WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS NICK & CAROLINE ROBERTSON-BROWN
WINNER: Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips by Justin Beevor
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!
July saw competition entries numbers fall a little; is everyone thinking about going on their summer holidays? But there was no let-up on the excellent quality of the photos you have sent in. Here are our thoughts on some of our favourites from July.
Stargazer by Hayley Eaude. These are tough photographic subjects, hiding down in and on the black sand, but you have made the fish stand out and caught its grumpy face very well.
Feeding my Muscles by Glynn Phillips. I like this shot of mussels feeding. It is simple and well executed.
UK Diving at its Best by James Clark. This is a lovely wreck shot. Really moody. Excellent positioning of the model with the light inside the bow.
Ascending through History by Jason Boswell. I love this shot. The chain in the foreground leading the eye up towards the wreck and diver.
Sleeping by Jo Kern. I like the contrast of colours in the shot.
Close Up by Jobet dela Cruz. This is a great shot. Really intimate. Looks like a scene from a Sci-fi movie.
Amphora by Hakan Basar. This is well done, with the diver perfectly positioned in the sun burst.
Smile by Hakan Basar. Another lovely shot of a squid. Well lit. lovely symmetry.
Octopus wants to fight by Dragos Dumitrescu. A really lovely shot. Once of my favourites of a Blue Ringed Octopus that I have ever seen, but the weed in the foreground is just a little too distracting for me.
Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips by Justin Beevor. A lovely shot. Very difficult technique and you have nailed it. Slow shutter speed giving a real sense of movement from what we have always called the “wiggly bum fish”!
UK Endangered Crayfish by Kenrina Maidment. Great eye contact. Wonderful detail in this shot.
Watcha Lookin At by Hannes Klostermann. Lovely seal portrait with gorgeous sunlight beams in the background. Love the way the whiskers really stand out and I also like the surface texture.
Drifting by Hannes Klostermann. Another lovely shot. Simple, and yet the lighting is wonderful. There is a sense of motion of the kelp in this shot. Excellent.
Chain line by Jason Boswell. Sometimes when the visibility is really poor a photographer needs to improvise and whilst I think the photo would have been enhanced by the diver showing a better profile. The image of the wreck portrays a lovely moodiness.
The head on Cuttlefish by Jobet dela Cruz is a nice close-up and stands out against the black background. I would have tried to clean up the backscatter though, as I find it a bit distracting.
I love the amphoras by Hakan Basar. The silhouette at the top of the image against the Sun through the dark blue negative space and onto the beautifully lit, bright orange amphoras is a lovely example of a close focus wide-angle shot using the sun to create a diver silhouette.
Smile by Hakan Basar. This is a really well-lit shot of a squid. I love the way the squid seems to be showing attitude to the photographer and the colours against the black background really make it pop out at you.
Family business by Dragos Dumitrescu is one of those shots where seems to be too much going on with the nudibranchs, except it works and that is mostly due to the lighting. Nice shot.
Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips by Justin Beevor. I really liked this slow shutter speed shot of a ”wiggly bum fish”. The colours are super and there is eye contact. Really nicely done, Justin.
Another of Justin’s shots with an anemone shrimp in an anemone and shot down really shouldn’t work but, like many shots, that break the rules, it works well.
The third shot of Justin Beevor’s is another nicely composed macro shot which uses a small depth of field to great effect.
I like the way Alisha Perron has isolated the cuttlefish in this image. Virtually the whole of the cuttlefish is in focus, yet its environment is in bokeh, but you can still make out its habitat.
This is a super shot of an endangered crayfish by Kenrina Maidment. Great focusing and nicely isolated against the black background. The eye contact is superb; there is a real connection between the subject and the photographer.
First on the lounger by Jeremy Smith works for me as I have never seen a wobbegong sat inside a coral.
Jeremy’s other shot of a leaf fish nicely lit against the black background is a better example of a photographic image with superb focusing and eye contact.
After much deliberations between our two judges….
Once again we were amazed by the diversity and quality of the images this month. We picked out quite different images to each other this month, but, we managed to agree on a few and as our job is to pick the winners and runners-up, this month they are:
Runner-Up: Amphoras by Hakan Basar
Third Place: UK Endangered Crayfish by Kenrina Maidment
Congratulations to the those that were placed – some truly amazing images here, and to all those that entered. Keep the images coming and we look forward to seeing more in August.