In the last few years, the consumer camera market has exploded. As technology advances and prices drop, casual photographers can increasingly get their hands on nifty features previously affordable only to professionals. One example is a growing number of cameras (and camera casings) that can go underwater and come out unscathed, which has opened up a whole new world to hobbyist photogs.
The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science recently held its annual amateur underwater photography contest. Winners were named in three categories--wide angle, macro, and marine animal portrait. Awards were also given for the best contributions from University of Miami students.
This photo, taken in Indonesia by Marchione Giacomo, won best overall photo in the contest. It shows two boxer crabs (Lybia tesselata) ready for a fight. The crabs defend themselves by carrying tiny stinging sea anemones in their claws.
No, this fish didn't get caught snacking. The male banded jawfish (Opistognathus macrognathus) holds brooding eggs in its mouth until they're ready to hatch. The photo was taken in Riviera Beach, Fla., by Steven Kovacs and won first place in the marine animal portrait category.
This pygmy seahorse is only about a half-inch tall and has flesh that blends masterfully well with the sea fans it lives among. Taken in Borneo, Malaysia, this photo won photographer Vickie Coker first prize in the macro category.
This shot of a dwarf minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata acutorostrata) was caught just after daybreak on part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The photographer, Steffen Binke, was about 6 or 7 feet away from the whale when he took the picture, which took third place in the animal portrait category.
Meet the Molly Miller blenny, also known as the combtooth blenny. The tiny fish is not uncommon to home aquariums, but this particular one was photographed in Lake Worth Lagoon in Florida. Photographer Judy Townsend won third place in the macro category for this shot.
D'Alessandro also won first prize in the wide-angle category, for this photo of three French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru). He took this one off Key Largo, Fla., while working on a research project with the Rosenstiel School.
Thomas Carey caught this shot of a juvenile sperm whale coming up for air, with about a dozen remora hitching a ride along its body. The photo was taken off the coast of Kona, Hawaii, and won third prize in the wide-angle category.
Ready to pick out your own underwater shooter? CNET News reporter Stephen Shankland recently wrote about several new rugged, waterproof cameras on display at the Photo Marketing Association show in Las Vegas.