia

Hannah
Le Leu

1ST PLACE

First

A green sea turtle hatchling cautiously surfaces for air, to a sky full of hungry birds. “Against all odds, this hatchling must battle through the conditions of a raging storm whilst evading predators,” says photographer Hannah Le Leu. “The tropical storm made it difficult to capture this image, but perfectly symbolises the message I wanted to convey of the tumultuous journey all baby turtles must embark on, and why they only have a 1 in 1,000 chance of survival.”

23°26’32.3”S151°54’53.3”E
Heron Island,
Australia
Info First

Hannah
Le Leu

Info Second

Jack
McKee

Info Third

Mikayla
Jones

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YOUNG
Photographer of the Year

Awarded to the photographer under the age of 18 who most effectively
combines a sense of youthful curiosity with clear ocean literacy.

Community Choice Award

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Maxwel
Hohn

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A sea nettle drifts in the shallows of Monterey Bay. “This image was taken during one of my first shore dives in Monterey,” says photographer Maxwel Hohn. “At the time there were thousands of sea nettles drifting into the shallows. The event was breath-taking! In an effort to try to avoid being stung by the jellies I ventured deep into a kelp forest where I came across this perfect opportunity of the sea nettle in the lush kelp with the sun beaming down from above.”

36°36’34”N121°53’33”W
Monterey,
California

Ben
Thouard

HIGHLY COMMENDED

A surfer wipeout, as captured from below the surface. “I shot this image under the wave of Teahupo’o,” says photographer Ben Thouard. “I call this image ‘The fight’ as it visually describes the feeling of getting wiped out at Teahupo’o and fighting with the turbulence to make it back to the surface as your board drags you backward. This is the unseen part of surfing, yet so mesmerizing.”

17°50’50”S149°16’2”W
Tahiti,
French Polynesia
  • Medium
    swell
  • Freedive
  • Cloudy
    conditions

Michael
Haluwana

3RD PLACE

Third

A pod of dolphins catches a wave. “This image depicts the power of the ocean, its colour, vibrancy, life and its diverse and dynamic energy,” says photographer Michael Haluwana. “The dolphins effortlessly using their hydrodynamics to enjoy an epic surf creates a playful, infectious and fun vibe. The vivid textures and patterns demand your attention yet also create a sense of calm with peaceful blue hues and soft fluffy whites of the water and whitewash.”

33°32’00.8”S115°00’19.2”E
Cape Naturaliste,
Western Australia

Fabrice
Guerin

2ND PLACE

Second

A sea lion hunts mackerel off the coast of Baja California Sur. “Many predators converge here for the same appointment: to hunt on mackerel,” says photographer Fabrice Guerin. “In this vast free-for-all, each individual finds their place and the feast begins. The mackerel huddle together and form huge balls to try to protect themselves and avoid being eaten. It is no wonder Captain Cousteau called this area ‘the aquarium of the world’.”

24°27’42.5”N112°09’45.6”W
Baja California,
Mexico

Phil de
Glanville

1ST PLACE

First

Surfer Jack Robinson rides the famous break known as ‘The Right’, home to some of the heaviest waves in the world. “The clean lines in the wave displays its graceful movement and leads the eye to the surfer, dwarfed by the massive wave,” says photographer Phil de Glanville. “The rainbow and heart shaped wash were a bonus, representing the ocean’s beauty and power and the respect we should have for it.”

34°57’42.5”S117°21’02.5”E
Denmark,
Western Australia
Info First

Phil de
Glanville

Info Second

Fabrice
Guerin

Info Third

Michael
Haluwana

Info

Ben
Thouard

Info

Maxwel
Hohn

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COMMUNITY CHOICE
Award

The public vote!

The most popular image, as chosen by you.

Collective Portfolio Award

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Steven
Kovacs

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Steven Kovacs was born in Canada and has had a fascination for the underwater world from a very young age. He started diving in the cold, rich waters surrounding Vancouver Island in 1999 and bought his underwater camera system in 2001. Shortly afterwards, he moved to his current base in Florida where he quickly developed a passion for macro photography, with a special emphasis on underwater behaviours.

Recently he has become an avid enthusiast of blackwater photography which entails drifting near the surface at night in very deep water to photograph rarely seen pelagic and deep water species that migrate to the surface under the cover of darkness.

FROM: Canada
BASED: USA
  • WORKS IN
    Worldwide
  • Nikon D700 / D500
    in Ikelite housings
  • PHOTOGRAPHY FOCUS
    ALL-ROUNDER

Galice
Hoarau

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Galice Hoarau is a marine evolutionary biologist based in Norway, 100km above the Arctic circle where he works on a wide range of marine species, from zooplankton to sharks, seaweeds and seagrasses. He uses his photos to share his lifelong fascination for the marine environment and raise awareness on marine biodiversity. His favorite subjects are big animals, Arctic and blackwater critters.

FROM: FRANCE
BASED: NORWAY
  • WORKS IN
    worldwide
  • Sony A7RIV,
    Nauticam housing
  • PHOTOGRAPHY FOCUS
    ALL-ROUNDER

Alex
Kydd

3RD PLACE

Third

Alex is a professional ocean and wildlife photographer currently based in Western Australia. Alex completed a degree in Marine Biology which has laid a foundation for his understanding of the ocean and the environment. Several of Alex’s images have been successful in photography competitions in Australia and abroad. The majority of Alex’s ocean imagery is captured whilst freediving, a technique that he is continually developing and learning. Alex is on a mission to showcase the beauty of the natural world and why we need to protect it.

FROM: Melbourne, Australia
BASED: Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
  • WORKS IN
    Australia & Indonesia
  • Nikon D810 or Nikon Z7II
    + Aquatica Digital housing
  • PHOTOGRAPHY FOCUS
    ALL-ROUNDER

Matty
Smith

2ND PLACE

Second

Matty Smith is a UK-born underwater photographer who is now based in Newcastle, Australia. After emigrating in 2007 in pursuit of furthering his photography career, Matty fell in love with the Pacific Ocean and has now made it his permanent playground.

“Underwater photography allows me to visually communicate to the viewer the majestic feelings of diving and the incredible interactions between myself and rarely seen creatures of the ocean. I want to generate a compassion in people for how wonderful our seas are and how important it is to treat them with respect.”

FROM: UK / Australia
BASED: Australia
  • WORKS IN
    AUSTRALIA
  • Nikon
    & Aquatica
  • PHOTOGRAPHY FOCUS
    ALL-ROUNDER

Stefan
Christmann

1ST PLACE

First

Stefan Christmann is a nature photographer and filmmaker from Germany, who has wintered twice in Antarctica. He is mostly known for his intimate photographs of the emperor penguin colony in Atka Bay and being part of the BBC film team that filmed the emperor penguin episode for BBC Dynasties.

With the poetry of his images and his emotional stories about the continent at the end of the world, Christmann wants to reveal the special beauty and vulnerability of the Polar Regions. His active educational work is intended to benefit not only the emperor penguins, but also their endangered Antarctic habitat.

FROM: Germany
BASED: Germany
  • WORKS IN the
    POLAR REGIONS
  • NIKON D850,
    no UW housing
  • PHOTOGRAPHY FOCUS
    ALL-ROUNDER
Info First

Stefan
Christmann

Info Second

Matty
Smith

Info Third

Alex
Kydd

Info

Galice
Hoarau

Info

Steven
Kovacs

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COLLECTIVE PORTFOLIO
Award

Awarded to the photographer who, through a striking body of work,
connects with the judging panel and their shared mission at SeaLegacy.

A year-long residency of the Collective awaits the winner.

Female Fifty Fathoms Award

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Celebrating inspirational women in ocean photography. Here’s 2021’s inspiration - as nominated by Erica Watson and Levente Rozsahegyi.

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Renee
Capozzola

WINNER

First

Renee is an award-winning underwater photographer who specialises in wide-angle and split-level images. Renee believes that striking images help increase awareness of our fragile marine ecosystems and encourage others to protect our oceans. Her images have won more than 45 prestigious international awards, including most recently Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021. When she is not in the water, Renee teaches biology and educates her students about the challenges facing the ocean and the importance of conserving marine ecosystems.

FROM: USA
BASED: USA
  • Hawaii and
    French Polynesia
  • Canon r5, Canon 5D & 7D,
    with Marelux & Nauticam housings
  • PHOTOGRAPHY FOCUS
    ALL-ROUNDER
Info First

Renee
Capozzola

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FEMALE FIFTY FATHOMS
Award

Celebrating inspirational women in ocean photography. Here’s 2021’s inspiration - as nominated by Erica Watson and Levente Rozsahegyi.

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Stay connected to SeaLegacy’s global movement
to protect and restore the oceans.

Oceanographic

VOLUME I, 2020

NB: Volume II, 2021 to be released in December.
Click here to stay updated.

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