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Announcing the Winner of Scubaverse.com’s Photo of the Year 2016

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Winner Chosen by our panel of experts:

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown, Scubaverse.com’s Underwater Photography Editors

Paul ‘Duxy’ Duxfield, underwater photography professional and resident photo-pro for Scuba Travel

Winner: Wave Maker by Ahmed Helal

Nick, Caroline and guest judge Duxy got together and picked their favourites from the 12 monthly winners from 2016. It was not an easy task, with some great shots both in macro and wide angle. Having narrowed the field down to just a handful, we then had to pick our top three, and put them in order to find our 2016 champion.

Here are each of our top three photos put in order and with comments on each:

First Place: Wave Maker by Ahmed Helal

Nick’s comments:

The winning shot, which was pretty unanimous, is the oceanic white tip cruising beneath the surface. The way Ahmed has captured the shark as if it’s bursting out of the wake makes this a lovely action shot. There is plenty of space in front of the shark for it to move into and the balanced lighting, with the artificial light hitting the underside of the shark has been, for me, perfectly executed.

Caroline’s comments:

I loved this shot the first time I saw it in the April competition. I knew it was going to be up there amongst the best of the year. An engaging subject with a wonderful background, created by a passing RIB, really brings this shot to life.

Duxy’s comments:

I’ve seen a lot of shark pictures this year but this is definitely at the top end of the list. What separates it from the rest is the great background, with the bow wave slicing a perfect diagonal through the waves, and a subtly lit shark just big enough in the frame not to overpower it.

Second Place: Red Sea Sunset by Christian Llewellyn

Nick’s Comments:

Christian’s split shot in the red Sea is one of the best I have seen. The natural, sunset light on the mountains and the boat are wonderful and you can see the depth in the mountains with the changing shades of their shapes. The light is balanced beautifully between above the surface and below, and the way it has picked out the parrotfish beneath the surface just adds to the overall effect. If ever an image encapsulates what is Egypt for a diver, then this has to be it.

Caroline’s comments:

This is not an easy shot to create. The composition and lighting are great, with the Red Sea boat and shoreline in the background, the sun setting and to light up the reef and a couple of parrotfish is a tough ask that has been very well executed. It makes me want to rush back out to Egypt right now to have a go at shooting this split shot myself.

Duxy’s comments:

Chris’ split is perfectly executed, which is a tricky technical feat, as the timing of the sunset, position of the boat, and lit up reef brings the trio of compositional elements together really well.

Third Place: Arrowcrab in Spiral Coral by Joel Warburton

Nick’s comments:

Joel’s arrow head crab is a wonderful piece of macro photography. In the first place it has been framed, with just enough light so that it doesn’t dominate the image. Both its eyes are staring straight at the camera and all the main parts of the critter are perfectly focused. Generally I would find things like the curly bits in this image to be a distraction, but actually they enhance the image and if there was a separate prize for macro then this would be the winner.

Caroline’s comments:

The best macro shot of the year for sure. Great expression on this tiny crab’s face and the background is amazing. This is a shot that really catches the eye, but one that also makes you take your time and examine it further. It is a shot I keep coming back to, to look at over and over again.

Duxy’s comments:

Joel has pulled off the trick of achieving eye contact with the crab, and also using diagonals bringing us in and allowing us to connect visually with this crafty crustacean. Often macro shots can be seen as a bit lazy relying on the fact that we are looking at something amazing without even trying to up the game compositionally.

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Congratulations from all of the Scubaverse team to our winner and runners-up. Thank you to everyone that entered in 2016. We hope to see plenty more of your images in 2017.

Ahmed will receive a wonderful prize of Mares diving equipment, as well as a voucher from Scuba Travel (full details of the prize can be found here).

For your chance to win the 2017 title, you simple need to enter your images each month here:

www.scubaverse.com/current-contest-photo

Good Luck!

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Scubaverse.com would like to say a big thank you to Photo of the Year’s sponsors, Mares and Scuba Travel.

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Photo Gallery: Dive Fest Barbados

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In our Gallery feature, we let the photos tell the story… Each Gallery showcases a selection of outstanding images on a chosen theme, taken by our Underwater Photography Editor Nick and Deputy Editor Caroline of Frogfish Photography. This time they reflect on their visits to the Caribbean Island of Barbados for the annual Dive Fest celebrations.


Dive Fest Barbados is a week of celebrating the marine life, diving and snorkeling this idyllic island has to offer. There are activities organised each day for all those that attend that include wreck diving, marine conservation, learning to dive, snorkeling and one an unusual dive for us – riding a submarine to the bottom of the Caribbean Sea! Dive Fest Barbados allows divers to get the very best out of a trip here, with plenty of diving, but also to sample the unique atmosphere, mouth-watering food and drink, stunning scenery and beautiful beaches.

For more images from Barbados and around the world, visit the Frogfish Photography website by clicking here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Video Series: The CCMI Reef Lectures – Part 4 (Watch Video)

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Introduced by Jeff Goodman

Never before since human beings have had major influence over our earths climate and environments, have we come to so close to the brink of global disaster for our seas and marine life. We need to act now if we are not going to crash headlong into irreversible scenarios.

A good start to this is understanding how the marine environment works and what it means to our own continued survival. We can only do this by listening and talking to those with the experience and knowledge to guide us in the right direction.

CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute) are hosting an annual Reef Lecture series that is open to the general public and Scubaverse will be sharing those lectures over the coming months.


Part 4: Stop Whining! Life as an Ocean Ambassador; Ellen Cuylaerts

Ellen Cuylaerts shares her insights on how to act, practice what you preach and use your voice to contribute to constructive change. Ellen is a wildlife and underwater photographer and chooses to take images of subjects that are hard to encounter like harp seal pups, polar bears, orcas, beluga whales and sharks, to name a few. By telling the stories about their environment and the challenges they face, she raises awareness about the effect of climate change on arctic species, the cruel act of shark finning and keeping marine mammals in captivity.

During this seminar, Ellen will take you on a virtual trip and show you the stories behind the shots: how to get there, how to prepare, how to create the most chances to come home with a shot, and how to never give up!

Ellen Cuylaerts is an ocean advocate, underwater & wildlife photographer, explorer, and public speaker.


For more information about the CCMI click here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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