2022 Underwater Tour Photo Competition winners announced

2022 Underwater Tour Photo Competition winners announced

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In December 2022, the winners of the third Underwater Tour Awards were announced. This prestigious international competition takes place annually, encouraging and inspiring the passion for underwater photography, while raising awareness of our fragile aquatic and marine ecosystems and their denizens.

Guru Grand Prize Winner Jake Wilton, Australia
Guru Grand Prize Winner Jake Wilton, Australia: UW Characters – Whale shark engulfing baitfish during a rare bait ball feeding frenzy event on Ningaloo Reef, WA

The event in 2022 marked the first time that the Underwater Tour Awards partnered with environmental education and action organisation Take 3, introducing a new category for novices called, The Take 3 for the Sea Contest. Proceeds from the contest registration fees and additional donations were given to Take 3.


Led by Canon Master and six-time winner of the AIPP’s Professional Nature Photographer of the Year award, Darren Jew, the international judging panel included Amanda Blanksby, William Tan, Dr Richard Smith, Russell Ord and Brett Lobwein, who judged hundreds of images submitted by photographers from around the world.

“Each year the competition grows, and we are delighted with the high calibre of submissions,” said Jew. “The finalists’ gallery takes us on a remarkable underwater tour, showcasing the fine work of competing underwater wildlife photographers and celebrating the natural wonders of the underwater world.”

The Guru Awards

– Photographic Competition

The Underwater Tour Awards is the only international photography competition of its kind to use a systematic Ethical Review for images submitted. The team behind the event is “committed to ensuring the natural world is depicted both creatively and honestly, with due regard shown to the welfare of all marine life and habitats.” This meant that before moving to the first round of judging, all shortlisted images entered were subject to the competition’s Ethics Review process, which was conducted by renowned marine biologist and author Dr Richard Smith.  

And the winners are…

The Guru Grand Prize  
Highlighting the work of a great photographer, rather than just one great photo, the Guru Grand Prize is awarded to the photographer who achieves the highest level of accomplishment with a portfolio of six entries across three or more of the six competition categories.

Winner: Jake Wilton, Australia

  • Gabriel Guzman, Australia
  • Joergen Rasmussen, Singapore
  • Jake Wilton, Australia
Winner_Cameron McFarlane_Underwater-Scenes
Underwater Scenes Winner: Cameron McFarlane, Australia. A beautiful school of Anthia’s use the plate coral as a home and to protect themselves from their prey. Kicha Reef, Solomon Islands.

Guru Image Categories

Underwater Scenes
Winner: Cameron McFarlane

  • Helen Walne, South Africa
  • Gabriel Guzman, Australia
  • Wayne Osborn, Australia
  • Talia Greis, Australia
Underwater Characters Winner: Jake Wilton
Underwater Characters Winner: Jake Wilton, Australia. A curious southern giant petrel investigates my camera dome port during a rare visit to the tropics. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.

Underwater Characters
Winner: Jake Wilton

  • Gabriel Guzman, Australia
  • Dave Levasseur, Canada
  • Josh Blank, Australia
  • Nicolas Remy, Australia
Aquatic Abstract Winner: Wade Hughes
Aquatic Abstract Winner: Wade Hughes, Australia. A natural wall of colour created by sponges and ascidians. Wakatobi National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Aquatic Abstract
Winner: Wade Hughes, Australia

  • Derek Firman, Australia
  • Richard Condlyffe, USA
  • Karen Ho, Papua New Guinea
  • Walter Drechsler, Germany
Topside Scenes Winner: Anthony Brown
Topside Scenes Winner: Anthony Brown, Australia. Humpback whale raises its tail right after another whale breached. Making it look like a very powerful tail slap. Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia. This image also won the People's Choice Award.

Topside Scenes
Winner: Anthony Brown

  • Joergen Rasmussen, Singapore
  • Reed Plummer, Australia
  • Pam Osborn, Australia
  • Cameron McFarlane, Australia

The People’s Choice Award  
Winner: Anthony Brown, Australia
Runner Up: Mel Wu, Australia

Underwater Black & White Winner: Pavlos Evangelidis
Underwater Black & White Winner: Pavlos Evangelidis, Benin. A gorgonian fan coral’s intricate patterns as a silhouette in the bright South Pacific water—a natural mini-maze. North East Mane Wall, Russell Islands, Solomon Islands.

Underwater Black and White
Winner: Pavlos Evangelidis

  • Gabriel Guzman, Australia
  • Katie Clewett, Australia
  • Ellen Cuylaerts, United Kingdom
  • Karen Ho, Papua New Guinea
Reportage Winner: Joergen Rasmussen
Reportage Winner: Joergen Rasmussen, Singapore. We found this female paper nautilus riding a piece of plastic over deep water in the open ocean. Plastic is everywhere. Janao Bay, Philippines.

Winner: Joergen Rasmussen, Singapore

  • Sam Glenn-Smith, Australia
  • Jodi Frediani, USA
Packers Prize winner Helen Walne
Packer's Prize Winner: Helen Walne, South Africa. Coraline-encrusted boulders transform this kelp grove into a raspberry-hued delight. A Frame, Cape Town, South Africa.

Two new awards introduced

The Packer’s Prize
(chosen by the Underwater Tour Team)

Winner: Helen Walne, Cape Town, South Africa

Take3 Winner 1 Emma Turner
Take3 Winner 1: Emma Turner, NSW. Oblivious to the dislocation of a more natural habitat option, a goby makes a discarded plastic bottle its home.

The Take3 Contest
Winner 1: Emma Turner, NSW
Runner Up: Jean-Louis Lebreux, QLD

Take 3 Winner 2 JulesCasey
Take 3 Winner 2: JulesCasey, VIC. A discarded plastic cup floating under Blairgowrie Pier with a tiny juvenile seahorse inside.

Winner 2: Jules Casey, VIC   
Runner Up: Cathy Finch, QLD

Words from the organisers

“Congratulations to all winners and well done to all entrants,” said lead judge Jew.  “We’d like to thank all our valued Partners, Take 3 and their fabulous prize partners, and our generous friends at CameraPro, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, Momento Pro, Heron Island, Walindi Plantation Resort, Lady Elliot Island, Lady Musgrave Experience. QySEA FIFISH Henderson Greenpreene, Inon and SeaLife.   

Co-founder Tim Hochgrebe added, “Thank you to everyone who has taken part and supported the Awards this year. Planning for the Underwater Tour Awards 2023 is already in full swing and we are looking forward to seeing you next year.”

About the Underwater Tour and Underwater Tour Awards

An annual collaboration between Juliette Myers of IlluminOcean and Tim Hochgrebe of, the Underwater Tour seeks to celebrate the best of our oceans, promoting inspiration, discovery and adventure. The team was joined in 2020 by creative partners Darren Jew, Jasmine Carey and Greg Crow from Finslap and Photo-competitions.

For more information about the Underwater Tour, please contact Tim Hochgrebe:

The Underwater Tour Awards recorded announcement video can be found at: For more information about the Underwater Tour Awards, please contact Darren Jew:

via press release

Press releases from Divers Alert Network (DAN)