Each spring Save Our Shores has photographers submit their best shots from state marine protected areas (MPAs) along the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to our Waves and Wildlife competition. The top images are then displayed in an exhibit throughout July at the Sanctuary Exploration Center of Santa Cruz. Save Our Shores aims to raise awareness and appreciation of our local marine protected areas by highlighting these locations and the amazing wildlife and ecosystems within them. Below are the winning photos from 2018!

Copy of Langhans, Michael 15 Point Lobos 2018 Save Our Shores
Copy of Olson, Amelia 1 Point Lobos 2018 SAve Our Shores
Copy of Lemley, Phil 2 Carmel Bay Coralline Sculpin (Artedius corallines) 2018 Save Our Shores

Winning photo of a swimming harbor seal at Point Lobos SMCA by Michael Langhans

Second place photo of a fiery sunset over Point Lobos SMR by Amelia Olson

Third place photo of a coralline sculpin at Carmel Bay SMCA by Phil Lemley


Marine protected areas (MPAs) are portions of our ocean and estuaries that are sheltered from particular kinds of human disturbance. From rocky intertidal zones to lush kelp forests, MPAs include a wide range of ocean habitats along our coastlines. These protected parts of ocean and coastline help conserve and restore wildlife and habitats of the sea much like state and national parks do for land. MPAs protect critical habitats and help improve the sustainability of fisheries. 


The photo competition is closed until spring of 2019, but you can still start taking shots for next year! You can utilize the rules and guidelines below to get great images for our 4th Annual Waves and Wildlife photo competition. 

  • Photos must be taken at one of the Marine Protected Areas within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary which includes:
    • Montara State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area (SCMA)
    • Año Nuevo State SMR
    • Greyhound Rock SCMA
    • Natural Bridges SMR
    • Elkhorn Slough SMCA and SMR
    • Moro Cojo Slough SMR
    • Soquel Canyon SMCA
    • Pacific Grove Marine Gardens SMCA 
    • Lovers Point SMR
    • Portuguese Ledge SMCA 
    • Asilomar SMR
    • Edward F. Ricketts SMCA
    • Carmel Bay SMCA
    • Carmel Pinnacles SMR
    • Point Lobos SMR and SMCA
    • Point Sur SMCA and SMR
    • Big Creek SMCA and SMR
    • Piedras Blancas SMCA and SMR
    • Cambria SMCA and State Marine Park
  • Please do not incorporate any text into your images
  • Preference is given to photos excluding people and man-made structures
  • Photos must be original and belong to the submitter
  • You may submit as many images as you’d like
    • If you are submitting more than one photo, please attach them in the same email with a total file size limit of 25MB. Multiple email bundles are accepted.
  • Photos must hold a minimum resolution of 300dpi
  • Acceptable file format for digital images are jpg or tiff
  • Title your email “Waves and Wildlife Entry”
  • Mention the MPA location of each of your photos
  • Include your first and last name in the email
  • If possible, please include the name of the various species within your image(s)

By submitting photos to the Waves and Wildlife photo competition, you agree to allow Save Our Shores to utilize your photos for all promotional purposes in print, online, and other outlets. This includes our website, social media outlets, newsletter, videos, etc. Photographers will be given credit for their work whenever it is used.