A fleeting encounter of two translucent goby fish has won the top prize at the 2011 Annual Underwater Photography Contest, hosted by the University of Miami.
The winning photograph was of two tiny gobies, no bigger than an inch, spotted on a dive near Marsa Alam on Egypt's Red Sea coast. The sea creatures' quick get-together was captured by Tobias Friedrich of Germany.
"I spotted the first goby and set up my camera for a close angle," Friedrich said. "Slowly I was approaching the small fish so that it could fill out the picture a bit more. When I was ready for the shot, surprisingly, a second goby came out of nowhere and placed itself on top of the first one."
Friedrich quickly snapped a couple of shots before the second goby disappeared seconds later, he said.
A panel of experts judged more than 600 photos from 20 countries. The judges included husband-and-wife underwater photographers Myron and Nicole Wang, marine biologist Michael Schmale of the University of Miami, and professional photographer Brian Call.
"The winning photograph has it all … color, balance and symmetry. The translucent goby are just spectacular!" said Myron Wang.
Winners were also announced on Wednesday in other categories, including fish or marine animal portrait, macro, wide angle and best University of Miami student photo. The winning photos include a pygmy seahorse, a pack of barracudas, a web burrfish and other freaky sea creatures. See the winning images here.
The underwater photography contest is held annually, and is open to all amateur photographers who earn no more than 20 percent of their income from their photography. The winning prize is a trip on Blackbeard's Cruises departing from Freeport, Bahamas.