The Northern California Underwater Photographic Society ( proudly presents the 45th Annual SEA International Underwater Photographic Competition, and the Bob Commer Award of Excellence in Underwater Photography. This “mail-in” underwater digital still and print photography, and underwater videography competition is open to amateur photographers and videographers from around the world. Award sponsors of the SEA 2009 competition, with prizes totaling in the tens of thousands of dollars, include scuba ecotourism resorts, travel agencies, and luxury live-aboards, as well as scuba and photography equipment manufacturers. Sponsors include: Nai’a Cruises, Fiji; Kararu Cruises, Indonesia; Bilikiki Cruises, Solomon Islands; MV Febrina, Papua New Guinea; Pindito Dive Cruises, Indonesia; Manthiri, Maldives; Stormcase, Lowepro, SanDisk, Ultralight Control Systems, Ikelite, and Backscatter Underwater Photo and Video. Previous competitions have brought in hundreds of the finest still image, print, and video entries from underwater photographers and videographers around the world.

The SEA 2009 underwater photographic competition will issue awards for the best work in categories including Macro, Wide Angle, Underwater California, and Marine Conservation; a traditional print category; and a digital creative category. Added in 2009 is an additional video category, Video Snapshots. With the new Video Snapshots category and the continuing Classic Video category, videographers of all levels will have an opportunity to participate in the competition. In the creative categories entrants are encouraged to use any and all tools available to express their individual creativity.

The SEA International Competition Best of Show, in addition to a selected prize from the prize list, is awarded the prestigious Bob Commer Award of Photographic Excellence. All media; digital still, print and video, are eligible to win this prestigious award. The winner of the Bob Commer Award receives $500 and a handcrafted glass trophy of an underwater photographer. (For additional info:

Continuing this year at the SEA competition is the Marine Conservation Category. Underwater photographers have a responsibility to educate other divers and non-divers about issues related to the marine environment. Underwater photographers have first-hand experience with environmental issues and the means to illustrate them to those who have limited or no underwater experience. The entries in this category should illustrate a marine conservation issue, whether it is an endangered or rare species or environment; an illustration of a non-sustainable fishery; or something positive, such as re-growth of an environment, return of an endangered species, or an illustration of the benefits of artificial reefs. The Marine Conservation Category is open to still images taken underwater anywhere in the world. Entries should include a maximum 75-word description about where the image was taken, the story behind the image, and why it was important to the photographer to take the image and tell the story.

Still images only will be accepted in the Marine Conservation category. Proceeds will be donated to a marine conservation/environmental educational organization at NCUPS’ discretion. All of the entries of the Marine Conservation category will be displayed with their descriptions on a special NCUPS marine conservation webpage (visit the NCUPS website to view previous winners and entries).

All entries are due by October 9, 2009. Winning entries will be announced on the NCUPS website by November 1, 2009. Download Rules, Regulations, and the Entry Form from the NCUPS website at

The Northern California Underwater Photographic Society, one of the oldest and most prestigious underwater photography clubs in the United States, possibly the world, promotes conservationism and environmental protection through the membership’s shared passion in underwater photography and videography. Established in 1957, NCUPS sponsors educational events on both underwater photography and video while promoting awareness of the underwater environment and pertinent ecological issues.