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World Oceans Day Winner - Emma Hanney
~Originally published June 24th, 2020. All images by Emma Hanney~

Our inaugural World Oceans Day Photo Comp was run between June 8th-21st, 2020. Some amazing images were submitted by photographers from all around the world with the message of respect and conservation for the worlds oceans being spread far and wide. Emma Hanney's beautiful image was selected as the winner by a panel of AquaTech Ambassadors and we wanted to dig a little deeper to find out more about her passion of water photography and her love for the ocean.

Where do you live?

Currently based on the Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.

What is a typical day on the water like for you? What sort of things do you find freediving and photographing?

A typical day on the Ningaloo Reef is waking up and heading out with my best mates to freedive our favourite spots in the region. I feel really lucky to be able to share these moments with my mates who also love the ocean and photography, as it makes the days out on the water even more epic and unforgettable.

Every day is different, you really never know what you’re going to see when you head out, which is one of the many reasons I love it here so much. You could find huge bait balls, turtles, tiger sharks, manta rays, whale sharks… the only thing that is constant day-to-day is that you’ll always be surprised and every trip out on the water is unreal.

shark on black background dolphins playing in the sea


Is there a dream animal interaction you are yet to tick off your bucket list?

Orcas are definitely top of my list, seeing them out in the electric blue water would be a dream.

In your experience, what impact has poor community or nationwide knowledge of the human impact on the oceans had on your area?

I think there is a whole myriad of issues, however, I think one major issue is people underestimate the fragility and importance of the ocean. The Ningaloo Reef is on the World Heritage list, yet recent plans have emerged to possibly exploit the area for oil and gas. If this went ahead the impacts would be devastating to the wildlife. It is hard to comprehend the impact that this would have on the surrounding ecosystems. Ningaloo is a nursery for humpback whales and is home to an array of other marine species and birds, many of which are already on the endangered species list. We should be working to try to protect our oceans, not adding to the list of threats.

ripped and tattooed surfer female longboarder cruising

Are there any local groups or organisations you have seen make an impact on preserving and protecting your local waterways?

Protect Ningaloo is currently doing a lot of work to help protect the area in this region.

What are your best 3 tips for someone wanting to do their bit and protect our oceans around the globe?

1. Small actions add up - for example avoiding single-use plastic and using reef-safe sunscreen.
2. Source your purchases sustainably - From the food you eat to clothes you buy, choosing companies that are ethical and sustainable can really make a difference. If you choose to eat seafood, make sure it’s sustainably sourced.
3. Spread the word – raising awareness of the fragile state of our oceans and getting conversations started with friends and family can really help.

turtle on blue background

Emma's winning image in the World Oceans Day photo competition

Can you share links to places people can see more of your photographic work?

I’m most active on my Instagram and have a website where people can visit my print store www.emhanney.com