Erika Owen
December 06, 2016

Follow along as we introduce the finalists of the 2016 T+L Photo Contest. These nine photographers come from all over the United States—but their photos span the entire world. For Round 2 of the contest, we asked each finalist to subject a few more of their photographs showcasing their talent and a video outlining why they should be named the winner. Don't forget to vote for your favorite photographer before the voting ends on December 13th.

Chris King works in the travel industry as a videographer, which only helps him take full advantage of his favorite hobby: travel photography. His photo showcasing a diver reaching for the surface (picture above) caught our judges' eyes for a couple of reasons: “You feel the compression—being able to photograph the top of the water like that, it feels like he’s so far away, but the surface seems like it’s so close because it’s lingering so low," says Travel + Leisure Photo Director Scott Hall.

And his attention to lighting did not go unnoticed by Travel + Leisure Photo Editor Alex Arnold: “The surface of the water and the way it’s picking up the light, sky, and sea floor in one plane is really cool." 

King shared a bit about how he got his winning shot in his finalist video: "This photo specifically was of my brother, who is a great swimmer, as well," he says. "Everything clicked together—we had hours ot go out and explore the reefs in Maui and spend some time free diving, waiting for the perfect water textures. He swam down as far as he could, and we let the camera go."

King finds the exercise of taking photos to be the best part of it all. "Going out and shooting photos really gives me the opportunity to go out and relax while taking in the environment and really look at a location, and share it with friends and family," King says. "The sunrise in Mexico was one of my favorite shots because I was able to show my wife on the beach with the sun coming up over the ocean without anyone else on the beach. It has become one of my favorite photos because of the pure tranquility of the moment."

While King stresses the importance of planning and taking the time to find a new location to shoot, you'll also notice a very common thread within his work: underwater photography. "Underwater photography can be a tough thing to get into because the financial investment is a little hard. I finally bit the bullet, and I bought the underwater housing for the Canon. Through that, I was able to show a side of the world that not many people get to see.

Want to know more about King? Check out his finalist video below—and don't forget to vote!

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