Underwater images

A selection of underwater images from some of my favorite diving destinations - most of them located in the South Pacific, but also from the best areas of Norway, where I do most of my diving.

Diving in Spain

ROCK SOLID: Spain is a popular holiday destination for many Norwegians, but not nesicerrily as a diving destination. The Mediterranean is not exactly known for its bustling life underwater. There is however no reason to remain ashore! It is underwater scenery and magnificent rock formations that make the biggest impression. Rugged cliffs, steep walls, huge boulders and small caves and arches make diving here different and exciting!

View images from Spain
Cocos Island – BIG diving!

SHARK ISLAND: In the middle of a school of hammerheads, stingrays and fish the senses are overloaded, and camera strobes going hot - we hardly even notice the tiger shark cruising past! Cocos Island is one of few places in the world where hammerhead sharks still gather in large shoals. The main reason why sharks love Cocos are the cleaning stations.

View images from Cocos

TRUE MAGIC: Art of Sunnmøre is more than just a book, it’s an attempt to show the diversity and beauty of the Sunnmøre region of Norway through the lenses of ten remarkable photographers. Being one of the ten photographers, my contributing chapter aims to convey the beauty of the sea and incredible encounters below the ocean surface - where true magic can be found.




Read more about the book Art of Sunnmøre
Third gold medal in underwater photography

GOLD MEDAL: The annual Norwegian Championship in Underwater photography was hosted by Herøy Dykkerklubb 21-25th of August 2013. All participants was allowed three dives, to shoot one selected image for each of the five categories - no editing allowed. I was very pleased to win the overall gold medal for the third time, with all my five images ranked in top 3. Congrats to Vidar Skålevik with the silver medal and Bjørnar Nygård who got the bronze - thanks everyone for a great competition-weekend!

View Lill Haugens competition portfolio 2013
Diving in Komodo
Lady bug komodo

WATER BUGS: The strong currents of Komodo National Park in Indonesia brings out extraordinary life – embrace yourself to meet komodo dragons, come face to face with schools of manta rays, admire grazing turtles, munching on amazing soft corals, and schools of fish – and the most amazing amphipods, the “lady bug”. 

View images from Komodo
Diving in the Philippines - Tubbataha

TUBBATAHA: Dynamite fishing, poverty and garbage - or the most beautiful and varied diving? In the Philippines, choices are endless: muck dive with the most bizarre and strange critters  - or with unique sharks,  super friendly turtles, stunning coral reefs and huge shoals of fish all in the Tubbataha National Park.

View images from Tubbataha
Underwater photos from Sunnmøre

Images from Sunnmøre










Seals in Norway - close up!

norwegian sealNEW FRIENDS? The grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) in Norway is normally quite shy and hard to get close to. But not always. A truly magic encounter under water, an hour long play date with four trusting seal pups in my own "back yard", in Sunnmøre in North-west Norway, left us in total awe of these beautiful marine mammals.

View images of seals in Norway
Shark diving - in Norway!?

RARE SHARKDIVE: Once the world’s most common shark, the number of spiny dogfish (squalus acanthias) is rapidly decreasing. This small shark is rarely seen by divers, until recently, when diver Raymond Hobberstad and his dive buddy found themselves surrounded by hundreds of small sharks. Norwegian divers are now experiencing close encounters each summer, with the very friendly and curious - and unfortunately critically endangered spiny dogfish.

View images of Norwegians spiny dogfish
Carpe Diem in the Maldives

DIVERS PARADISE: The Maldives islands and atolls are barely two meters at their highest, and the sea is never far away - whether on a boat or staying at a beach. Although this small country is living with the threat of being swallowed by the sea, they still have amazing white beaches and warm turquoise waters, filled with colors and teeming with marine life - a divers paradise. We “seized” a 7-day trip around the famous Ari Atoll, on the liveaboard vessel “Carpe Diem”.

View images from our trip with the Carpe Diem
The underwater magic of Norway

Humpback whales in Norway

NORWAY: The cold fjords and rough seas of Norway can be challenging and hostile, but offers some of the world's best cold water diving. This is a selection of images from magical underwater encounters in Norway.

Face to face with sharks in Fiji

Fiji bull sharkTHE SHARK DIVE: Ruling the oceans for 400 millions of years, sharks are now challenged by extensive overfishing, pollution and loss of habitat - and are rapidly disappearing from our oceans. Diving with sharks has unfortunately become a rare experience for divers. Yet, it is more popular than ever, and The Shark Dive has become one of Fiji’s most unique tourism attractions - turning Fiji into one of the world’s premiere shark diving destinations - where else can you dive with 50 bull sharks?


View images from the Fiji shark dive
Raja Ampat - in the heart of the ocean

raja ampat bat fishHOT SPOT: Raja Ampat in Indonesia is one of the world's most pristine areas for diving, well known for it's incredible biodiversity with the richest and most diverse coral reefs and ecosystems on our planet. Raja Ampat has the world record for most fish seen on a single dive, 283 different species! Naturally, our uw-photo expedition with the Arenui in April 2012 was a beautiful adventure.

View images from Raja Ampat
A dive in the underwater forest

undewater roadFLOODED VALLEY: On a beautiful spring morning in 1908, a large rockslide came crashing down from the 1218m high mountain Keipen, blocking the river, leaving the farms and the road submerged. Two million cubic meters of rock lay 40 meters high in the valley and a new norwegian lake was born: Lygnstøylvatnet. Today, the lake located in Ørsta in North-west Norway, fascinates divers with its clear blue water, trippy green fields, remains of the old barns and the mystical underwater forest.

View images of the sunken valley
Norwegian glow in the dark

glowdive hermitGLOWDIVE: Usually associated with tropical coral reefs, it is also possible to capture images of "fluorescent" creatures even in cold and murky Norwegian fjords. Armed with "Glowdive”-filters and ultraviolet lights, I was able to detect and photograph small glimpses of light in the mud.



View images from Glowdive in Norway
Diving Väderöarna in Sweden

SMALL STUFF: Only a few hours drive from Oslo, you find Väderöarna, known as the "Maldives" of Sweden for divers. This area consisting of beautiful small islands and skerries, inhabited by grey seals, offers interesting ocean diving - especially if you like tiny critters like sea star larvaes, amphipodes, isopodes, nudibranchs, skeleton shrimps and sea hares.

View images from Sweden
The classic Red Sea - still amazing

EGYPT: Mass tourism, hordes of divers, broken reefs, food poisoning with subsequent diarrhea, and sneaky locals constantly trying to sell you stuff? Well, there are still some of that, but the Red Sea is also our nearest REAL diving paradise. It’s a classic, with wrecks, reefs and plenty of marine life - and still amazing!  

View images from Egypt
Silver medal in World championship 2011

Silver medal blennieSILVER FISH: 43 underwater photographers from 23 countries got four dives in Turkey to shoot the world’s best images of 2011. My picture of a blennie was awarded the silver medal in the category Fish, and the image of a nudibranch was ranked as number 8 in the category Macro. I placed 9th in total, after one great week of fun, challenges, happy bubbles - and meeting fantastic people from all over the world in Bodrum, Turkey.

View the images from Turkey
Gold medal in underwater photograpy

Lions mane jelly fishGOLD: The annual Norwegian Championship in Underwater photography was held in Farsund 1-4 September. All participants was allowed four dives to shoot one selected image for each of the five categories - no editing allowed. I was very pleased to win the overall gold medal, with all my five images ranged in top 3. Congrats to Kristian Blø Olsen with the silver medal and Bjørnar Nygård who got the bronze - and thanks everyone for a great competition.

View images from NM
Bronze medal in the Nordic Championship

Basejump crabBRONZE: My portfolio was awarded the bronze medal in the Nordic Championship in Uw-photography 2011. Photographers from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland were competing in six different categories, and my images won the category "Non-Nordic",  and got bronze medals in the "Creative" category and the "Nordic Wide angle". Jonna Bergstrøm from Sweden landed the gold medal and Tobias Dahlin from Sweden got the silver.

View images from the Nordic championship
Bli med til Cocos - hammerhaiens rike

HAIFOTOEKSPEDISJON: Er du villig til å reise langt for å oppleve verdens beste dykking? Cocos er stedet hvor ALT kan skje - bli med på et 10-dagers eventyr til hammerhaiens rike, med Sea Hunter til Costa Rica 23. sept-5. okt 2013. NB! TUREN ER FULLBOOKET

Les mer om haiekspedisjon til Cocos
Silver medal in the Nordic Championship

SILVER: My portfolio was awarded the silver medal in the Nordic Championship in Underwaterphotography 2010. Close to 40 underwater photographers from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland were competing in five different categories. I won the Nordic category "Fish portrait" and got a bronze medal in the open "Tropical" category. Christian Skauge from Norway landed the gold medal and Tobias Dahlin from Sweden got the bronze.

View images from the Nordic Championshio
Swimming with whales in Tonga

BIG BABIES: They sing, they jump, they have smelly breath – and their newborn babies are twice as big as you. Meet the famous Humpback whales of the Kingdom of Tonga and experience great whale encounters, both over and under the surface.

View images from Tonga
Kuredu Maldives

kuredu turtle

Thanks to Kuredu Island Resort and Prodivers 

View images from Kuredu
Swimming with angels

sea angelFREEZING: If you can endure 40 minutes of diving in sea water below zero, swimming in something resembling a drink with crushed ice, with your regs hissing and blowing, you could come across a range of cold-loving tiny creatures: sea angels, krill and various amphipods and nudi branchs.

View images from Oslo
Fun in the Canary Islands

HARD FUN: 12 photographers from six European countries met in the splash-in competition "Fotosub Gran Canaria" in Costa Mogán. The goal was to create the best collection of creative underwater photography. I landed a satisfying 9th place, and got to enjoy a sunny and inspirational week of diving, with the great company of some of the words best underwater photographers. 

View images from Gran Canaria
Winner of the Norwegian Championship in UW-photo

Kelp in motionGOLD: The Norwegian Championship is organized as a splash-in competition, held on the first weekend of September. 15 Norwegian photographers participated. After being submerged most of the day, tangled up in kelp and flapping around in the surge, my images won 3 out of 5 categories - and I was able to land the title Norwegian Champion 2010. Thorbjørn Rusnes and Vidar Skålevik claimed the silver and bronze medals.

View images from the Underwater Championship
Plankton party in the Maldives

Manta rays in the MaldivesMANTA "MADNESS": The small Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll transforms itself into a plankton soup, certain days of each month, when conditions are right - mainly in the months May-November. The plankton blooming attracts a large number of hungry manta rays, which in turn attract a (too large) number of divers. Although in desperate need of regulations of the dive industry, Hanifaru is still a spectacular place - and provides great opportunities to get real close encounters with the friendly giants of the sea.

View images from Hanifaru Bay
Gentle giants of Fiji
Manta rays in Fiji

BIG SWIM: Want to see manta rays? In the Yasawa islands in Fiji, you can snorkel and free dive (no scuba tanks) with these beautiful creatures. Watch them loop and turn up side down, while scooping up delicious plankton, doing their famous manta ray “ballet”. The manta ray season is from July through September. 

View images of manta rays
Shark-weekend in Sweden!

Bull SHARKS: The Shark Weekend for divers 23-26 of September in Lysekil Sweden was initiated by marine biologists and award winning uw-photographers Anders Salesjö and Klas Malmberg are behind this initiative. No sharks were seen, but the night dives featured some interesting critters.

Go green in Tobago

TobagoGREEN STUFF: The Orinoco River leads nutrient freshwater from the rain forest of Venezuela, straight to the reefs of Trinidad & Tobago islands. In the rainy season, this transforms the seawater into a shiny green soup. The vis is lowered, but the reefs are thriving with gigantic purple sponges and an amazing fish life – and makes diving in Tobago in the wet season very different from the normal tropical Caribbean blue.

View images from Tobago
Hot springs, cold beer - and a 100 meters vis!

Iceland SilfraHOT SPOT: "Silfra" in Iceland possibly got the best visibility in the world - AND you get to dive inside the crack that geologically divides the continents of Europe and America! The crystal clear water holds only two chilling degrees, but after the dive you heat up in on of the many hot springs, get close to the famous boiling geysirs or any active volcano’s - or just relax inside a warm pub, with a tasty Egills gull beer, in the city of Reykjavik.

View images from Iceland
Sharks in magazines

Underwater journalSHARK TALE: Shark stories containing images from the Shark Dive in Fiji was recently published in the online dive magazine Underwater Journal - and in Fiji's premium issue of the online dive magazine Dive Fiji, by Tourism Fiji.



Download free dive magazines here
Namena Marine Reserve

Namena Marine ReserveTABU: The people of Fiji use traditional methods to regulate fishing and promote conservation, including designating  “tabu”  areas—places that are temporarily closed to fishing. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is working with a team of young Fijians and ten villages to conserve the Kubulau Seascape, by combining modern marine science with traditional approaches - to keep one of Fiji most spectacular reef systems and top dive sites intact.

View images from Namena Marine Reserve in Fiji
Nude-season in Norway

NudeNORWEGIAN "NUDES": Winter and early spring means ice cold diving - and peak season for nudibranch-spotting. Various species of nudies seem to thrive in Norwegian fjords at this time, and you can easily find them, doing what they love most: feed and reproduce. Although not as colorful and striking as their tropical relatives, finding Norwegian nudies still spice up a freezing cold dive. These images were shot in between climbing peaks and skiing in Ørsta in the Easter holidays.

View images of Norwegian nudes
Life in Oslo

wreck under a pier in OsloFREEZING: After one year of awesome diving in the South Pacific, mostly in Fiji - I am now back in the icy Oslo-fjord, once again suffocating in my old dry suit, the warm clothes and way too heavy gear. The fjord is cold, murky and lifeless - but not always. Thanks to the extreme cold temperatures this winter, local divers can now enjoy almost "tropical" visibility. Sadly, the same cannot be said about the water temperature.


View images from Oslo, Norway
Sharks in Oslo

Shark in OsloSHARKS: Diving in the fjord of Oslo can be a cold and murky experience - the visibility varies a lot, from OK to crap. But the colors can be striking - and if you find the small cool stuff, you will go back for more. And did I mention the sharks? Yes, you can even go shark diving in Oslo.They are not big, OR dangerous, and they are even called Dogfish - but they are still sharks...

View images from Oslo
Australias best kept secrets

Sharks in AustraliaBIG STUFF: If you plan to go down under, you probably already know about the Great Barrier Reef - one of the worlds biggest diving hotspots. BUT forget about that, the real jewels for divers are hidden much further south, still on the Australian East Coast.   Between Fraser Island's Harvey Bay and Sydney lies some of the world’s most amazing dive sites.  If you have had enough of pretty pink corals and clown fish, and want to dive with the "big stuff", this is it!

View images from Australia
Musical diving in Tonga

Soft coral in TongaSINGING: Most people go to Tonga to see (and hopefully swim with) some of the biggest marine mammals on earth: the  humpback whales. However, the lush islands of this little kingdom also offer great diving. Great visibility, good fish life, caves and swim troughs is what you can expect diving the islands of Haapai - and the dive is often accompanied by the mesmerizing sound of singing whales.

View images from Tonga
Just another (shark) day in Fiji

Sharkfeed in FijiSHARK DIVE: The pictures in this album are all shot on the same day (double Shark dive in Fiji), featuring some of the sharks you normally encounter on this Shark dive: Tawny nurse sharks at 30 meters, Bulls and Tiger shark at 16 meters, Grey reef sharks at 10 meters, White tip reef sharks and Black tip reef sharks at 4 meters. Only the Silvertips and Siclefin Lemon sharks were not spotted this day - but 6 out of 8 can't be that bad? : )

View images from the Shark Dive in Fiji
Beqa wreck dive

Rusi's pinnacleWRECK DIVE: Rusi's pinnacle is one of many great dive sites in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji. It even has a nice little wreck, an old fishing vessel sunk in 2000 - already fully decorated with colorful soft corals. The lone pinnacle by the wreck is full of colors and marine life, and this makes for a great dive between action packed shark-dives!

View images from Rusi's pinnacle in Bega
A closer look

macroSMALL STUFF: Beqa Lagoon is not (yet) famous for its marine macro-life. With colorful bommies covered in soft corals, beautiful decorated swim troughs and massive sea fans - and SHARKS, it is generally more inviting for wide angle photography. But there is plenty of small stuff too, if you want to have a closer look.


View images from Beqa Lagoon
Tiger-striped diving

Tiger stripesTIGER-LUCK: If you are lucky, you might find yourself diving with a pretty large female Tiger shark - named "Scarface".  She has been a regular visitor on the Shark dive in Beqa Lagoon for the last seven years, and everyone is thrilled whenever she decides to drop by for a fish head-snack..

View images of the tiger shark Scarface
Fiji - soft corals and hard sharks

Shark in FijiSHARKS: Fiji is often referred to as the Soft Coral capital of the world, and YES - there are amazing colors in the warm, clear Pacific Ocean. But also prepare for a great variety of marine life, such as sharks, manta rays and sea snakes - and even wrecks, beautiful caves and swim troughs - as well as beautiful macro life, if you look for it. Beqa Lagoon in Fiji is home to the world famous Shark dive, where you encounter up to eight species of sharks in one dive - including Bull sharks and Tiger sharks.

View pictures from Beqa Lagoon
New Caledonia - cool and comfortable

New CaledoniaUNSPOILT: If you have a taste for french wine, good cheese, shopping and comfortable living, as well as great diving - you might want to try New Caledonia. The world's  largest coral lagoon is found here, recently becoming recognized as a World Heritage site, as one of the three most extensive reef systems in the world. You will easily meet schools of big fish at close range, reef sharks, manta rays, turtles and sea snakes. If you are lucky, there might even be dugongs or nautilus around.

View images from New Caledonia
Norway - diving above the arctic circle

Wreck in NorwayCOLD BEAUTY: Despite being located dangerously close to the North Pole, diving in Norway is actually not too bad. The 57 000 kilometer long coast line is blessed with the mild currents of the Golf stream. The diving offers clear blue water, lush kelp forests and a rich marine life. Well preserved German ship wrecks from the war are also scattered along the coast. Even some species of sharks are observed regularly in some areas. A dry suit is highly recommended. Although sea temperatures normally reach 20 degrees in the summer - it usually drops to 7-8 at depth.

View images from Norway
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