Connect with us


2018 Digital Shootout



Coverage of the 2018 Digital Shootout Is Now Online at

Held every year in June and sponsored by Backscatter Underwater Video and Photo, full coverage of the world’s largest and longest running underwater photography and videography learning event, the Digital Shootout is now online.

This year’s event was hosted by Coco View Resort in Roatan. With excellent diving conditions, a host of new faces and an expanded list of seminars and classes, this year’s Digital Shootout was one of the best in the event’s 18-year history. Staffed by some of the industry’s top underwater imaging professionals, the Digital Shootout offers shooters of all levels a chance to learn about technique, post-processing, and equipment in a hands-on environment as well as dive and meet with others who share the same passion. With the largest and most diverse demo gear fleet at an underwater imaging event, the Digital Shootout also gives guests the opportunity to try out new gear.

Digital_Shootout 2018: 1st Place; Shark; Jake Stout

Shootout Life—See What It’s Like to be in the Middle of it All

If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to attend a Digital Shootout, check out the Shootout Life section of the site. “I think having a group of people all with same mindset and focus leads to a lot of great camaraderie that you don’t get on a run-of-the-mill scuba trip. Everyone has the same goals–to get great images,” said Backscatter CEO, Jim Decker. “There were many a late night at the bar with people talking f stops, lenses, and how they just got or just missed the shot. At the end of the event the final awards presentation was shown on a 12 foot wide screen in the ocean for a unique experience, followed by an awesome after party. It was a great group of people and certainly the highlight of the year for me.

Digital Shootout staff member Joel Penner shot an awesome Day in the Life video to give a non-attendee a taste of what it’s like to be at the Digital Shootout at:

Digital Shootout 2018: 1st Place Wide Traditional Philip Seys

Learning—The Core Mission of the Digital Shootout

The learning aspect is the main draw to the event and the primary focus. This year’s event included seminars and classes on the fundamentals of underwater photography, organizing and editing images in Lightroom and Photoshop, creative lighting, split shots, advanced video, editing video in Adobe Premier, visual storytelling and more. Among the teaching staff were Backscatter founder Berkley White, Backscatter CEO Jim Decker, Adobe Certified Expert expert Erin Quigley, Brazilian Emmy award-wimming filmmaker Cristian Dimitrius and pro videographer Steffan Schulz. “It was great to see the participants improve throughout the week,” said Backscatter CEO Jim Decker. “I’m really proud of the progress everyone made, and it shows in the contest results.”

Digital Shootout 2018: Shark Dive Jim Decker

Demo Gear and Gear Tests

Every year one of the most popular parts of the shootout is the demo gear. “We had a great lineup of gear this year from Nauticam, Olympus, Light & Motion and Pegasus Thrusters,” said Backscatter Media Producer Robin Dodd. “If you ever wanted to try anything from a compact, mirriroless, SLR, video lights, fluro lights, and even underwater scooters, it was here and available. There’s so much demo gear that people were able try out gear multiple times throughout the event. There’s no other place you can try out so much diverse gear in one spot than at the Digital Shootout.”

With so much underwater imaging gear in one place at the same time, the Backscatter and demo gear staff engage in a lot of testing and familiarizing ourselves with the newest and hottest items out in the wild. “The gear test section of the website always proves to be one of the most popular sections of the shootout site,” said Backscatter Resident Photographer Dylan Silver.  “Everyone wants to see images from the latest gear and see how it performed at the event.

Digital Shootout 2018: Twin Morays Jim Decker

Contest Results

Contest? What contest? While there is an imaging contest at the end of the week, this is primarily a learning event, not a competition. While there might be some serious people putting in a lot of work, the atmosphere is friendly and supportive, with many past winners and advanced shooters giving advice to others. We wouldn’t want to have it any other way. This year’s highest honor, the Jim Watt award, was presented to 17-year-old Alex Seys, the youngest participant to ever win best-in-show, for his incredible macro video compilation. “A big congratulations to Alex for being our youngest best of show winner ever, and with a video, which is also a first,” said Backscatter CEO Jim Decker.” Alex has been coming to the shootout for years and has been working really hard at improving his skills and it really shows.” Previously the award has never been given to a videographer. Check out Alex’s video and all the winners at

Rolex Our World Underwater and Boston Sea Rovers Scholarship Winners Attend the Digital Shootout

Yann Herrera, the Our World Underwater North American Rolex Scholar, and Jake Stout, intern and scholarship winner for Boston Sea Rovers were sponsored by Backscatter with scholarships to  attend the event. For both of them, it was their first time shooting underwater. “We feel honored to have Yann and Jake attend the Digital Shootout on scholarship this year,” said Jim Decker, CEO of Backscatter. “They did very well especially considering this was both their first time shooting underwater! We know that time and money can be a difficult barrier for young people to be able to get into underwater imaging, and we want to encourage the next generation of underwater image makers and ocean advocates be able to get out there and shoot.”

You can check out Yann and Jake’s progress at the shootout in the Shootout Life section of the website at

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit


Emperor Divers recognises the 8th and final Covid Diver Hero to win a liveaboard trip



In February Emperor Divers launched the Covid Diver Heroes initiative, aiming to recognise 8 people who have stepped up in the pandemic with free liveaboard trips in the Maldives and the Red Sea. They received hundreds of nominations and left it up to a varied panel of loyal staff to sift through the entries. All inspired, many amazed and some brought tears. What is clear is that divers are awesome, and it came as no surprise that within the international underwater community there were so many selfless, empathetic heroes.

The Emperor Divers’ panel have made the final choice for the 8th liveaboard prize, this time for a trip of a lifetime in The Maldives. Nominated by his cousin, Alex Chan, this is his story:

“There will be no greater reward for this selfless cousin of mine to win a liveaboard trip to the Maldives where he can find solace in SCUBA diving, the holiday activity he enjoys most. I have not seen him physically for more than a year nor did his parents because he has isolated himself for fears of inadvertently bringing the virus home.
I, Alex, nominate KK Tan, 38, a doctor from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for his tireless efforts as a supporting role to the Frontliners during this time of pandemic. By day, he takes up the administrative role to procure quality medical equipment and ensure proper distribution to health facilities throughout the country an uphill task in view of the rising number of cases in my country. By night, he would return to his former hospital to help out with the outpatient cases there.  If not working on weekends, he would visit a couple of old folks home to provide encouragement, free medical consultations as well as deliver medications where able. He tells me always “Since I cannot go diving in the sea, I might as well dive in the sea of COVID19. There are many beautiful things to see here too.”

Alex has been in contact with KK and said: “He was ecstatic! Thank you for selecting my nominee for the final winner for the liveaboard. I’m sure it will be a beautiful light for him at the end of the tunnel.”

As a roundup, here is the full list of winners who will enter the Covid Diver Heroes Hall of Fame:

  • Deborah Brabham, UK
  • Noam Har-Tzvi, Israel
  • Megumi Gotada, Germany
  • Phuong Cao, USA
  • Ingrid Stubelius, Sweden
  • Lily Lancaster, UK
  • Susana Garcia, Spain
  • KK Tan, Malaysia.

The Emperor Divers Team have even been lucky enough to meet Susana Garcia already, she has just been out on a liveaboard trip in the Red Sea and we were able to give her a trophy as well as spend time with one of our Heroes.

Questions and enquiries to

Continue Reading


Diving with… Hassan Samir, Fuvahmulah Scuba Club, Maldives



In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…

What is your name?

Hassan Samir

What is the name of your business?

Fuvahmulah Scuba Club

What is your role within the business?


How long has the business operated for?

We operate 4 dive centres in different locations in Maldives (Cocoon Maldives, Drift Thelu Veligaa,
South Ari Dive). Fuvahmulah scuba club is a new dive center in Fuvahmulah.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I am the owner of the dive centre, I am an Advanced Open Water Diver and I started diving in the past
1 year only. But our Dive instructors are all qualified and have more 10 years’ experience in the diving

What is your favorite type of diving?

My favourite dives are deep dives.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

The Tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is the most exciting dive any diver could have. It is 100%
guaranteed to see the tiger sharks from a very close distance. Also, Fuvahmulah Island treasure
sharks, and Oceanic Manta and Hammerheads are spotted often and it makes diving with us special.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

My favourite dives are Tiger Shark diving and Oceanic Manta diving.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Night diving; Deep diving; Open water diving; Drift Diving; Rescue diving.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Meeting divers and sharing experiences with them.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Oceanic Manta

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

A new dive boat will be here in next 3 months.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

In Fuvahmulah everything is well organized and all the staff are given specific tasks. Each and every
team member does their job very well. We do not have any problem in organizing the dives for our guests. Yes! But the island has 7 Dive centres and each dive centre have specific time schedule for diving with tiger sharks. So we also as a dive centre get limited time to dive with tiger sharks.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Not at the moment.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

As a diver I would say we have a passion for underwater and we must keep the underwater clean
and neat always. Not dumping any type of plastic in to the sea even if it a very small thing (example: cigarette butts)

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

We are a team of professionals; we will ensure you have a safe and memorable diving holiday in

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You can visit our website by clicking here.

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!


Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

More Less

Instagram Feed