>The next day when I looked at the camera table I realized the approaches to underwater photography represented were numerous and varied. The assembled tools of the trade ranged from multi-thousand-dollar digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras in extravagant aluminum housings to moderately priced point-and-shoot cameras in Ikelite polycarbonate housings. There were even iPhones in plastic bags. This was before SeaLife and GoPro cameras had begun to percolate so pervasively through the underwater imaging space, but even then the options were quite eclectic.
>I think that's when it hit me: Underwater photography is not about the cameras we buy, it's about the passion we have. Each photographer was excited for his or her time in the cage and for the opportunity to get close to a great white shark. We were all eager to view the beauty of the sea and to share our vision and photographic execution with others.
>We can share our discoveries via dive media such as Alert Diver and, most often, via social media. Facebook and Instagram are the new portals to underwater imaging, and on any given day the images that appear in my news feeds are spectacular.
>Photo contests such as Ocean Views, run in partnership with Nature's Best Photography magazine, are like social media on steroids. Not only will a wide audience get to view the winning photographs, but unlike the transitory "likes" an image might garner online, the prizes awarded to the winners are of great value — travel and equipment worth thousands of dollars, donated by our generous sponsors.
>Congratulations to the photographers whose images have made it to these pages. Your photos have risen to the top of a fiercely contested field of extraordinary images. We honor your achievement, knowing all the while your greatest prize will have been the pure joy of the pursuit.
>Ocean Views 2015 winners gallery
>View the Contest Galleries
>Ocean Views 2015 bonus gallery
>© Alert Diver — Q2 Spring 2015