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Gorgeous Marine-Life Stills From UM's Underwater-Photo Contest

Pietro Cremone
Courtesy UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

It's not easy to get an amazing shot of marine animals or an arresting fish photo when you're in over your head and trolling camera equipment. But each spring, hopeful amateur snappers from around the globe enter the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science's annual underwater-photography contest.

And each year, the winning photos are breathtaking. This year's fan favorite is of a pair of amorous dragonets. Even their name titillates.

More than 400 images are submitted for awards in five categories, but winning "best overall," the top prize, is a mixed blessing. That prize is a trip on Blackbeard's Cruises out of the Bahamas but as the rules state: Trip award is for one person and does not include airfare, gratuities, equipment rentals, courses, park fees, hotel stays, port taxes, etc. and is subject to availability. Fortunately, the accompanying $300 cash prize buys some good bubbly.

The prestigious University of Miami school, located next to the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key, has sponsored the competition since 2005. Fortunately, no aquarium or pool shots qualify and only amateurs can enter their heretofore unpublished work.

Visit RSMAS.miami.edu to see this year's winning photos.