Amusing Monday: Salish Sea photo contest shows diversity of local species

Nearly 900 photographs highlighting the diversity and biodiversity of our inland waterways were submitted to the “Salish Sea in Focus” photo contest, which just announced the winners yesterday.

“One Fish, Two Fish” by Nirupam Nigam of Hoquiam
First place in Fish category, “Salish Sea in Focus” photo contest

“We’re thrilled with the quality and diversity of the photos — not only the winners but throughout the whole contest,” said Justin Cox, communications director for The SeaDoc Society, which sponsored the contest. “They capture the Salish Sea beautifully, which is everything we hoped for when we envisioned ‘Salish Sea In Focus.’”

The Grand Prize in the contest was awarded to Bruce Kerwin of Bainbridge Island, whose photo shows the furled tentacles of a giant Pacific octopus at Sund Rock on Hood Canal. Other winners were named in five categories plus an additional award for photographers under age 18.

“Octopus tentacle in a spiral” by Bruce Kerwin of Bainbridge Island
Grand Prize winner, “Salish Sea in Focus” photo contest

The winners will be recognized during a reception and awards ceremony Oct. 4 at Pacific Science Center in Seattle. In addition, the top 130 images — taken by a total of 55 photographers — will be shown on the IMAX screen. In addition to photographers from Washington, entries were received from 10 other states in the U.S., along with Canada and two other countries.

The winning photos can be seen on SeaDoc’s photo contest website, while the 130 top photos are available on a separate webpage.

“T73A1” by Ken Rea of Friday Harbor
First place, Birds and Mammals category, “Salish Sea in Focus” photo contest

The winners in each of the categories follows below. Click on the photo for a larger image. The Grand Prize winner will receive $1,000, with $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place.

Birds and mammals
First place,
“T73A1” by Ken Rea of Friday Harbor, showing a transient killer whale breaching; second place, “Look out, landing” by Eric Carr of Port Townsend, showing a pair of pigeon guillemots somewhat awkwardly dropping down toward the water for a landing; and third place, “Cleat Pillow” by Bruce Carpenter of Tacoma, showing a sleeping sea lion resting its head on a cleat used for docking boats in Westport.

First place,
“One Fish, Two Fish” by Nirupam Nigam of Hoquiam, showing “two lazy rockfish” at Sund Rock on Hood Canal; second place, “Lingcod eats octopus” by Jan Kocian of Freeland, showing the tentacles of an octopus hanging out of the mouth of a lingcod; and third place, “Painted greenling eats sculpin,” also by Jan Kocian, showing a battle between a potential predator and its prey.

“Caspian Tern Catch” by Faith Halko of Bainbridge Island // First place, Under 18 category, “Salish Sea in Focus” photo contest

Invertebrates, plants, kelp
First place,
“Nudibranch eating fish eggs” by Jeffrey Martel of Bainbridge Island, showing a colorful mollusk amidst transparent fish eggs; second place, “Purple world” by Gino Symus, showing an orange sea star among a cluster of purple ones; third place, “Red Curtain” by Nirupam Nigam of Hoquiam, showing a white-spotted rose anemone at Eagle Cove on San Juan Island.

First place,
“Fisherman” by Pat O’Hara of Port Angeles, showing a person with a fishing net at the mouth of the Dungeness River as the sun goes down; second place, “The Young Ones” by Robert Dash of Deer Harbor, showing a child looking up into a holding tank of small fish at Seattle Aquarium; third place, “Whose beach is it?” by Joan Miller of Seattle, showing crows and surfers sharing the beach at Tofino on Vancouver Island.

“Fisherman” by Pat O’Hara of Port Angeles
First place, People category, “Salish Sea in Focus” photo contest

First place,
“Sunset” by Robert Dash of Deer Harbor, showing the yellow and orange swirls of clouds at Yellow Island in the San Juans; second place, “Tree of Life in Mud” by Christopher Teren of Friday Harbor, showing tide channels that look like a tree in the Skagit Bay mudflats; third place, “Northern Lights Over the Salish Sea,” also by Christopher Teren, showing aurora borealis as seen from the shoreline of Stuart Island in the San Juans.

Under age 18
First place,
“Caspian Tern Catch” by Faith Halko of Bainbridge Island, showing a Caspian tern with a fish in its mouth over Hawley Cove Park on Bainbridge Island; second place, “Barnacle on a log” by Krystal Luchterhand of Orcas Island, showing a barnacle on a log near West Sound, Orcas Island; third place, “Heron at Sunset” by Nathan Bawaan of Seattle, showing a great blue heron before an orange sunset at Union Bay Natural Area near Lake Washington.

Three award-winning photographers who live in the Salish Sea region were placed in charge of judging the photographs. As described on the “Our Judges” page, they are:

  • Amy Gulick, a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and columnist for “Outdoor Photographer” magazine whose images and stories have been featured in “Sierra,” “Audubon,” and “National Wildlife” magazines.
  • Cristina Mittermeier, a marine biologist who turned National Geographic photographer and was named by Outdoor Magazine as one of the world’s 40 most influential outdoor photographers.
  • Kevin Schafer, a natural history photographer who has written more than 10 books and was awarded the 2000 National Outdoor Book Award and was named the 2007 Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year by the North American Nature Photography Association.

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