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Staff Favorites From Scuba Diving’s 2021 Photo Contest

When our staff got together to judge this year’s photo contest in late June, we had something to celebrate besides the 1,700-plus entries submitted by underwater photographers from around the world—it happened to be the first time all of us were in the same room in over a year.

Of course, once we all sat down and started judging the contest, friendly reunions inevitably gave way to (mostly) well-meaning rivalries and smack talk about our favorites. In other words, we were back to business as usual. Every year it seems like each judge has their heart set on an image that, for whatever reason, doesn’t make it to the winner’s circle, so we decided to share them with you!

Andrey Shpatak — Sea of Japan

Lions mane jellyfish

Selected by Dave Carriere, Managing Editor

Andrey Shpata

Elegant movement, cosmic colors—this lion’s mane jellyfish really pops out against the gradient back- ground, simple yet awe-inspiring.

Stephanie Doniger — Roatan, Honduras

Barracuda in school of small fish

Selected by Robby Myers, ScubaLab Director

Stephanie Doniger

The movement of the light and schooling fish in this image was very striking to me, and I love the depth given to the school as the barracuda cuts its way through the group.

PT Hirschfield — South Australia

Weedy seadragon

Selected by Alexandra Gillespie, Digital Editor

PT Hirschfield

Filling the frame, staring squarely at the viewer, this commanding weedy sea dragon has a confident presence that repeatedly captured my attention.

Albert Casals Olmo — Tossa Del Mar, Spain

Dog swimming

Selected by Victoria Cocchiaro, Art Director

Albert Casals Olmo

Who let the dogs out? After viewing thousands of underwater creatures, it was a fun surprise seeing this fella having the time of his life in the ocean!

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Scott Portelli — South Australia

Diver with cuttlefish

Selected by Ariella Simke, Associate Editor

Scott Portelli

I love the playful energy and movement in this shot—not to mention all of those deep and vibrant colors. I found myself wishing that the diver was me!

Cedric Peneau — Réunion Island

Spotted eel

Selected by Monica Medina, Art Director

Cedric Peneau

With its psychedelic colors and 3D effect, this roaring moray eel really pops off the page, and it’s framed nicely. Great wall art!

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