July 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Baby by Oksana Maksymova

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

I 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 I 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 me go wow – I wish I had taken that!

Another excellent month of images once again. Here is what I thought of a selection of this month’s images…

Painted Ball by Miguel Ramirez. I love these critters and this Warty Frogfish is no exception. I like the pose and angle of this shot and the way the focus disappears as you move back along the body.

Night Squad by Miguel Ramirez. Oh don’t you just want to be one this dive and see these guys for yourself. Cool shot.

Red Hairy Shrimp by Ferhan Coskun. This kind of critter is really difficult to capture and make it stand out. Good use of black background and the angle shows the animal’s form.

Flirtatious Red Pygmy Seahorse by Ferhan Coskun. Nice angle and the lack background isolates the subject perfectly. If I have a small criticism it is the darkness on the left of the subject, I would have liked a low power fill-in to soften it. It is, of course, all subjective.

Butterfly Constellation by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez. Lovely portrait, great subject.

Emerald Jewel by Christina Fernandez Gonzales. I have never seen a Green Mantis Shrimp and they are now on my list. The shot is nicely framed, if a bit bullseye, and I love the use of bokeh to isolate the subject.

Bargibanti by Marc Eeckhaut. Another shot using bokeh, to great effect, to isolate the subject. Really well done, as always, Marc.

Moray Eel by Marc Eeckhaut. I love the ‘whole-image’ focus in this shot, showing the eel’s environment and the usual mouth open pose.

Baby by Oksana Maksymova. Super shot of a tiny orange frogfish. This is a really well executed head-on portrait and the soft fill-in light on the left works well for me. I also like the way the subject is framed by the hydroids and worms.

The New Generation by Oksana Maksymova. I have several of these shots but none as good and crisp as this one.

The Pikachu have a windy day by Divecorn. Great use of dof in this shot, with a black background to isolate the subject, hanging on in what looks like a ripping current.

Proud Slug by Divecorn. This nudibranch shot is pin sharp and the colours really pop-out from the black background. I like the angle on it too.

Sperm Whales By Cedric Peneau. Who sees 7 Sperm whales in the same shot?? Beautifully done and with the sun’s rays too.

Leaving ISO with a Smooth Ray by Chris Scarlett. I always tell my students to avoid “bum-shots” of animals, but sometimes they really work. I love the fact that you have caught the ray shooting between the legs of the pier.

Ghost and Moon by Cedric Peneau. This is an interesting, and effective, capture. The pipefish is pin-sharp and is perfectly set against the diffuser (moon).

After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Baby by Oksana Maksymova

Runner-up: Ghost and Moon by Cedric Peneau

3rd Place: Butterfly Constellation by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez

Congratulations to those who were placed – there were a number of excellent images, and well done to all those that entered.

Scubaverse.com’s August 2020 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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.

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