WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR NICK ROBERTSON-BROWN
WINNER: The Rider by Alex Permiakov
When judging any underwater photography competition, the first thing I do is ask of each image: Is it in focus? The main subject has to be pin sharp. Is it exposed correctly?
I then look at lighting (photography is all about light) and composition. Backscatter, hot spots of light, messy backgrounds: all might see your image lose out.
Then there are other considerations that might get you knocked out of the first round: Was the image taken underwater? After all it is an underwater photography competition! Were any animals distressed or harassed to get the image? Was any environmental damage done to get the shot?
Once I have whittled out the images that do not pass these criteria, it is time to get down to picking a winner. A shot that makes me go wow – I wish I had taken that!
We had a lots of entries with a great range of both macro and wide angle subjects this month, here are the ones I have picked out for comment:
Fucher with a Beard by Jaud Manfred: this is an excellent example of how to use the subject’s surroundings. The lighting is spot-on (literally) and I love the grumpy face of the ambush predator.
Flying Turtle by Frank K82: This is a lovely capture of a turtle using ambient lighting. It does feel as though the subject is watching the photographer.
My Home is my Castle by Frank Michels: This is a great macro shot of a blenny hiding in, what looks like, a bottle. The small depth of field works really well in making the subject pop out.
Twins by Claudio Ceresi: This is an, almost, delicate capture of a cleaner shrimp at work on a snake eel. I love the moody lighting and dark background which throws the subject at the person viewing.
Yellow in the Black by Claudio Ceresi: This is another shot by Claudio shot in black water of one of several animals that seem to appear only at night. I love the lighting on the face, which I presume is from a constant source rather than a strobe.
Pink Goby by Jorge Ida: This shot used a really small depth of field to make the eyes the centre of the image, everything else just blurring into bokeh.
Flying Spaceships by Billy Leung: I love the motion and perspective of this image. Just enough light in the black to pick out the other sharks, this composition works well. I would have liked a greater depth of field so that the eyes of the subject were in focus too.
Moray by David: is a truly interesting composition with contrasting colours and two interesting individuals. As the title is Moray, I would have tried to et the subject bang on in focus rather than the “supporting” acanthaster.
Nudi Flame by Alex Permiakov: This is a beautifully lit, close up abstract of a colourful nudibranch. Shot against a black background, it really does draw the eye.
The Rider by Alex Permiakov: This is a striking shot. I love the composition, lighting and contrast of colours.
Deb and Friendly Goliath Grouper by Jim Garber: This is a cute example of how a wide angle lens can change the perspective of reality. I like the angle of the grouper and how it is turning and the diver behind adds to the story being portrayed.
Arrow Squid by Jim Garber: Jim has managed to capture a squid “inking” and the light on the subject shows off its colours really well. We have to hope this squid was not under duress.
Eye Contact by Marc Eekhaut: This is a super shot of two of the most beautiful fish in the sea. Anyone who was tried to photograph these fish will appreciate how hard it can be. I like the cast that the background shows their environment yet does not detract from the subject.
Straddle by Marc Eekhaut: This is a gorgeous close focus wide angle shot of a frogfish in classic pose. The yellow of the foreground provides contrast to the blue background.
Flames by Jacques-Yves Phelipot: This image has captured a Flamboyant Cuttlefish from a great angle. The depth of field enhances the image and the colours against a black background looks amazing.
Fishing by Jack Pokoj: This is a lovely capture of a frogfish waiting to lure its prey. The snoot-like lighting in this behaviour shot really works well.
After much deliberation by our judge….
There were so many great shots to select from this month it made judging very tough indeed. Well done to all those that entered and sorry I could not comment on every image.
Winner: The Rider by Alex Permiakov
Runner-up: Flames by Jacques-Yves Phelipot
3rd place: Straddle by Marc Eekhaut:
It is with sadness that I need to announce that last month’s winner has been disqualified. It has been revealed that the subject in the winning shot of a “skeleton” nudibranch had been moved by the dive guide to make the background more attractive for the shot. The photographer openingly admitted this was the case and as our rules clearly state that subject manipulation is not permitted, we have had to take this action. The winning shot for May is now Male Leafy Seadragon by Daryll Rivett.
Congratulations to the those who were placed – some really nice, mostly macro, images here, and well done to all those that entered. I cannot wait to see what July has to offer.
Scubaverse.com’s July 2019 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.