They’ve donned scuba masks and snorkels, armed themselves with specialized cameras and staved off a fear of the unknown to capture some of the most breathtaking images of the world below. The winners of the 2013 Annual Underwater Photography Contest offer a pinhole view into a part of the earth that most never see, from the egg-filled mouth of a dusky jawfish to a blue-ringed octopus whose fashionable pattern could give Vera Bradley a run for the money.
Kyle McBurnie’s shot of a lonely harbor seal ambling in a kelp forest near San Diego took top honors out of a pool of more than 650 submissions from 23 countries. Italian Pietro Cremone’s photo of a pair of Mandarin dragonets canoodling in the Philippines, meanwhile, was the fan favorite.
The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science hosts the annual competition, and the panel of experts this year included photographer Myron Wang, underwater photographer Nicole Wang and UM marine biology professor Jiangang Luo. In addition to the overall winner, the judges also allocated awards across three categories: Macro, Fish or Marine Animal Portrait and Wide Angle.
Scroll down to view the winning shots.