Master of the Competition: Shih Po-Sheng
Everyone loves an underwater photography shootout that has big prizes, but Ocean Geographic’s Celebrate the Sea Festival in Manado went one step further. In addition to a huge prize pool, the festival saw the North Sulawesi provincial government make declarations to ban single-use plastic and the sale of shark fins in Manado.
The festival featured keynote speakers including the legendary Dr. Sylvia Earle, film producer Craig Leeson, musician Kristin Hoffmann, and underwater photographer and event founder Michael Aw. Dr. Earle opened the event with the announcement that the Bunaken Marine Park is under consideration to become one of Mission Blue’s “Hope Spots”—areas of ocean that provide hope for the future.
The guests from Murex Dive Resorts in Manado took the three-day underwater photography shootout by storm as they were awarded the “Master of the Competition” award (Shih Po-Sheng) as well as winner and runner-up awards in both the Portraits and Small Exotic Animals categories (Richard Meng, Tyler Wang, Tianhong Wang and Shih Po-Sheng). Other prestigious sponsors included Lembeh Resort, Siladen Resort & Spa, and Eco Divers.
The event, which is in its 13th year, aims to use the power of pictures to inspire conservation and protection of the stunning marine environment of North Sulawesi, including Bunaken Marine Park, Manado Bay, Bangka Island, and the Lembeh Strait. The impressive prize pool totaled over $35,000 in both cash and holiday prizes and the standard of entry submissions was exceptionally high in all categories. To engage with the younger audience, the festival also included a children’s art competition and Kristin Hoffmann filmed the new video for her hit “Song for the Ocean” whilst on location.
Small Exotics Animals Winner: Tianhong Wang
Portraits Winner: Richard Meng
Seascapes Winner and Special Jury Award: Emily Chan
Compact Cameras Winner: Marcel Duske
Black and White Winner: Brett Lobwein
Runners-up: Shih Po Sheng (Small Exotics Animals), Tyler Wang (Portraits), Dominik Fretz (Seascapes), Goh Soo Lin (Compact Cameras), Melinda Brown (Black and White), and Berna Tural (Black and White).
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