36 hours, 137 UW photographers and 1000s of jellyfish… 2017 Monterey Shootout results!


Winner of the Best of Show Award. Credit: Clinton Bauder I Monterey Shootout

Backscatter Underwater Video & Photo and the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS) partnered again to host the largest gathering of underwater photographers in the USA. The Monterey Shootout is a three-day weekend of diving, educational seminars, celebration, and a chance to win over $30,000 in prizes even with the simplest of underwater cameras. This year, 137 participants brought their friends and families to share the fun and see what amazing images can be made in a tight 36-hour window of diving. The ocean and weather cooperated by giving us great pockets of visibility, plus the tail end of a jellyfish invasion. New photographers joined the Friday morning seminars with Jim Decker and Matt Ferraro to jumpstart their knowledge on basic photo and video shooting skills. Sunday seminars featured inspiration by professional photographers Mike Bartick and the amazing Erin Quigley on Lightroom techniques. 


While the seminars and beautiful diving are worth the price of admission, the social gathering is the heart of the Monterey Shootout. Hanging out on the beach and boats with like-minded divers gives cold-water enthusiasts a real sense of community and part of a 30-year history of photo gatherings on Monterey Bay. After two days of diving, over 200 people gathered back to the Backscatter mother ship for a night of celebration and drinks stiff enough to heat up the most waterlogged diver. This is the most welcoming and enthusiastic group of underwater photographers the competition had ever seen.


The Monterey Shootout is primarily a social and educational event but the serious level of prizes is what drives photographers to envision images weeks in advance, make extra long dives to pull off a shot and feel the motivation from competition nipping at your heels. Thus, it’s with great thanks that the organisers’ honor the generous support of all of the great sponsors. Thank you sponsors for motivating cold-water image-makers to new personal bests!


This year’s photo judges included Chuck Davis, Todd Winner, and Berkley White. Judging is no easy task, especially when there’s serious creative effort on display from over 500 photographs. While visibility was a bit low, the animals were on full display. The judges were impressed by beautiful images of jellies and local favorite harbor seals and nudibranchs. Selecting the Best-of-Show image was the most difficult decision. It was narrowed down to Roeland Papen’s beautiful anemone image and a perfect jellyfish image from Clinton Bauder. Ultimately Bauder’s jellyfish image was determined to have best captured the amazing experience of diving Monterey this weekend and received the honor of Best of Show award.

In the video judging room, Carl Miller, Matt Ferraro, and Jim Decker had an even greater challenge. As with past years, the top awards teetered on a balance of story telling and traditional image quality, but the quality of videos were at an all time high. This year, honorable mention awards were given to videos that would have placed first in previous contests. Ultimately, the solid and clean macro scenes from Kate Vylet won well-deserved top honors as the best of 2017. Patrick Webster’s comedic story placed second and Joe Platko’s time lapse placed third. However, the creativity of the honorable mentions is inspiring and the comedic story telling of the runners up deserve your attention.

If you want to be inspired, watch all of the Monterey Shootout entries to learn how you can make a video that captures your audience in just 36 hours.

Congratulations and hats off to all who participated in the 2017 Monterey Shootout.

You can see the winning images and videos at: www.montereyshootout.com/event-results/2017.php

Team Scubaverse

Team Scubaverse

Team Scubaverse manages the Scubaverse website

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