Photo credit: Winner UNDERWATER! 2021 © Mauro Barberis ‘Fever’

As part of Ocean Festival 2022, we invited new, emerging and established underwater photographers to enter our annual UNDERWATER! 2022 photo competition.

We are pleased to announce our co-sponsor of this event is NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Prize-winning categories


Overall Winner

Chad Barlow, The Schooled Vortex

Aquatic Reserve: Cabbage Tree Bay

Artist statement - The inner state of harmony which conveniently aligns to the external chaos.  It’s about realising that it starts within the heart to prosper and drive forward what really matters, when the chaos has transitioned to bliss you know you’re home.


Highly Commended

Rosie Richards, Invasion

Aquatic Reserve: Cabbage Tree Bay

Artist statement - Under an ominously dark sky, 'Invasion' captures one of thousands of jelly blubbers that floated into Cabbage Tree Bay after an El Nina induced storm.


Underwater Seascapes (Wide Angle)

Patrick Burke, Forest of Light

Aquatic Reserve: Cabbage Tree Bay

Artist statement - My life revolves around the ocean and photography for me, is a medium I can use to share my joy and love of the ocean with others.


Marine Animal Behaviour

Rowan Dear, Shelly Jelly

Aquatic Reserve: Cabbage Tree Bay

Artist statement - Having missed the jellyfish invasion of 2021, I was so glad that they came back to the bay this year and I got to spend a few afternoons in the sunshine shooting them, and all the stings were worth it!




Macro Marine Life

James van den Broek, Bennett's Hypselodoris

Aquatic Reserve: North Harbour

Artist statement - I have always held a special place in my heart for the wonderful world of nudibranchs. The insane multitudes of designs and hyper-colours are a reminder of just how different the underwater world is to our own.



Faces of Marine Reserves

Xina Hudson, Symbiosis: Sharing this Unique Underwater World Together

Artist statement - Aquatic Reserve: Cabbage Tree Bay

Artist statement - My relationship with the ocean and swimming is symbiotic. No two ocean swims are the same as you will always come across something unique to share with your swim buddies, creating memories to treasure for a lifetime. 


Youth (16  - 24 Years) and People's Choice

Jack Fegan, Blue Dragon- an underwater beauty

Aquatic Reserve: Long Reef

Artist statement - I am amazed that these beautiful creatures are often unseen. I love their mythical look and am intrigued by their interactions when observing them in the water. I feel privileged to observe and photograph them in their natural habitat.