Vivid underwater photos capture beauty of sea life


Best Overall
Kyle McBurnie, California
Harbor 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 Place
Steven Kovacs, Florida
A juvenile lionfish during a night dive in Roatan, Honduras


p238 - second - Marcello Di Francesco

Fish or Marine Animal Portrait 
2nd Place
Marcello DiFrancesco, Italy
The greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) near Malapascua Island, Philippines


p112 - third - Judy Townsend

Fish or Marine Animal Portrait 
3rd Place
Judy Townsend, Florida
A 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 Place
Alex Tattersall, U.K.
A lionfish on the Thistlegorm wreck in the Red Sea, Egypt


m65 - first - Beth Watson

Macro 1st Place
Beth Watson, Missouri
An anemone shrimp in Puerto Galera, Philippines


m21 - second - Douglas Good

Macro 2nd Place
Douglas Good, Pennsylvania
An emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) on two nudibranches (Risbecia tryoni) at Dinah’s Beach, Papua New Guinea


s39 - first - Laura Rock

Best Student Entry
Laura Rock, Florida
Goliath 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.