Scuba Diving Magazine has been running the Through Your Lens Underwater Photo Contest for the past 16 years, and this year was a great result!
Readers submitted their best photos, and this year, the judges had a record of 2,600 photos to choose from.
Evans Baudin took the winning image below from Baja, California, in Mexico. It shows a whale with 50 fish riding in her mouth.
Evans Baudin / Scuba Diving magazine, Grand Prize Winner.
“In June 2020, with a special permit, I went on an expedition to document marine life and the effects of reduced sea traffic due to C.O.V.I.D-19. After two hours in the water with a school of silky sharks near the surface, our captain yelled, ‘Whale sharks, right behind you!’ – a 12-meter-tall female. The surprise was doubly when I found out about 50 remoras were peacefully enjoying a free ride in her mouth! ”
The whale shark, the largest fish globally, seemed happy to take the little fish a ride to where they want to go.
There are four category winners, and those are Behavior, Close-up, Wide Angle, and Compact Camera.
Check out below all the best of the 2,600 photos that were entered into this year’s contest. Enjoy!
Jerry Arriaga / Diving magazine, Second Place – Behavior.
“We were diving in the brilliant muck of Ambon Bay. I was swimming under the fishing boats in Laha, one of my favorite dive spots in the area. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the lizardfish suddenly darting away from its fighting perch.
It was really fast, like a torpedo! I quickly swam closer to find the shark with a damselfish in its mouth. I captured this image right before the shark swam out with its delicious meal.”
Martina Andres / Diving magazine, Honorable Mention.
“As a diver, you will never forget your first huge shark. I felt incredibly grateful to have come across this beautiful whitehead shark in the Red Sea. As we neared the final minutes of our dive, she and her ‘entourage’ slowly circled our group, peacefully watching each of us, before they took off into the sea again. ”
Tobias Friedrich / Diving magazine, First place – Compact camera.
“As a SeaLife camera brand ambassador, I always have the DC2000 with me, in addition to my DSLR gear, to take a few side shots. I find it very interesting to see what I can capture with a tiny camera like the SeaLife and how much I can achieve the images I capture with my DSLR. This juvenile miracle bird was sitting on a palm leaf, a trendy subject of experimentation. The dive was done near Anilao, Philippines, with Crystal Blue Resort and the support of photographer Mike Bartick.”
Martin Strmiska / Diving magazine, First Place – Wide Angle.
“On the surface at the entrance of the cenote, I didn’t know any kind of space underneath the small pool. It was only when I went down and positioned outside the sun-lit area that the dark space was revealed. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I perceive the enormous size of space. My friend, suspending in that cloud and illuminated by the rays of the sun, appeared so small that I spent the whole dive shooting from a distance, trying to capture the tiny diver in the wide-open space.”
Marc Hanauer / Scuba Diving magazine, Second Place – Wide Angle.
“The Olympia shipwreck can be seen in the 1988 Luc Besson movie The Big Blue. It ran aground near shore on Amorgos Island in Greece. The secret of this image lies in the synchronization.
To succeed, it took a ray of sunlight to illuminate the underwater landscape. A wave arrived with the right angle on the dome to have a good view above and below, and finally, the freediver had to hold a position facing the wreck. It took a lot of rehearsal.”
Sean Steiniger / Scuba Diving magazine, Honorable Mention.
“A humpback whale calf travels through the emerald-blue waters of Tonga, accompanied by its giant mother and her escort. As the leviathans whirled right below me, the calf rose to the surface for fresh air. I reattached my free fins and took a quick shot. A split second later, the mother appeared to save her child from the bubble-blowing stranger. ”
Jeffrey Haines / Scuba Diving magazine, First Place – Macro.
“You never know what you will find when you dive into the black water. One night, it could be tiny larval fish, a mako, or another fluffy shark, but mostly you’re looking for plankton to find tiny critters as you drift with the current over deep water.
Persistence and focus are the keys to success in finding your subject as you go by. About 45 minutes into my 90-minute dive, I started spotting small clumps of sargassum floating, always a sight to behold when diving in black water. I found this seahorse in the third group I investigated.”
Enrico Somogyi / Diving magazine, Third place – Compact camera.
“While diving in Anilao, the macro capital of the Philippines, my supervisor showed me a seemingly empty beer bottle in the sand. But something was living inside. I started taking pictures of the lemon goby that was living there.
After a while, I noticed a dark shadow in the background, and a few hours later, I saw the juvenile lionfish rushing out. I pressed the shutter button as soon as the goby started to yawn, and the lionfish looked at the camera.”
Andrey Shpatak / Diving magazine, Honorable Mention.
“Sepiola birostrata is one of two species of cuttlefish that inhabit the northern waters of Japan. During the day, it hides in the sand and can only be found by chance. But at night, it goes hunting. Despite their small size [about an inch], these cuttlefish are predators, catching shrimp and crabs. There are usually many of them in July, on sandy bottoms, at depths of 15 to 40 feet. I met this beauty during a night dive. Its colors are simply stunning. ”
Massimo Giorgetta / Diving magazine, Honorable Mention.
“In this Cuban archipelago, among the mangroves, there is a small herd of crocodiles. To do a series of photos, I had to be in the water with them for three days, studying the water’s currents, light, and clarity. Then I waited until the crocodile was in the correct position against the backlight. The idea was to create the best contrast between the reflection of the sun and the color of the water. ”
Jules Casey / Diving magazine, First Place – Behavior.
“Caught during a daytime dive at Blairgowrie Pier in Port Phillip Bay, Australia, this short-headed seahorse was feeding near the surface and swimming freely from one piece of floating grass to another.
I’m not sure if the seahorse was holding the pipefish with its tail by mistake, confusing it with a piece of weed or if this was intentional. The seahorse immediately tried to get out of the seahorse’s grip. This interaction only lasted about 10 seconds, which was just enough time to set up the shot.”