Check out the striking photos that won the Laguna Bluebelt photo contest – Orange County Register

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A lightning strike over a Laguna Beach cove and a mosaic of hundreds of seashells took the top spots in this year’s Laguna Bluebelt Coalition’s photo contest.

Eighty photographers from Southern California participated in the annual contest that celebrates the Laguna Beach coastline and its protected underwater world that is home to numerous ocean creatures.

This year’s contest theme celebrated the ongoing recovery of ocean life and its kelp forests.

Judges called the submitted images “a kaleidoscope of magical, colorful new visions of our marine life and the underwater habitat,” but also noted the respect they showed people having as they enjoyed the environment and the Marine Protected Areas along Laguna Beach’s coastline that have helped restore local sea life in recent years.

In the amateur photography category, first place went to Sabrina Garcia, second place to Julie Rundle and third place to Roger Su.

Cyrus Polk took first place in the professionals category, Andre Magaro took second place and Rich German took third place.

The photos were judged by Mitch Ridder, a freelance photographer whose work appears in the Festival of Arts’ Artist Exhibitor Gallery; Tom Lamb,  a conservationist, documentarian and landscape and aerial photographer; and Beverly Factor, author of “SEADUCTION, The Sensuous Side of the Sea.”

A winner’s reception will be hosted Aug. 4 at the Laguna College of Art & Design to coincide with the city’s popular Thursday Art Walk, and the photographs will be displayed at the LCAD Gallery from Aug. 4 through 18.

The public can purchase copies of the winning photos at the reception; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to continue Laguna Bluebelt Coalition’s projects to educate and motivate about the preservation and protection of sea life.

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