The 5th Anilao Shootout. Underwater Macro Photography in Philippines

Underwater photography is extremely popular among scuba divers, ranging from amateurs to seasoned divers to marine biologists. While some use underwater photography to show off their skills, others create stunning images that move not only the diving community, but people in general, drawing attention to protecting or saving vulnerable species.

Recently, I had a great opportunity to dive into the world of underwater photography and meet passionate divers from around the world, including NatGeo photographers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes. But first, I had to jump on the flight PR 0659 with Philippine Airline that took me from Dubai to Manila.

Philippines are known for their green lush beauty and turquoise waters that are home to many beautiful and unique marine animals. Anilao, located just a few hours of driving from Manila, is known to be a heaven for underwater macro photography.

The fifth Anilao Shootout gathered 173 photographers, 6 judges and dozens of media representatives from around the world with one main goal- to capture and share the beauty of the underwater world. Through the lenses of professional full frame cameras and beginner point and shoots, thousands of colorful critters were captured from every single angle. The five categories were Blackwater/Bonfire, Macro, Cephalopods, Marine Behavior and Fish Portrait. Entries depicted the magical life that is happening below the surface, hidden from the eyes of non divers.

Common Nudi shot by Anilao Shootout judge Scott Tuason

Common Nudi shot by Anilao Shootout judge Scott Tuason

The judges had to choose three best shots in each category and many valuable gifts were awaiting the lucky winners from the generous sponsors such as Philippine Airline, Nautica, Acacia and Aiynar resorts and many others

Judges also shared their stories and tips during the workshops and participants had a chance both to learn from the best and ask questions afterwards. During the Q and A session media had a chance to get to know the judges better and to discover more about the competition.

We fired our questions and kept taking pictures to share on socia media- all were very excited to be a part of this beautiful event.

After 5 days of shooting, photographers had to choose the best shot for each category from the thousands of shots taken during their dives. Judges had to go through three rounds of electronic voting to choose the best shots. We were all anticipating the winning images and looked forward to the final dinner to see the winning photos.

Anilao Shootout team organized a big dinner and as soon as we arrived we were emerged into the colorful world of Philippines through traditional dances of various regions.

We could not wait to see the winners and were excited to hear familiar names-we made friends with some of the participants during the competition.

Here are the winning images:

Open Bonfire/blackwater

Open Cephalopods

Open Fish Portrait

Open Macro

Open Marine Behavior

Open Nudibranch

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