Aquarium Seeks Your Best Ocean Photos
Snap an ocean-related photo, and it could end up as part of a water-themed calendar for 2016.
Produced by Waikiki Aquarium, the photo contest and the resulting calendar are intended to get people thinking about environmental issues pertaining to the ocean. “It’s just to raise the awareness of our fragile ocean ecosystem — and promote a greater appreciation,” explains Waikiki Aquarium director of community outreach MaryLou Foley.
Entries are accepted via the Aquarium’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) through July 10. Other than having their photo featured in the calendar, winners also will win ocean sporting gear provided by American Underwater Products (AUP), the umbrella company that oversees scuba equipment brands Hollis, Oceanic and Lavacore.
“It’s all about getting the good word out about what they are doing at the Aquarium. It’s not just about seeing animals, it’s about nurturing young kids,” says AUP sales and operations manager for the South Pacific region Lee Bell. “They do a lot of beach cleanups, they have a lot of volunteers who are working with the monk seals. They do a lot of education.
“And (social media) has a farther-reaching arm than any of us,” Bell adds. The public can vote on their favorite photos July 11-17, which will narrow down the submissions to 20 finalists. From there, a group of judges — which includes nationally known photographers and noted scuba divers — will choose the top 12. All winners will receive $200 worth of scuba gear and underwater equipment that includes gear bags, thermal protective clothing and more. The photographer whose photo is selected as the cover shot also will receive an additional $500.
The calendars will be distributed to local educators, legislators, Aquarium donors and more, and also will be available for purchase at the Aquarium gift shop.
Other than providing marine life exhibits, the Waikiki Aquarium also has a number of programs that include protecting marine species, con ducting sea turtle rescue and releases, cleaning up invasive algae and conserving coral. It also regularly hosts school groups and holds educational sessions for keiki.
In addition to sparking a conversation about ocean health, the contest, Foley hopes, also will be a way to encourage people to just pause to appreciate the water.
“Everyone is so busy, and living here, I think we sometimes take the ocean for granted,” Foley says. “We see the beauty of the ocean, but we don’t always take the time to explore it. This allows us to really see what is under there.”
The contest is open to everybody ages 18 and up. Photos must have been taken in the Hawaiian Island chain between Jan. 1 and July 10. Winners will be announced in early August. To enter, like the Aquarium on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter or Instagram. Post your photo using #WAQCalendarContest2015. For more information, visit waikikiaquarium.org.