Stunning photographs unveiled as contest winners on World Ocean Day

Peacock mantis shrimp and upward lightning win top honors in the 2022 University of Miami Rosenstiel School’s underwater and weather photo contests
Stunning photographs unveiled as contest winners on World Ocean Day
Best Overall Images of the Rosenstiel School's Underwater and Weather Photo Contests

Miami—June 8, 2023—A close-up image of the mesmerizing eyes of a Peacock mantis shrimp taken by Cedric Peneau off St. Paul, Reunion Island captured best overall winner in the underwater photo contest. An electrifying image of upward lightning in Lubbock, Texas, by Kyle Russell Allen was selected as the best overall winning shot for the weather category. According to atmospheric scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, upward lightning is one of the most difficult to photograph. 

The annual competition is hosted by the Rosenstiel School. Last year, the organizers added a weather category to its contest line up. This year’s winning photographs can be viewed online here: Underwater winning images and Weather winning images.

From Montana, United States to Indonesia, more than 500 photos were submitted to the 2022 underwater contest highlighting life under the sea, and more than 75 images were submitted to the weather contest showcasing phenomena above the horizon. 

The best overall underwater shot shows the complex eyes of the peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) that can see in more wavelengths of color than mammals. Peacock mantis shrimp are powerful hunters that feed on a variety of hard-shelled invertebrates and even some fish. They are well known for the extremely fast punching motion that they do with their front appendages to kill and break apart their prey for consumption. These organisms can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean ranging from Guam to East Africa. 

Peisen Tan, a fourth-year ocean sciences graduate student, won first and second place in the student macro category, first place in the student wide-angle category and third place in the student portrait category. Avery Boals, an undergraduate student in the Rosenstiel School’s marine science and biology program, won first place in the student marine conservation category, with an image of staghorn coral out planted as part of coral restoration activities at the Rosenstiel School. The image was captured on a Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II.

Judged by a panel of professional photographers and marine and atmospheric scientists, photographs are divided into six separate categories for the underwater contest, and one general category for weather. The contests are open to all amateur photographers who earn no more than 20 percent of their income from photography.  

“As in previous years, we are impressed by the caliber of imagery for the 2022 Underwater Photo Contest, and pleased to see many were taken on our Canon cameras.  We congratulate all winners and participants for their tremendous efforts and skill,” said Lisa Gualtieri-Alford, vertical sales manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.

The Rosenstiel School’s 2022 Annual Underwater Photography Contest was generously supported by Canon USA and All Star Liveaboards Blackbeard Cruises. Since its inception in 2005, the contest has drawn several thousand entrants. The inaugural 2023 Weather Photo Contest, was sponsored by the Rosenstiel School’s NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies.