Cayman’s underwater wonders captured in winning images

A stunning image of an underwater photographer framed by a colorful ribbon of reef was the winning entry in the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s 2013 underwater photo contest.

The scene, given a dramatic twist through the distorting effect of a fish-eye lens, was captured by Beth Watson at her favorite dive site – the Mixing Bowl in Little Cayman.

The image, titled “One ocean, One world,” won the best in show award. 

The winners were announced at the Cayman Islands Underwater Film Festival last week.

Ms Watson, from Missouri in the U.S. and a regular visitor to the Cayman Islands, read about the competition online and decided to have a go. She said she was honored to have won the top award, which includes a prize of a live-aboard dive trip on the Aggressor Fleet in the Caribbean.

She says she has a passion for the ocean and tries to take photos that convey different emotions to viewers.

The diver in her winning shot is her husband Steve.

“We were swimming through crevices in the reef, he went through first, waiting patiently for me, looking for sharks.    

“Noticing what an interesting composition the fish-eye lens produced, I signaled for Steve to turn on his lights, made sure my strobes were positioned correctly, then captured the shot.”

Ms Watson’s image was the overall winner of the 376 submitted. The judges, Cathy Church, Patrick Weir and Ellen Cuylaerts, also selected winning images in five categories – fish/turtles/stingrays, critters/macro, scenic, creative and unusual.

All photos had to be taken in Cayman waters, and with the exception of the creative category, photo editing was not allowed.

Prizes valued at more than $4,000 were awarded, including canvas prints of the winners’ images.

1st place critter

1st place critter macro

third place creative

Third place creative