Nature Photography contest results announced on World Oceans Day

Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba, FPNA, in collaboration with Post Aruba, and popular local multimedia artist Armando Goedgedrag, invited a handful of guests to a small exhibition at Post Office in Oranjestad, to commemorate World Oceans Day, an international awareness day, unfolding annually on June 8th.

Last year, the park invited local nature photographers in amateur, professional and junior categories to participate in a content, the 2021 edition, focusing on marine life, with the promise to turn the best photographs into stamps.

The winners’ names, and their colorful stamps, were unveiled this week in the presence of two ministers. A jury of five deliberated and revealed top entries in the amateur category: Vasco Baselli, Tobia de Scisciolo and Michael Arends. Two professional winners were picked: Kanter Constandse and Nohemi Habibe.

There were no winners in the junior category, because of the cost of the equipment, and the diving proficiency required. Underwater photography is an adult hobby/sport.

Congratulations to winners. It is most difficult to take pictures under many feet of water, think about it, as handling photo-equipment is compounded by diving-gear, wetsuit, tanks, facemask, globes, which requires a very specific set of skills, and coordination, plus endless patience and finally meticulousness, in handling delicate, expensive, digital cameras, strobes, lenses, assaulted by salt water.

And talking about underwater photography. General Manager Vasco Baselli, Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino is a serious hobbyist. He has been fortunate to work in Ecuador, among other places, think Galapagos, where he developed a passion for the tiniest, most difficult to photograph creatures, at a very close range. He is a Macro-Photography buff, which means he gets close, real close and personal, with any underwater resident, at any size from Tiger and Lemon sharks to crabs and fishies, in coral hideaways to photograph an eye, a set of teeth, a pair of wings, a grumpy attitude. Check out #vbaselli on Instagram where he humbly identifies himself as a cook, who manages hotels and is learning underwater photography.

So far, 2022 has been a good year for Baselli, winning General Manager of the Year and a Presidential Award of Excellence for the CALA region, with Hilton International, now, some more laurels from FPNA.

Vasco is an ocean advocate, he is most outspoken about sharks, busting many myths about their dangerous nature, we’re not on their menu, he says, we can coexist beautifully.

His contest entry is almost abstract, and strikingly colorful. He calls it ‘The Face of a Flamingo Togue.’ He photographed this sea snail shell, at Arashi, it boasts roundish black and yellow/pink markings. It looks as if it has an eye, outlined in black eyeliner, and it shines against coral.

Other entries all feature worthy residents of the ocean, sea turtles, crabs and floating vegetation.

The purpose of the World Ocean Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, and develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize us for a protection of a healthy ocean.

The exhibition currently at the Post office will move around the island and finally end on display at the park. The winning images will be carries on the new stamps and on the park’s entrance tickets.

The park had already announced the 2022 Nature Photography contest, and the theme is Native Flowers of Aruba, enter until October 31st, 2022.

Check the contest out at:

Thank you judges for picking well: The 2020 winner Hubert de Cuba, a representative of FPNA, one of Post Aruba, plus two artists Suelyn Dankerlui and Armando Goedgedrag.


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June 10, 2022
Rona Coster