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DPG Masters Underwater Imaging Competition 2023

Best of Show by Suliman
Best of Show

PHOTOGRAPHER
Suliman Alatiqi

CATEGORY
Wide Angle
Gold

The DPG Masters Underwater Imaging Competition has become the “World Championship” of international underwater imagery events. The competition celebrates the splendor of the oceans and the challenging art of underwater photography and video.

Our esteemed panel of judges—Stephen Frink, Renee Capozzola, Scott “Gutsy” Tuason, Allison Vitsky Sallmon, Matty Smith and Amanda Cotton—pored over thousands of entries submitted by shooters from all over the world.

Congratulations to Suliman Alatiqi, who won the grand prize for his 1st place image in the Wide Angle category, taking home $1,000 in cash.* We would also like to congratulate the 1st place winners in the other categories: Fabien Michenet (Traditional), Byron Conroy (Macro), Grace Pempek (Over-Under), Yinan Liu (Conservation), Martin Broen (Black and White), Magnus Lundgren (Blackwater), and Alfred Schaschl (Short Film).

The winners will be published by supporting media partners worldwide. You can enjoy the winning images and videos below.

As with all Underwater Competition Series events, 15% of entry proceeds will be donated to marine conservation efforts.

*The original winner of the Over-Under category, Marco Gargiulo, had his “Best of Show” image disqualified after the organizers and judges found his submission did not comply with the competition rules. The judging panel subsequently reconvened and decided to award the “Best of Show” to the Wide Angle winner, Suliman Alatiqi.

Winners
BEST OF SHOW
Best of Show by Suliman

Wide Angle
Gold
Suliman Alatiqi Kuwait
Traditional
Gold
Sea Lions at work by Fabien Michenet (France)

Fabien Michenet
France

"Sea Lions at work"
Location: Baja California Mexico
Silver
My Home by Helmut Theiss (Germany)

Helmut Theiss
Germany

"My Home"
Location: Lembeh Strait
Bronze
Icarus reaching the Sun by Martin Broen (United States)

Martin Broen
United States

"Icarus reaching the Sun"
Location: Tulum, Mexico
Honorable Mention
Electric frogfish by Nicolas Remy (Australia)

Nicolas Remy
Australia

"Electric frogfish"
Location: Chowder Bay, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Macro
Gold
Gone Fishin  by Byron  Conroy  (United Kingdom)

Byron Conroy
United Kingdom

"Gone Fishin "
Location: Lembeh
Silver
Giving birth by Todd Aki (United States)

Todd Aki
United States

"Giving birth"
Location: central Sulawesi, Indonesia
Bronze
Young turtle by Claudio Zori (Italy)

Claudio Zori
Italy

"Young turtle"
Location: Raja Ampat - Indonesia
Honorable Mention
Speedy Boxfish  by Byron  Conroy  (United Kingdom)

Byron Conroy
United Kingdom

"Speedy Boxfish "
Location: Lembeh
Wide Angle
Gold
Wishing-well by Suliman Alatiqi (Kuwait)

Suliman Alatiqi
Kuwait

"Wishing-well"
Location: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Silver
Fish buffet by Yinan Liu (China)

Yinan Liu
China

"Fish buffet"
Location: Japan
Bronze
Trio by Annie Guttridge (United Kingdom)

Annie Guttridge
United Kingdom

"Trio"
Location: The Bahamas
Honorable Mention
reflections by Cédric Péneau (France)

Cédric Péneau
France

"reflections"
Location: Reunion
Over-Under
Gold
Smalltooth Sawfish among the Mangroves at Dawn by Grace Pempek (United States)

Grace Pempek
United States

"Smalltooth Sawfish among the Mangroves at Dawn"
Location: Key Largo, FL
Silver
American alligator by Mirko Zanni (Switzerland)

Mirko Zanni
Switzerland

"American alligator"
Location: Evergaldes, Florida
Bronze
Primal Plunge by Suliman Alatiqi (Kuwait)

Suliman Alatiqi
Kuwait

"Primal Plunge"
Location: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Black & White
Gold
Parallel Universes by Martin Broen (United States)

Martin Broen
United States

"Parallel Universes"
Location: Tulum, Mexico
Silver
Silfra sunrise  by Byron  Conroy  (United Kingdom)

Byron Conroy
United Kingdom

"Silfra sunrise "
Location: Silfra
Bronze
crossing under the light by Miguel Ramirez (France)

Miguel Ramirez
France

"crossing under the light"
Location: Reunion island
Honorable Mention
Amongst clouds of sediment by Francis Glassup (United Kingdom)

Francis Glassup
United Kingdom

"Amongst clouds of sediment"
Location: Abu Dabbab, Egypt
Conservation
Gold
Massacre by Yinan Liu (China)

Yinan Liu
China

"Massacre"
Location: Mexico
Silver
The Anisakis parasite leaves the host by Guido Villani (Italy)

Guido Villani
Italy

"The Anisakis parasite leaves the host"
Location: National Park of Cilento, Pisciotta (Salerno) Italy
Bronze
Problem Props by Simon Hilbourne (United Kingdom)

Simon Hilbourne
United Kingdom

"Problem Props"
Location: Hanifaru Bay, Maldives
Honorable Mention
Is this a hobby?? by Gaetano Gargiulo (Italy)

Gaetano Gargiulo
Italy

"Is this a hobby??"
Location: Mosman NSW
Blackwater
Gold
Flamenco pose by Magnus Lundgren (Sweden)

Magnus Lundgren
Sweden

"Flamenco pose"
Location: Anilao, Balayan Bay
Silver
juvenile Moray eel by Liang  Fu (China)

Liang Fu
China

"juvenile Moray eel"
Location: Romblon Philippines
Bronze
Sparkling Wunderpus by Magnus Lundgren (Sweden)

Magnus Lundgren
Sweden

"Sparkling Wunderpus"
Location: Anilao, Balayan Bay, Philippines
Honorable Mention
Dinner Time by Dennis Corpuz (Philippines)

Dennis Corpuz
Philippines

"Dinner Time"
Location: Anilao
Short Film
Gold

Alfred Schaschl
Austria
"The Magic Triangle"
Location: Austria and the Philippines
Silver

Walter Marti
United States
"Blackwater: Cozumel Style"
Location: Cozumel, Yucatán, Mexico
Bronze

Michael Fafalios
United Kingdom
"Beneath the Horizon"
Location: Anilao and Puerto Galera, Philippines
Honorable Mention

Peter Nicholas
Australia
"Silent Fleet: Chuuk Lagoon"
Location: Chuuk Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia
Categories
PHOTO
Traditional

Any image (macro or wide angle) captured in the “traditional” way—that is, with strictly limited post-processing. Only global adjustment of brightness, contrast, color, and sharpness is allowed. Cropping, cloning, and other digital manipulation are not permitted. This restriction on digital manipulation enables people who are not as savvy at Photoshop to compete on more-or-less even ground as those with more experience. It also highlights composition and lighting skills by not allowing cropping and cloning. Before selecting winning entries, we will audit your original RAW files.

Macro

Any close-up image captured with a macro lens, where the reproduction ratio is between 1:10 and 1:1, or greater. Unlike the “Traditional” category, this category has no specific rules regarding digital manipulation. However, as we are not running a digital manipulation contest, you should exercise care in the decisions that you make.

Wide Angle

Any image captured with a wide-angle lens (focal length 35mm or less in 35mm format). Unlike the “Traditional” category, this category has no specific rules regarding digital manipulation. However, as we are not running a digital manipulation contest, you should exercise care in the decisions that you make.

Over-Under

Any image where the lower portion is underwater and the upper portion is above water. Splits, aka half-and-halfs, will be judged on the merits of the picture as a whole.

Conservation

Any image with a focus on marine or freshwater environment and conservation. The subject matter must address a marine or freshwater-related environmental issue. The goal in this category is to convey a real-world message.

Black & White

Any single-toned image, such as black and white, or sepia, with no additional accent color.

Blackwater

Any image of a pelagic macro subject captured on a blackwater or bonfire dive. While blackwater images are generally taken at night and are characterized by a black background, images shot during the day, as long as the background is black, are also acceptable.

VIDEO
Short Film

Any film five minutes or less in duration. At least 50% of the footage must be shot underwater.

Prize Assignments
Byron Conroy 7-night trip to Truk Lagoon aboard the Pacific Master
Various lighting equipment from Ikelite
Various imaging equipment from Backscatter
Suliman Alatiqi9-night liveaboard trip with MV Oceania, Papua New Guinea
Various lighting and lens accessories from Inon
Yinan Liu7-night dive package at Walindi Dive Resort, Papua New Guinea
Various lighting equipment from Ikelite
Martin Broen7-day packages at Solitude Lembeh Resort, Indonesia or Solitude Acacia Resort, Anilao, Philippines
Various lighting equipment from Ikelite
Magnus Lundgren7-night packages at Crystal Blue Resort, Anilao, Philippines
Various imaging equipment from Backscatter
Marco Gargiulo10-day dive packages at Lembeh Strait and Bangka with Critters@Lembeh and Lembeh Resort
Fabien Michenet10-day dive packages at Lembeh Strait and Bangka with Critters@Lembeh and Lembeh Resort
Guido Villani7-night package at Atlantis Puerto Galera or Atlantis Dumaguete, Philippines
Todd Aki7-night packages at Crystal Blue Resort, Anilao, Philippines
Helmut Theiss7-night packages with Eco Divers Lembeh, Indonesia
Grace Pempek7-night packages with Eco Divers Lembeh, Indonesia
Walter Marti7-day packages at Solitude Lembeh Resort, Indonesia or Solitude Acacia Resort, Anilao, Philippines
Claudio Zori5-night package at Siladen Resort & Spa or 5-night package at Coral Eye Marine Outpost, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Annie Guttridge5-night package at Siladen Resort & Spa or 5-night package at Coral Eye Marine Outpost, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Liang Fu7-day packages at Gulen Dive Resort, Norway
Alfred Schaschl7-day packages at Gulen Dive Resort, Norway
Mirko ZanniVarious lighting equipment from Ikelite
Miguel RamirezVarious lighting equipment from Ikelite
Simon HilbourneVarious lighting equipment from Ikelite
Nicolas RemyVarious imaging equipment from Isotta
Dennis CorpuzVarious imaging equipment from Isotta
Gaetano GargiuloVarious lighting and lens accessories from Inon
Francis GlassupVarious lighting and lens accessories from Inon
Peter NicholasVarious imaging equipment from Backscatter
Cédric PéneauVarious imaging equipment from Backscatter
Michael FafaliosVarious imaging equipment from Backscatter
Prizes
10-day dive packages at Lembeh Strait and Bangka with Critters@Lembeh and Lembeh Resort

 

Lembeh Resort is a spectacular boutique style resort situated on Lembeh Island and perched above the beautiful Strait. The property is surrounded by lush tropical gardens and blends perfectly into the landscape. All guest cottages boast spacious verandas for perfect views of glorious North Sulawesi sunsets and an intimate connection with nature. Modern amenities including air-conditioning, mini bar, wifi internet and massage ensure your comfort and relaxation.

Various lighting equipment from Ikelite

 

Ikelite has manufactured underwater flashlights, compasses and photographic equipment since 1962, introducing many innovative new products to the diving industry like the first O-ring sealed underwater light to incorporate a sealed beam bulb, and the first diving compass with a rotating bezel and direct reading degrees. Ikelite manufactures a diverse line of underwater photographic equipment that ranges from housings for simple point-and-shoot cameras to exotic housings for slr and video cameras. Ikelite is famous for the design and manufacture of sophisticated electronic flash units, strobe mounting systems, and a wide range of unique accessories for underwater photography.

 
DS230 213Ws TTL Strobe DS160 II 160Ws TTL Strobe DS51 II 50Ws TTL Strobe
7-night packages at Crystal Blue Resort, Anilao, Philippines

 

Crystal Blue Resort is the first resort in Anilao, Philippines to be purpose-built for underwater photographers. With low guest-to-guide ratios, limited boat loads, long bottom times, and professionally trained guides, the resort ensures that guests experience the best of what Anilao has to offer. Anilao is well known throughout the world for its high-impact macro subjects, so bring your critter list along for the hunt! Crystal Blue Resort’s grounds are well manicured, organized and ready to meet the high standard of any well-traveled photographer or group. Chef prepared meals, air-conditioned rooms, nitrox, and the resort’s renowned house reef are awaiting your arrival.

7-night packages with Eco Divers Lembeh, Indonesia

 

Eco Divers’ highly experienced Lembeh guides know every inch of the Strait and will show you where the best critter action can be found. You’ll stay in a unique location, the only white sandy beach in Lembeh Strait, and all rooms have an amazing ocean view. Elegantly furnished and air-conditioned throughout, each double bedroom has an ensuite bathroom with Western-style toilet, shower and hot and cold running water.

7-day packages at Solitude Lembeh Resort, Indonesia or Solitude Acacia Resort, Anilao, Philippines

 

Welcome to Solitude Liveaboards & Resorts, a forward-thinking collection of resorts and liveaboards committed to crafting exceptional experiences in breathtaking locales known for their vibrant marine life and welcoming communities. From its inception, our founders shared a vision to establish an intimate portfolio of boutique liveaboards and resorts that prioritize hospitality, value, and the well-being of guests and staff alike. Our unwavering dedication ensures that every guest is treated as a VVIP, with warm and sincere hospitality from the moment of arrival. Our devoted team wholeheartedly strives to provide outstanding service, creating indelible memories for each guest in our care. Join us in discovering extraordinary moments in some of the world’s most captivating destinations.

5-night package at Siladen Resort & Spa or 5-night package at Coral Eye Marine Outpost, Sulawesi, Indonesia

 

Siladen Resort & Spa is an exclusive boutique dive resort located on Pulau Siladen, a lush tropical island in the heart of the Bunaken National Marine Park—a protected ocean area known worldwide for the richness of its waters and the epicenter of global marine biodiversity. Since the first guest in 2003, the international resort offers guests the most attractive, exquisite and secluded comfort in Sulawesi, plus the region’s most unforgettable diving and snorkeling. The spa at Siladen gives you a unique opportunity to relax, benefit from traditional treatments, rest your mind and pamper your body. Indulge in soothing, uplifting and restorative therapies based on ancient knowledge and with all natural ingredients. The spa’s aromatherapy treatments use the finest oils exclusively prepared in Bali.

7-day packages at Gulen Dive Resort, Norway

 

Gulen Dive Resort is located in western Norway, in the coastal area of Sogne Fjord, the world’s largest. The diving centre is surrounded by many unique and varied dive sites, ranging from big WWII wrecks to icy nature dives. The resort’s house reef is home to more species of nudibranchs than anywhere else in Europe—all found in the same place. Gulen Dive Resort is a Netto-positive dive travel company, meaning it releases fewer CO2 emissions or other related gases that damage our global environment than it captures with its sustainability program.

7-night trip to Truk Lagoon aboard the Pacific Master

 

Master Liveaboards was founded as Worldwide Dive and Sail (WWDAS) in 2004 with a simple aim to push the boundaries of liveaboard diving. In short order, they had expanded into Siren Fleet, with liveaboard yachts dotted around Southeast Asia. On the back of this, in 2014, Galapagos Master became the first vessel to bear the current brand name, with the fleet then steadily growing across the Pacific and Caribbean. Through the last few years, there has been consolidation and Master Liveaboards now fully encompasses the Siren Fleet and Master Liveaboards vessels. They are plying the waters of Galapagos, The Bahamas, Bikini Atoll, Solomon Islands, Truk Lagoon, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Palau. The aim remains simple: to push dive industry standards and provide guests with an unsurpassed liveaboard diving experience.

9-night liveaboard trip with MV Oceania, Papua New Guinea

 

MV Oceania is the newest addition to liveaboard diving in the waters of Papua New Guinea. Working out of Walindi Plantation Resort, MV Oceania commenced operations in January 2019. She is a 88-foot catamaran accommodating up to 16 guests in fully rebuilt cabins and guest areas. Itineraries include the waters of the Bismarck Sea and beyond, for diving trips on some of the most biodiverse reefs in the world.

7-night dive package at Walindi Dive Resort, Papua New Guinea

 

Walindi Resort is a small dive resort, situated on the shores of Kimbe Bay, Northern New Britain, Papua New Guinea. New Britain is the largest of Papua New Guinea’s Islands. Walindi’s accommodation consists of 12 self contained, comfortable bure style bungalows spread along the beach front, and surrounded by rainforest gardens. The bungalows are constructed of local materials and timbers, with thatched roofs. They are all fully screened, with private bathroom, a kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities, and ceiling fans. Laundry service daily is included in the tariff.

7-night package at Atlantis Puerto Galera or Atlantis Dumaguete, Philippines

 

With small dive groups, five-star service, a dedicated camera room in each resort, and top-class cuisine, Atlantis Dive Resorts and Liveaboards offer a great opportunity to dive Philippines’ premier destinations, Puerto Galera and Dumaguete, from their two beachfront dedicated dive resorts, as well as Apo Reef, Coron, Tubbataha, and Visayas Safari off their liveaboard Atlantis Azores. Dumaguete features dark volcanic sand, with rich macro life and excellent critter diving, while Puerto Galera boasts vivid reefs, incredible formations and rich marine life. Atlantis Azores offers divers the opportunity to explore remote locations, covering the best dive sites in a week.

Various imaging equipment from Backscatter

 

The world’s leading retailer of underwater imaging equipment, Backscatter has been serving underwater photographers and videographers of every skill level, from point-and-shoot to professional, for over 30 years. Headquartered in Monterey, California, Backscatter lives by the philosophy, “We dive, shoot and service everything we sell,” and has created some of the most essential gear used by underwater shooters, including the FLIP filter system for GoPro and the Mini Flash and Optical Snoot. The company also offers comprehensive gear reviews and other educational online content as well as specialized underwater photo and video trips. Every purchase from Backscatter always includes free lifetime tech support.

 
 
Mini Flash 2 Ultimate Package
with Optical Snoot and
Color Filter System
Macro Wide 4300
Video Light Package
FLIP11 Pro Pack

 
     
  Complimentary Housing Overhaul   $250 Gift Certificate  
Various lighting and lens accessories from Inon

 

Inon designs and manufactures a wide range of underwater imaging equipment, from arm systems and GoPro accessories to housings and strobes. Their catalog includes the S-220 and D-200 strobes, and an extensive range of close-up and wide-angle lens attachments that have become the go-to conversion lenses for countless underwater photographers.

 
S-220 Strobe UCL-90 M67 Close-up Lens LF1100h-EWf Light
Various imaging equipment from Isotta

 

Since 1967 Isotta’s family has marketed high-end equipment for underwater video, photography and lighting, starting its own production in 1980. In four decades of development, the company has always offered its customers cutting-edge signature red products that are fully manufactured in Italy. With extensive industry experience, we strive to build the highest-quality products to keep photographers around the world comfortable when shooting underwater and their cameras protected from the elements, empowering them to frame memorable moments in water.

 
GoPro HERO 9–12 Housing FotoSub Bag Dry Bag
Judges
Allison Vitsky Sallmon

Allison Vitsky Sallmon’s photographic work has placed in numerous international underwater photography competitions, graced the walls of the Smithsonian Institute and other museums, and been extensively published both in print and online. She is also an enthusiastic writer and frequently contributes articles on travel, photography, and conservation to North American and international dive media. A proud member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Allison is the founder and president of Dive into the Pink, a salary-free 501c3 nonprofit organization that mobilizes the dive community to raise funds for cancer research.

Amanda Cotton

Amanda Cotton has spent the last two decades working as a wildlife photographer, specializing in capturing the beauty of the underwater world. Her work has been showcased on platforms including National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, and Smithsonian magazine. Amanda’s images have ventured beyond magazines, finding their way into international dive industry advertising campaigns, where her underwater photography continues to resonate with a wide audience. Moreover, she’s been an integral part of several film productions for the TV and film industry, bringing her unique perspective and expertise to the visual storytelling of the ocean’s wonders. Her photography isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about making a positive impact on the oceans. Collaborating with organizations such as The Conservation Fund and Women Divers Hall of Fame, she’s been part of educational and outreach programs aimed at raising awareness about the challenges faced by our marine ecosystems. In 2015, Amanda had the honor of being inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame for her contributions. With a passion for the ocean and a drive to inspire change, she continues to use her work to make a difference.

Matty Smith

Matty Smith is based in Newcastle, Australia, having emigrated from the UK in 2007. He has over 25 years of photography experience, with 17 of those underwater. He is a speaker and writer on various photographic techniques, but his biggest passion is teaching photography workshops in person to emerging students. He has been published by the likes of the BBC’s Blue Planet II documentary, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife magazine, Ocean Geographic, and many others. Matty has over 30 international awards to his name. An ambassador for Nikon Australia, he is sponsored by Aquatica Digital and is an Ocean Geographic Master Photographer.

Renee Capozzola

Renee Capozzola is an award-winning, conservation-oriented underwater photographer who specializes in wide-angle and split-level images. Her work is an intriguing combination of artistic talent honed through oil painting during her youth, a professional background in biology, and growing up by the ocean as a Southern Californian native. Her images have been awarded over 50 prestigious international accolades, including “Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021” in the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition and the “Female Fifty Fathoms Award” from Blancpain through the 2021 “Ocean Photographer of the Year.” Her work has also appeared throughout the world in leading publications, including National Geographic in print, and she serves as an Ocean Geographic Photographer-in-Residence. Renee has been featured by multiple news outlets such as CNN, USA Today, and the BBC and is also a fellow of The Explorers Club and an Ambassador for SEACAM. When she is not in the water with her camera, Renee strives to educate others about the challenges facing our oceans and the importance of conserving marine ecosystems.

Scott “Gutsy” Tuason

Scott “Gutsy” Tuason was first handed his underwater camera at the age of 16, though he started diving before he even hit puberty. Decades later he is still a passionate photographer, and the element of doing things just at the edge characterizes how he gets his images. His photography has won various awards, notably the Palme d’Or at the Antibes festival in 2000 for his co-authored book, Anilao. His 2016 book, Blackwater/Open Blue, which encompasses images taken in the open ocean either at night or during the day, was awarded Underwater Book of the Year at the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition in 2017. His latest books are Aurora (2018) and Unlocking Tarlac (2022).

Stephen Frink

Stephen Frink is among the world’s most frequently published underwater photographers, with a career spanning four decades. He arrived in Key Largo, Florida in 1978 to open a small studio dedicated to underwater photo services, but he soon began to receive assignments to photograph and write articles for the consumer dive publications of the day. He worked as a photojournalist for Skin Diver magazine for 17 years, and then as the Director of Photography for Scuba Diving magazine. For the past 14 years, Stephen has been the publisher of Alert Diver magazine, a coffee-table collectible magazine for the members of the Divers Alert Network. Stephen teaches Masters level courses at Stephen Frink School of Underwater Digital Imaging each summer in his home waters off Key Largo and offers dive excursions emphasizing underwater photography through his travel company, WaterHouse Tours.