March 2017 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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

WINNER: Hypnotic by Dragos Dumitrescu

*Please note that Dragos’ 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/hypnotic/

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!

March 2017

Hello from Mexico! We are sat in our hotel by the Sea of Cortez, watching humpback whales cruising by our balcony, but have come inside to judge the March competition. And what a selection of fabulous images! If yours has not been picked out – then don’t feel sad, this was one of the toughest selections yet.

We have judged them together this month. Here is what we think….

Just taking an afternoon nap by Rachel Yeo. Nice critter shots taken in its environment. Good angle.

Fun and Frolics in the Farnes by Dan Shipp. Great expression and eye contact. Cute shot.

Just trying to blend in by Dan Blohowiak. Unusual by engaging reef scene.

Diving round the planet by Saiorse Berney. Good to see a 360 shot in this month’s competition. We have been experimenting with a 360 ourselves and we love the way the 3 divers are circling the camera with the sun in the middle, which creates a nice composition. We also like the one of the single snorkeler.

Camouflaged in Pink by Sephanie Mei Gaw. The lighting on the seahorse lets down a really well isolated shot. The subject is a bit too central but the diagonal of the coral works well.

Skeleton Disco by Dragos Dumitrescu. Really tough shot well executed and creating a super composition. The blue circles help formulate a lovely background.

Hypnotic by Dragos Dumitrescu. Beautiful isolation on such a tiny subject with the 2 eyes drawing your own eye straight towards them. Clever, haunting shot.

Lemon Infused by Mark Chivers. Love the compositions of the two diametrically opposed Lemon Sharks. Lovely lighting on the face of the shark swimming towards the camera.

Tank Aquaba by Andre Elbing. Simple but striking, a super shot of an often photographed subject.

Pelagia noctiluca by Julio Martinez. Striking, well-lit image with reflection on the ripples. It would have been absolutely outstanding if the whole reflection had been in the shot. Still a great image, with gorgeous lighting.

Light Show Cenote by Tom St George. Beautiful shot, all about the light. The natural lighting really gives a sense of being there and the artificial light brings out the colour in the nearest diver. Super balanced light shot.

Small white cuttlefish by Marc Eeckhaut. Nice cuttlefish shot showing it imitating the colour of its environment and yet isolated in a black background. Love the light around the eye.

Flambouyant Cuttlefish by George A Bogard. This is an interesting shot of a special subject. Normally we would be critical of the strobe in shot, but it gives perspective and scale, so it works. Displaying red tentacles on the white strobe background works well too.

Sea Spider by A. J. O’Rouke. An interesting subject nicely isolated by the bokeh.

Lovely Mandarinfish by Jurgen Kossler. Tough subject to capture. Lovely, well-lit behaviour shot of these appealing fish.

Cave Dive at Cenote Jailhouse by Tom St George. Another beautiful scenic shot, with excellent lighting and composition. The diver with light really completed the picture.

Nudibranch by Noorazizah Yusof. A gorgeous nudibranch, really well isolated from a messy background. The soft, subtle lighting really helps to create a super image.

Hilma Hooker by Marcelo Ferronato. Moody black and white image with the wreck’s diagonal enhancing the three, patrolling tarpon. Nice effect.

Drink in the Sea by Marcelo Ferronato. What an interesting take; and underwater still life with the bowl of bottles isolated from the background with good use of depth of field. My only very slight criticism is the “bulleye” composition.

And the winners are…

It took us a while to sort out the winners and runners-up! But the results are:

1st place:

Hypnotic by Dragos Dumitrescu

2nd place:

Pelagia noctiluca by Julio Martinez

Joint 3rd place:

Lemon Infused by Mark Chivers

Tank Aqaba by Andre Elbing

Well done to our winners, and to everyone who entered and gave us such a tough morning here in Mexico! We look forward to seeing your images next month.

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

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