My Favorite Dive

Contributors' Picks: Bold & Beautiful

Risbecia tryoni nudibranch
Photo by Matthew Meier: Risbecia tryoni nudibranch moving over a pink sponge, Puerto Galera, Philippines. Gear: Nikon D810 camera, Nikon 105mm macro lens, Subal housing, two Sea&Sea YS-250 strobes with snoots. Exposure: ISO 200, f/18, 1/250s

Many marine creatures have defensive mechanisms—they may sting, have venom, sharp spines, warning colors, or bite. We asked our contributors what their favorite underwater photos of these bold and beautiful critters were, and they came back with a variety of subjects like colorful nudibranchs, cnidarians that sting, scorpionfish with sharp spines, sharks and even crocodiles with sharp teeth.

My Favorite Underwater Images: Angling Up—Contributors' Picks

Giant Pacific manta ray
Giant Pacific manta ray in Revillagigedo Islands (Socorro), Mexico. Gear: Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, Nauticam housing, Panasonic 7-14mm lens, dual Sea&Sea strobes. Exposure: ISO 500, f/10, 1/125s

We asked our contributors what their favorite underwater photos taken with their camera angled upward were, and they returned with a variety of subjects captured while looking up... from delicate macro marine life to floating jellyfish, from majestic manta rays to divers and even birds.

My Favorite Circles, Curves, Bubbles & Swirls: Contributors' Picks

big-eye jacks, Liberty wreck, Bali, Indonesia
Photo by Scott Bennett: Circular swirling school of big-eye jacks, Liberty wreck, Bali, Indonesia. Gear: Nikon D200 camera, Sigma 10-20mm lens at12mm, Hugyfot housing, two Ikelite D125 strobes. Exposure: ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/100s

We asked our contributors what their favorite underwater photos featuring circles, curves, bubble shapes and swirling patterns were, and they came back with a diverse selection of subjects from delicate macro marine life to majestic manta rays and giant whale sharks.

My Favorite Spots, Stripes & Stars: Contributors' Picks

Coleman shrimp on variable fire urchin. Photo by Anita George-Ares
Photo by Anita George-Ares: Coleman shrimp on variable fire urchin, Secret Garden dive site, Anilao, Philippines. Gear: Canon EOS Rebel SL1 camera, Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM lens, Ikelite housing, two Ikelite DS161 strobes. Exposure: ISO 100, f/11, 1/200s

We asked our contributors what their favorite underwater photographs featuring spots, stripes and star patterns were, and they returned with a surprising range of subjects from delicate macro marine life to majestic manta rays.

My Favorite Black & White: Contributors' Picks

Salem Express wreck. Photo by Kate Jonker
Photo by Kate Jonker: Salem Express, Southern Red Sea, Egypt. Gear: Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, Sea&Sea housing, two Inon Z240 strobes. Exposure: ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/60s

We asked our contributors what their favorite black-and-white underwater photographs were, and they came back with diverse and dramatic images and stories captured under the waves.

My Favorite Color Contrast Pix: Contributors' Picks

Cassiopea jellyfish, Dumaguette, Philippines. Photo by John A. Ares
Photo by John A. Ares: Cassiopea (upside-down) jellyfish, Dumaguete, Philippines. Gear: Canon EOS Rebel SL1 camera, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens set at 18mm, Ikelite housing, twin Ikelite 161 strobes. Exposure: ISO 400, f/16, 1/160s

We asked our contributors what their favorite images of color contrasts were, and they sent back photos and stories revealing the diversity of color contrasts found under the waves.

My Favorite Underwater Progeny Pictures: Contributors' Picks

Manatee calf with mother, Florida, USA. Photo by Don Silcock
Photo by Don Silcock: Manatee calf with mother, Florida, USA. Exposure: ISO 800, f/11, 1/60s. Gear: Nikon D800 camera, Nikon 16-35mm lens, Nauticam housing, dual Ikelite DS160 strobes

We asked our contributors what their favorite images of broods and juveniles were, and they sent us photos and stories about the offspring and parenting behaviors of a variety of marine species.

My Favorite Underwater Portraits: Contributors' Picks

Gentle Soul, photo of Australian sea lion by Celia Kujala
Gentle Soul, photo of Australian sea lion by Celia Kujala

We asked our contributors what their favorite underwater portraits were, and they sent us photos and tales of intriguing marine life. From sea lions to hammerhead sharks, manatees to sea turtles, dolphins to pilot whales, lemon sharks to pufferfish, wrasse and seahorses, and even kids, X-Ray Mag contributors share their favorite images showing a range of faces and personalities found under the waves.

My Most Unusual & Unexpected Dive: Contributors Picks

Photo by Martin Voeller
Mola mola caught in fishermen’s nets, Chiba, Japan. Photo by Martin Voeller

We asked our contrib­utors what their most unusual or unexpected dive was and they sent us photos and tales of unique experiences under the waves, some involving interactions with intriguing species, others purely chance encounters or surprising discoveries.