Project Seahorse and contest sponsors Guylian Chocolates and Sport Diver magazine are thrilled to announce that Sam Taylor of Queensland, Australia is the Grand Prize winner of the Seahorses of the World photo contest. Mr. Taylor has won a week-long dive expedition for two on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, courtesy of Mike Ball Dive Expeditions.
The picture of two Hippocampus bargibanti was taken at Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Commonly known as pygmy seahorse, this species is less than 2.5 cm long and covered with tiny tubercles (bumps). Judges said the photo was notable for its composition and focus, as well as for capturing such a tiny seahorse species among open coral polyps.
Second place was taken by Melissa Rushby of Nelson Bay, Australia. Her photo of a Hippocampus abdominalis was taken off Base Island, near Sydney, Australia. Melissa wins a Tetra 5060 Under-water Housing for an Olympus 5060 digital camera courtesy of Light & Motion.
Tahsin Ceylan's photo of Hippocampus ramulosus was awarded Judges' Special Merit prize, the books Reef Life and The Essential Underwater Photography Manual, by acclaimied underwater photographer Denise Tackett. Ten other photographers received third place prizes. Impressed by the overall quality and creativity of the photographs submitted, the judges added an Honourable mention category, recognizing ten additional photographers.
Project Seahorse will use the pictures generated by the contest for educational outreach efforts and for scientific study. We thank the photographers who contributed pictures to this competition.The judges' decision was not an easy one, with 388 marvelous photos from 232 entrants to choose from. The winining photos will be featured in an upcoming issue of Sport Diver.