The overall winner of the U. of Miami's underwater photo contest, taken by Ximena Olds.

MIAMI – April 18, 2012 – More than 700 underwater images were submitted for the 2012 Annual Underwater Photography Contest hosted by the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. The ‘Best Overall” photograph was submitted under the Macro category and was shot in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The photo by Ximena Olds depicts a vibrant orange headshield sea slug on a brilliant background of green seagrass.

A panel of experts, including photographer and UM lecturer Myron Wang, underwater photographer Nicole Wang and Rosenstiel School Marine Biology & Fisheries Professor Dr. Michael Schmale judged the photos which came from 20 countries. Awards were given in three categories, Macro, Fish or Marine Animal Portrait, Wide Angle, and Best Overall submission. The School also recognized the Best UM Student Photo, which was of a whale shark submitted by Kyra Hartog.

“The quality of photos keeps getting better each year,” said Myron Wang, who has been judging the contest since its inception. “Judging becomes more difficult when you have so many wonderful pictures to choose from. For me, there were excellent entries in every category but this year’s standout was the great picture of the juvenile sperm whale taken by Douglas Kahle in Dominica – it is spectacular!”

A new addition to the contest, an online ‘Fan Favorite’ poll on the Rosenstiel School blog, garnered more than 1,200 votes. The winner, taking nearly half the votes, was a jellyfish shot by Todd Aki.

The underwater photography contest is held annually, and is open to all amateur photographers who earn no more than 20 percent of their income from their photography. To view the winners of this year’s contest, visit

The ‘Best Overall’ prize is a trip on Blackbeard’s Cruises departing from Freeport, Bahamas. This year’s ‘Best UM Student Photo’ was sponsored by Divers Direct. Since 1984, Dania Beach, Fla.-based Divers Direct has serviced the SCUBA community by offering a complete scuba certification curriculum and a large selection of scuba gear including scuba tanks, dive computers, scuba regulators, scuba wetsuits, and scuba masks from the world’s top manufacturers. In addition to being recognized as the United States’ largest scuba retailer, Divers Direct is also well known for their exceptional customer service. For more information visit or contact a Divers Direct Diving Expert via or by calling 800-DIVE-USA.

Winners listed by category, and location where photo was shot:

2012 Underwater Photo Contest Winners

Overall Winner
Ximena Olds – U.S. Virgin Islands

Online “Fan Favorite”
Todd Aki – California, USA

1. Todd Mintz – Bonaire
2. Davide Lopresti – Indonesia
3. Marcello Di Franceso – Indonesia

Fish or Marine Animal Portrait
1. Douglas Kahle – Dominica
2. Rockford Draper – Indonesia
3. Nicholas Samaras – Greece

1. Mark Fuller – Israel
2. Matthew Potenski – Bahamas
3. Bill Lamp’l – Fiji

UM Student
1. Kyra Hartog – Mexico
2. Phillip Gillette – Thailand
3. Austin Gallagher – Bahamas

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School
The University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit

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