Vivid underwater photos capture beauty of sea life

Best OverallKyle McBurnie, CaliforniaHarbor seal (Phoca vitulina) in a kelp forest at Cortes Bank off San Diego, California

When a photo of a harbor seal swimming through an underwater kelp forest was shown to the judges of the Underwater Photography Contest by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, they paused.

“The organizers would flash the photos in front of us,” university scientist and contest judge Jiangang Luo told National Geographic, “and when that one showed up, it caught all of our attention.”

Essentially, that is how the three judges agreed upon Kyle McBurnie’s photo (above) becoming the contest’s overall winner. Once you see a few other photos below, you’ll see why it is such a difficult task selecting the best.

The annual Underwater Photography Contest for amateur photographers began in 2005 and has grown ever since, with more than 700 entries submitted from 23 countries in categories that included macro, wide angle, fish or marine animal portrait, and best student entry.

Take a look at some of the winning images, courtesy of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science:

p100 - first - Steven Kovacs
Fish or Marine Animal Portrait 1st PlaceSteven Kovacs, FloridaA juvenile lionfish during a night dive in Roatan, Honduras


p238 - second - Marcello Di Francesco
Fish or Marine Animal Portrait 
2nd PlaceMarcello DiFrancesco, ItalyThe greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) near Malapascua Island, Philippines


p112 - third - Judy Townsend
Fish or Marine Animal Portrait 
3rd PlaceJudy Townsend, FloridaA male dusky jawfish with his clutch of eggs at the Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach, Florida


Lionfish feeding on SIlversides Pterois Volitans Red Sea, Egypt
Wide angle 1st PlaceAlex Tattersall, U.K.A lionfish on the Thistlegorm wreck in the Red Sea, Egypt


m65 - first - Beth Watson
Macro 1st PlaceBeth Watson, MissouriAn anemone shrimp in Puerto Galera, Philippines


m21 - second - Douglas Good
Macro 2nd PlaceDouglas Good, PennsylvaniaAn emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) on two nudibranches (Risbecia tryoni) at Dinah’s Beach, Papua New Guinea


s39 - first - Laura Rock
Best Student EntryLaura Rock, FloridaGoliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) during the annual spawning event in Jupiter, Florida

See the entire list of 2013 winners, along with past winners, at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science website.

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