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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

April 2015 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR STUART PHILPOTT

WINNER: Andrey Narchuk
PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/toy/

My sincere apologies for the late results to last month’s competition. I have been away on a magazine assignment to Belize in the Caribbean and had a few problems with the internet. I also had a few problems with the weather and the marine life. I was supposed to be photographing whalesharks and manatees but the whalesharks didn’t appear. As for the manatees, well, after a few disappointments I did actually spot a mother and calf but the underwater visibility was worse than pea soup! This goes to show that good underwater pictures don’t come easy and take a lot of hard work and effort as well as time and money.

I’ve had a good look at last month’s entries and all I can say is ‘wow’ nice pictures, and not just one, mostly ALL of the images submitted in this month’s competition are of an exceptionally high standard. I hope everybody who has looked at the website will agree with me? I also hope that this hasn’t frightened anyone away from entering. As the competitions become more popular we will have different categories, for macro, wide angle, compact, beginners etc, but for now I will judge each picture on an individual basis.

When I spoke to Dave, the editor in chief of Scubaverse.com, I thought he was playing an April fool’s joke on me! There are so many good pictures. I guess this is my fault. I wanted you to put forward some great images and you’ve done just that, but this hasn’t made my job easy. Choosing an overall winner was extremely hard work this month. There are so many I personally liked and photographically the compositions were spot on. I’m sorry I haven’t given comments to everyone, I just haven’t had enough time but this doesn’t mean they weren’t worthy.

We have some good news, too: as of next month there will be a prize for the winner! I will let Dave explain in more detail. But I’m hoping this will increase the amount of entrants which will inevitably make my job even harder. And now for this month’s picture results….

There seems to be plenty of of ‘big fish’ pictures including sharks. First off we have the nurse shark on Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys and it’s on the move and heading towards the photographer which makes a really nice composition. In this case missing off the tail doesn’t detract that much from the image. Nice shot Chris.

Then we have Alex’s tiger sharks which in my mind are most attractive looking shark in the ocean.  Both shots are head on with eye in focus. I’m not sure if the pictures have been cropped but the subject looks quite close to the camera. What lens are you using Alex?  I’m guessing you’ve submitted 2 different views of the same tiger? I prefer the slightly nose up version called tiger shark leader. I think the shark is almost too central in the 3-sharks picture although the addition of 2 reef sharks makes the background more interesting.

Tam’s Eagle Ray shot is crystal clear and close up.  I personally know how difficult it is to get close to these shy creatures. I have had better luck snorkelling or using a rebreather. Are you using one or two strobes? It looks like you are using one from the left? I like the soft coral in front of the ray; it looks as though the ray is peeking out from behind. I also like the big green moray eel ‘mouth open’ composition, nice action shot.

Both of Andrey’s images are stunning. I would love to know what camera you are using and the settings? The steller sea lion shot taken in the Bering Sea really does tell a story. I guess the sea lion in the foreground is playing with the jelly fish? The flashgun is highlighting the sea lion’s face and having multiple sea lions silhouetted in the background really does give the picture so much more depth of field.  So I’m choosing this picture as this month’s winner.

The Dahab squid image is equally impressive.  The strobes have really picked up the detail and colour of the tentacles and it’s perfectly in focus including the eyes. The position of the tentacles gives it movement. Personally I think it’s 50/50 whether the 3 white blobs make the composition more interesting. I would probably blacken them out in photo editing software and just leave the squid.

Joseph’s blue shark is one of my favourites. I like the sun’s rays filtering down from above and the shark is head on looking into the camera. Thanks for adding the camera settings. I too use a Sea and Sea housing with a Nikon D800. What time of the day was the shot taken?

I think the ‘freediving’ in Eluethera, Bahamas picture should be titled spear fishing in Eleuthera, Bahamas. Mr maverick mickle, thank you for the picture and I’m sure the Hogfish tasted really great but it’s not politically good to put this picture in an underwater photography competition – maybe it was April 1st after all?

The Hammerhead shark is a nice composition but a bit dark for my liking. Is there a diver hidden behind? I can see the bubbles rising to the surface? But all in all good shot Alex. I haven’t got a good shot of a Hammerhead; I have seen them in the distance but never close up.

The Dolphins of Sataya is also a nice ‘interactive’ shot. I couldn’t help but look twice! The water looks extremely clear. Were you using flash or just natural light? Flash would have probably disturbed their intimate liaison!

I’ve never been to the Zapote Cenote in Mexico so enjoyed seeing the unusual rock formation by Jean – Francois Gregoire . Putting a diver somewhere in the composition would have made it more arty and maybe using some backlighting inside the cave to highlight the scenery would also improve the overall effect, but this does takes quite a lot of planning. I like the El Eden shot, really atmospheric and this time there is a diver in the picture. The rays of sunlight angling through the water work really well.

So just to recap, Andrey’s seal picture has won this month’s competition. Well done Andrey. Thank you for this month’s entries and my apologies again for the late result. I really enjoyed looking at them and I hope you did too. Let’s see what next month’s entries bring…

Stuart has spent the past 26 years taking pictures and writing stories for diving magazines and other publications. In fact, this equates to more than a year of his life spent underwater. There have been plenty of exciting moments from close encounters with crocodiles and sharks to exploration of deep wrecks and more recently rebreathers. He lives in Poole, Dorset and is very much an advocate of UK diving.

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

October 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR NICK ROBERTSON-BROWN

WINNER: Lunchtime by Miguel Ramirez

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 great to see our new website up and running and for the competition to be going strong. Here are a few of the images that caught my eye, and why.

Warty Yawn by Michael G: This is a good example of a close-up portrait, bordering on abstract. The colours are lovely against a black background and the detail really shows off the wonderful pattern of this iconic critter.

Birdzilla by Naomi Rose: Quite a privilege to be so close to such a beautiful wanderer of the skies. It is a super shot, just wished you’d got its feet in! Still a great shot.

Sleepy Peek by Naomi Rose: Super behaviour shot of one of the most sought-after subjects in the ocean.

Mighty Logger by Naomi Rose: Love the angle of this fella with good eye contact too. The sun rays against the blue background enhances the overall image.

Earthquake by Arnaud Guillebert: This image has the potential to be superb, with the suns rays and the blue negative space. It is just crying out for a subject against the blue. The diver, with legs akimbo, really doesn’t help.

Murène pointillée by Arnaud Guillebert: The lighting and black background make this image really stand out. I’m not sure the focus is quite sharp enough.

Humpback Whale by Benjamin Bersans: Lovely shot of an ocean giant. Sometimes the rear view of an animal works, like this does. Just a pity the fluke has been clipped.

Whats Up by Miguel Ramirez: Super portrait of a curious Hawksbill sat on a very dull sea bed. Eye contact works but its left eye needs a hint more light on it.

Blue Tones by Miguel Ramirez: I like the various blue shades of the animal against the red coral.

Lunchtime by Miguel Ramirez: Nicely captured image of a dolphin pod in blue, open water. The fish in the mouth of the nearest Bottlenose tells its own story and makes this a stand out behaviour shot. Lovely reflections too!

Mr Grumpy by Cedric Peneau: This is a classic close focus wide angle image with a stellar critter as its focus.

Microcosmos by Cedric Peneau: These amphipods make great subjects and the framing of it in the coral is excellent.

Tiny Gobi by Oksana Maksymova: This is very cleverly done. The use of focus (both in and out) creates a beautiful surreal effect of orange and white.

Manta and Reef by Cedric Peneau: This shot reminds us all that even when you have a non wide angle lens, you can still capture a good image of large animals. The red coral and blue water works really well together.

Ribbon Eel by Marc Eeckhaut: Notoriously difficult to capture a descent image, Marc has managed to do so in this shot. Sharp focusing and a bokeh background emphasize the subject.

Emperor Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut: These macro shots so a lot to reveal the wonders of the “mini world” that many of us love to explore.

Squid by Marc Eeckhaut: Nice angle and focus on the eye. Black backgrounds are easier to get on a night dive but it works well on this image.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Lunchtime by Miguel Ramirez

Runner-up: Mr Grumpy by Cedric Peneau

3rd Place: Tiny Gobi by Oksana Maksymova

Highly Commended: Birdzilla by Naomi Rose

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

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

Continue Reading

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

September 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR NICK ROBERTSON-BROWN

WINNER: Vunerable Giants by Naomi Rose

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!


A slightly different feel to the judging this month, due to the new website work, I have picked my favourite six to go through…

Little Moray by Alexej Sachov

This image really caught my eye! it feels like the eel is zooming towards the lens. Lovely bokeh and great to catch both eyes, in focus, looking at the camera. Bravo!

Best Dad by Cedric Peneau 

Super bahaviour shot showing mouth brooding. The eggs spilling out onto the black background really stands out. The detail is stunning.

Crystal-clear by Marc Eeckhaut 

Simple yet stunning. I love the curves of the pink coral leading the eye through to the dark window. The subjects is in sharp focus and framed really well by its environment.

Dolphin Split-Shot by Miguel Ramirez

This is an incredible image. I can just imagine myself being there. To get a split shot like this, with the dolphins fin above the water and the tail and head below the surface is great work. You balanced the light above and below perfectly. Do I wish the dolphin was swimming towards the photographer – I guess a little, but we can’t always get what we want! Stunnning shot – well done!

Vunerable Giants by Naomi Rose 

Another stunning split-shot, this time featuring a Whaleshark and it’s yellow pilot fish. This is an eye-catching image that really captures what it was like to be there in that moment. The sparkling water, bright light, and the gentle giant swimming just below the surface. Love this image.

Seahorse by Oksana Maksymova

A simple yet stunning shot. A tough shot to get right too, as the subject is tiny and moves with the water. To get both eyes looking at the camera and to also have the mouth open is great. I also love the gently colours and tones of this image. Pin shark focus on the seahorse’s head makes this a stand out shot. One of the best I have seen.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Vunerable Giants by Naomi Rose

Runner-up: Seahorse by Oksana Maksymova

3rd Place: Dolphin Split-Shot by Miguel Ramirez

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

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

Continue Reading

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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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