June 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: A Mother’s Love by Cedric Peneau

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!

It is a real tonic to see all your images during this lockdown era and it makes me want to jump right back in the water! Here is what I thought of this month’s images…

Colourful Clarkii by Dan Shipp is the type of shot we all have. These critters are so photogenic and I do like the composition in this one.

Turtle in Paradise by Miguel Ramirez. I am not a fan of “rear-end” shots but they can work, especially when they tell a story. Here we have a well-executed split-shot of a Green Turtle heading to the beach.

Feeding Time by Miguel Ramirez. Technically, this is quite an ordinary shot but in the context of “animal behaviour”, it is unusual to be able to get so close to one of these delightful animals. The image captures how and where they feed.

Wobbegong by Marc Eeckhaut. I love the composition in Marc’s shot, with diagonals, contrast and action. Wobbegongs are such cool subjects.

Catch me if you can by Cedric Peneau. This is a super example of a “close-focus, wide-angle shot. The lighting in the foreground, especially the lighter frogfish is excellent and the diver in the blue really capture the moment. A shame both frogfish aren’t facing the camera, but that’s nature.

A Mother’s Love by Cedric Peneau. How can anyone not say “aaahh”at the sight of this enchanting moment? The framing is just perfect, with no clipping, eye contact and all the main parts in focus. Lovely.

Umbrellas by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez. One thing that I try to avoid when shooting small stuff, in particular, is putting the subject in the centre of the image: this is known as “bulls-eyeing”. However, sometimes it works and with lighting this good, your eyes are drawn towards the detail on the face of these lovely filter-feeding crabs.

Cow Boxfish Portrait by Catrin Pichler. It’s the colours that really draw me to this image. The subject is not rare or unusual but overall presentation is superb, apart from the slight clipping of the critter’s antenna. The blue bokeh in the background really compliments the face-on portrait.

Spots by Sean Steininger. I am often accused of being “anti” black and white, but when done properly, I love it. The secret of b&w (or any monochrome) is contrast and this is an excellent example of this. I have been waiting for the opportunity to capture a similar image myself and I am not jealous at all!

Cocodrilo by Xavier Safont Moix. I have had the pleasure of being in the water with these crocs and loved it. This shot really shows the viewer what it is like to be there.

After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: A Mother’s Love by Cedric Peneau

Runner-up: Spots by Sean Steininger

3rd Place: Umbrellas 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 July 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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