2023 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

May 26, 2023 through September 4, 2023


2022 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest Results

Thank you to all the photographers who shared their view of national marine sanctuaries with us! Click each photograph to see the full version.

Sanctuary Views

See the beautiful scenery of the National Marine Sanctuary System through visitors' eyes.

Aerial view of waves breaking on a rocky shoreline.
1st Place: Leighton Lum. Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) at sunset on Maui's west coast.
Aerial view of waves breaking on a rocky shoreline.
2nd Place: Rich Formica. Carmel By The Sea, one of the most beautiful meetings of land and sea.
Distant islands through a driftwood frame. Photo is taken from inside a piece of driftwood on the beach.
3rd Place: Allison Formica. Driftwood frame at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, near Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Shipwreck sitting on the bottom of Lake Huron.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Lindsay. 'Wreck of the Ohio' - The S.S. Ohio rests 300' below Lake Huron in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, Presque Isle.
Man and boy watch the sunet atop a rock on a beach.
Honorable Mention: Patrick Stoll. Joy! Father and son are enchanted by sunset at Carmel Beach, CA, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Sanctuary Life

From tiny krill to enormous gray whales, thousands of species call the National Marine Sanctuary System home! This category depicts the amazing marine life that you can find in your national marine sanctuaries.

Flamingo tongue snail on a sea rod with a diver in the distance.
1st Place: Daryl Duda. Flamingo tongue snail (Cyphoma gibbosum) on a sea rod with a diver in the background at Elbow Reef off Key Largo in Florida Keys National Sanctuary.
Spoonbill gliding through a scenic sunset with the water reflecting the sky's cotton candy-like hues.
2nd Place: Jack Louden 'Spoonbill Over Paradise' - A pink spoonbill (Platalea) soars over Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
A humpback whale lunge feeding while cormorants and gulls swarm the oceanscape.
3rd Place: Douglas Croft. "A lunge feeding humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). This humpback was feeding just outside of Moss Landing Harbor in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The school of anchovies (Engraulidae) brought a bunch of cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae) and gulls (Larinae) with it as it used our boat for cover."
Blenny fish exiting its colorful and textured den.
Honorable Mention: Justin Wallace. Macro shot of a blenny fish (Blennioidei) in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Sunlight casting a unique pattern on galapago shark's head while its dorsal fin pokes out of the water slightly.
Honorable Mention: Leighton Lum. Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) off the North Shore of Oahu.


Sanctuary Recreation

National marine sanctuaries provide an idyllic setting for a variety of recreational activities. This category celebrates the people who visit them.

From inside of the cave, a large group of kayakers paddling near by.
1st Place: Dustin Harris. Paddlers near Scorpion Anchorage, in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, explore sea caves and rock gardens. Kayaking allows for visitors to the Sanctuary and National Park to get up-close and personal with all of the unique ecosystems and features that inspired this area to be protected.
Sailboat turning on its side as it navigates challenging waves during a race.
2nd Place: John F. Hunter. Sailing with friends at the races with rocky waves in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Child and dog, both wearing life vests, dolphin watch from a rigif inflatale boat.
3rd Place: Jessie Simon. Dolphin watching is fun for everyone! Pictured here, a child and furry friend (canine) search for dolphins in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Group of surfers ride large barreling wave.
Honorable Mention: Robert Weber.A party wave is when everyone drops in. The winter surf rolling in from Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore brings out the big wave riders.
Silhouette of diver with rig in the background near vibrant corals.
Honorable Mention: Roger Veteto.'Rigscape' - A diver, fish and coral on a rig at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary encounters orange cup coral (Tubastraea coccinea) and blue chromis (Chromis cyanea).


Sanctuaries at Home

While it’s important to get outside, experience nature, and recreate responsibly, we know that many of us spent more time at home this year. Through art, stewardship activities from home, and responsible water-based recreation photographers shared how they connected with national marine sanctuaries from afar.

A watercolor painting of a leatherback sea turtle next in a journal next to some paint palettes.
1st Place: Alison Hibbert. A watercolor painting of a leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and some research documented in a journal.
Person watching a NOAA webinar on a desktop computer.
2nd Place: Mirjam P. Spaar. Watching a NOAA webinar entitled "We Rescued the Monitor" after visiting Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
Comparison of watercolor painting and actual photo of a kelp forest.
3rd Place: Bruce Sudweeks. Watercolor painting of kelp forest in Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
A man and a small boy hold hands while walking on the beach.
Honorable Mention: Darpan Manharbhai. Enjoying Dandi Beach, Navsari, in India.
Alligator is visible in the water near red mangroves.
Honorable Mention: Michael Sipos. This photo was snapped while hiking in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge located in the western portion of the Florida Everglades. Pictured is an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) resting in the marsh near a clump of red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), two iconic Florida species.



Please note that we may use any of the photos we received for this contest on our website, on social media, and in other NOAA and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation publications. We will provide credit to photographers whenever we use any of the photos. Organizations other than NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation may use photographs submitted in this contest to promote sustainable and responsible recreation in the National Marine Sanctuary System. These photos are not for sale and are not for commercial use unless prior permission is arranged.