Underwater photography is a source of mystery and inspiration. It makes divers daydream about what lies in the Big Blue, and fascinates the casual viewer’s imagination. The Annual Underwater Photography Contest, held by Scuba Diving Magazine, wants to celebrate just that. Among 2,636 entries, these are the ones that perplexed, mystified, and blew the mind of all who saw the pictures in 2020.
Evans Baudin, Whale Shark
This picture was taken in 2020 June at Mexico’s Baja California. Evans was out documenting marine life. He had spent two hours seeing a silky shark school. That’s when his boat’s captain told her that the 12 meter+ whale shark was right behind him. The 50 fish inside her mouth are called remoras, and they keep the shark’s mouth disinfected.
Jules Casey, Shorthead Seahorse
Jules was diving in the daytime at Port Phillips Bay’s Blairgowrie Port in Australia. A Pipefish is being held by the Seahorse’s tail. The Seahorse may have mistaken it for a weed. Once grabbed, the Pipefish struggled for 10 seconds, during which the picture was taken.
Jerry Arriaga, Lizardfish
This one is from Indonesia’s Ambon Bay. In the picture, a lizardfish has caught a damselfish. Lizardfish are extremely fast. It was amazing that Jerry managed to take such an amazing piece of underwater photography right after a lizardfish’s successful hunt.
Thomas Van Puymbroeck, Stingray
Thomas was on his honeymoon in Egypt’s Marsa Alam when the water suddenly became clouded with silt. Then they saw the stingray feasting on tiny creatures inside the sand. The feast was visible for only a few seconds as the ray disappeared into the silt.
Tobias Friedrich, Wonderpus
Tobias was testing out the powers of his camera in the Philippines’ Anilao. So he decided to try out his underwater photography skills on this baby wonderpus resting on a single palm leaf.
Marcelo John Ogata, Porcupinefish
Marcelo was looking out for hairy squat lobsters inside a barrel sponge in Indonesia’s Lembeh Strait. It took him a while to notice the smiling porcupinefish, probably enjoying how Marcelo was missing him. A rather enjoyable piece of underwater photography.
Enrico Somogyi, Lemon Goby And Lionfish
Enrico was diving in the Philippines’ Anilao, one of the best spots for macro underwater photography. At first, the beer bottle looked empty. But Enrico soon noticed the tiny lemon goby living inside there. Then he also saw the baby Lionfish alongside. The goby is apparently yawning, perhaps too bored by Enrico’s underwater photography?
Jeffrey Haines, Seahorse In Plankton
Jeffrey has a particular interest in diving in the backwaters. On one such dive, he spotted the seahorse resting in the 3rd sargassum clump he investigated that night. An exceptional example of underwater photography focusing on the macro.
Yury Ivanov, Nudibranchs
This tiny creature that looks like it belongs in outer space is a species of Nudibranch. The one here is known as Phyllodesmium iriomotense. In this underwater photography piece, it is actually feasting on a coral called spindly gorgonian. The scene was captured at 105 feet below the water’s surface in Indonesia’s Bali.
Robert Stansfield, Nurse Shark
Robert was competing with his friend in Mexico’s Banco Chinchorro regarding how many species he could capture in two weeks. He was actually focusing on a garden eel group when the nurse shark nuzzled against his arm. It was 7 feet in length and was quite bold. So Robert quickly repositioned and obliged the willing model of underwater photography.
Martin Strmiska, A Cenote
Underwater photography is not only limited to the creatures. There are magnificent natural structures as well. This cenote is one example. In the picture, the object in the middle is Martin’s fellow driver. The massive size difference was only visible after moving out of the sunlight.
Marc Henauer, Olympia Shipwreck
This shipwreck features in the film “The Big Blue” made by Luc Besson in 1988. Marc explains that it took a lot of practice before the underwater photography piece was perfect. There are three elements here: a ray of light lighting up the landscape in the water; a perfectly angled wave, and the position of the freediver.
Raffaele Livornese, Sea Lions
This was Raffaele’s first time in Mexico’s Baja California. He recounts that many sardine schools were swimming in the area during the time of his dive. As a result, there were sea lions constantly hunting and playing there. In this piece of underwater photography, the two seals swam toward each other after swimming away. This made the sardines move in such a mesmerizing wave.
Martina Andres, Oceanic Whitetip Shark
The “entourage” of a queen? This was Martina’s first unforgettable encounter with a big shark. The entourage had circled her group, possibly examining the visitors, before leaving for their destination.
Martin Strmiska, Austria’s Green Lake
This scene unfolds for a very short time. The flowers bloom in early spring, but the lake does not fill up till a few months later when the temperature is much warmer. This creates a scene that is visible for about two months.
Marc Henauer, Cave In Greece’s Amorgos Island
As Marc himself says, a “poetic” piece of underwater photography. Marc says that the coast is filled with such caves that provide a stunning contrast against the Aegean Sea’s typical blue. Imaginations run wild after seeing such a picture, doesn’t it?
There were thousands of underwater photography that did not make this list. But they aren’t any less intriguing, or fascinating. One must wonder what other sights are hiding in the vast expanse of the oceans.
All Image credits: Scuba Diving Magazine