February 2017 Photo Contest Winner and Review

WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS NICK & CAROLINE ROBERTSON-BROWN

WINNER: Double Exposure by Alessandro Giannaccini 

*Please note that Alessandro’s winning shot is a portrait photo, and had to be converted into a landscape shot to be displayed above. Follow the photolink below to see the photo in its correct orientation:

PHOTOLINK: http://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/alessandro-giannaccini/

When judging any underwater photography competition, the first thing we do is ask of each image: Is it in focus? The main subject has to be pin sharp. Is it exposed correctly?

We 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 we 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 us both go wow – I wish I had taken that!

February 2017

Wow – the shortest month of the year has brought a bumper crop of images! This is our biggest entry to date with 89 images for us to look through.

We are overseas at the moment, so this month we are sitting over a laptop at the airport judging the images together. It was very difficult to single out the finalists, so we had to be particularly single-minded this month – but here are our thoughts.

The shots that really stood out for us this month are:

Sardine Run by Alex Permiakov – an interesting shot with lots of action and eye contact going on in the frame.

Don’t Mess with Me by Kirk Irwin – this is a real eye-catcher! Fabulous use of monochrome to give maximum impact. Genuine contrast, with the eel’s black shapes making him melt into the background. Well done.

Showing off his beautiful fins by Khoo yi ping – lovely snoot shot, and we also like the artistry in Tinny Winny Nemos too.

A sealy sea lion fishing for compliments by Ryan Sault is gorgeous. Lovely expression on the sea lion face really gives the viewer the knowledge of what it is like to dive with these characters.

Wondrous Weedy by David Zakarias. Love the angle this shot is taken at, which helps create a 3D effect. Eye in focus and a lovely shot.

Porcelain crab by Mariska van der Paauw. Lovely macro shot of this crab in its environment. It is all too easy to close down the depth of field and lose that effect. We like this.

Double Exposure by Giannaccini Alessandro. This is a great shot (well two actually!) beautiful lighting using a difficult technique to master. We both prefer this one, with the second in this series looking a little forced. This one looks natural, almost giving the impression of a close up wide angle shot.

Jump by Giannaccini Alessandro. Another great shot. Pin sharp subject and a beautiful bokeh background

Underwater Boxing by Karlo Macas. Interesting bit of creative underwater photography. Nice reflection on the pool surface and a well composed shot.

Underwater Climbing by Mario Robillard. Simple but effective. Everything in focus, subject really pops out of the dark background.

Banded Sea Krait by Tracey Jones. This shot is worth a mention if only for the difficulty in capturing this image at night! The use of a snooting light is perfect and this really jumped out at us when judging.

Cuttlefish by David Haintz. Love this. Very engaging subject that has been well lit. Shame the very top of his tentacle has been clipped.

Scorpion Fish by Tim Spaanheden Dencker. Love the contrasting textures in this shot. Lovely coral to find this fish resting on.

My Buddy in Action by Marc Eeckhaut. A great shot of one of our favourite subjects (the frogfish not the diver) Well done.

Giant Frogfish by Daniel Slaughter. Understated but wonderful. The lighting is subtle but works on this tough subject. Black and brown frogfish are notoriously difficult

Lizard Fish by Daniel Slaughter. Another great shot by Daniel of another difficult subject. Love the eyes on this one

Hairy Frogfish by Larry Davis. It is a crazy month for Frogfish this month! We love the hairy ones and this shot includes the environment it lives in to give it some perspective.

Walk Tall by Sean Steininger. A great shot of this coconut octopus facing-off to the camera, A bit more eye contact would have made this a superb wow shot!

Inky Black by Mark Chivers. A beautiful colour capture of these photogenic animals which really works well on a black background

And the winners are…

Winner is Double Exposure by Giannaccini Alessandro

Second Place is Banded Sea Krait by Tracey Jones

Joint Third Place (too hard to separate) are Lizard Fish by Daniel Slaughter and Don’t Mess with Me by Kirk Irwin

Well done everybody. Let’s see if we can get over a hundred entries in March!

Scubaverse.com’s March 2017 Photo Contest is now live! Enter here.

Profile photo of Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

About Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit www.frogfishphotography.com.