Connect with us
background

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

April 2016 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

Photo Contest

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

WINNER: Wave Maker by Ahmed Helal

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/wave-maker/

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

We 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 we 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 us both go wow – I wish I had taken that!

April 2016

This month saw 54 entries into the competition – a record number – and there were some lovely images. One of the toughest judging decisions is selecting the winner from both worthy macro and wide angle images.

Our favourites

Caroline

In my top 10 this month:

Paul Ansell’s juvenile lyretail shot with vibrant colours and great eye contact.

Wave Maker by Ahmed Helal. An evocative image of an Oceanic Whitetip Shark swimming under a boat wake in the Red Sea.

Black Nudibranch by Kate Jonker. Pin sharp, and you can almost feel the velvety texture.

Wall of Jacks by Simon Briggs – a nice black & white schooling shot.

Electric Blue Shark by Kate Jonker – another lovely shot. Got the blue just right.

Cute by Sean Chinn – love the head on shot of this nurse shark. There is lots going on in the background, but in this shot, that is OK.

Black & Box by Emeric Denis. Moody lighting on a lovely subject. Black and yellow are a great combination.

Jellyfish by Patryk Pinski – a lovely shot of a jelly near the surface. Great texture.

Yellow buddies by Domenico Luzzi – great subject, well taken. I like the blue eyes of the 2 fish lining up in the shot.

Under the boat by Elaine White – lovely stingray in sunlight shot. The shape of the stingray turning makes this.

My top 4 are: Paul’s little fish; Ahmed’s oceanic whitetip; Sean’s nurse shark & Kate’s nudi.

Nick

This month, there were 54 images for Caroline and I to look at and the standard just keeps getting better. I have picked out 15 of my favourites to critique, but if your image is not here, please, don’t despair – if I’d had the time, I would have done nearly everyone of them. I hope you find my comments helpful as it is the least I could do for being treated to so many wonderful images. Thank you all.

Black Nudibranch by Kate Jonker – Pin sharp on the rhinophores, I love the moody lighting of this subtle image. A wonderful nudibranch portrait.

Peekaboo Conch by Cynthia Pierce Liefeld – This is a very simple and effective shot and I love the diagonal with the two eyes peeping out to see what’s going on. Black backgrounds are very trendy at the minute and I think that with a tweak on the settings, it would have worked in the shot too.

Wave Maker by Ahmed Helal – This is an absolute belter. The waves crashing in the background create a magnificent backdrop for the oceanic white tip. Focusing on the shark is spot-on, and you have even managed to get some light on the underside of the shark. I really like this image.

Porcupine Fish by Michelle Taylor – Another simple shot taken at eye level, 45° off centre. The lighting is good and the photographer has captured the personality of the fish, which pops out of the picture, due to good use of depth of field by bokehing the background.

Spotted Moray Eel by Michelle Taylor – This Is Well Done with a really tight depth of field and the focus, which is spot-on, right on the end of his nose.

Longsnout Seahorse by Michelle Taylor – An almost head-on shot, the subject perfectly lit and the right f-stop to give a nicely blurred background. I remember listening to an Alex Mustard talk several years ago where he always advised that if you can get the eyes in get both or get one. One and a half eyes just misses the point, but it’s still a super shot.

Camouflaged by Kate Jonker – One of the hardest animals to photograph underwater is the octopus, especially when they change colour and adapt to their surroundings. This is a lovely shot using the blacked out background to pick out the shape and form of the octopus. Well done Kate.

Wall of Jacks by Simon Briggs – I’m really not a fan of black and white images, it is seriously overused and many of them are just grey. This isn’t grey. This is black and white, and the central focusing and peripheral blurring really draws you in to the middle of this wall of Jacks. Fabulous.

Pink Skunk Clownfish by Wesley Jay Oosthuizen – This particular species of clownfish make great subjects when they swim up to the lens to defend their turf. This is a particularly good shot, as I love the snoot-like lighting, which brings out the face and the colour of the clownfish, yet leaves the background in the shade. A very good photograph indeed.

Juvenile Lyretail by Paul Ansell – The colours in this shot are lovely, especially the blue water behind the sea fan, and the lyretail. Trying to focus on something this small must have been really difficult and taken a lot of patience. I think if you had managed to capture the fish in one of the frames of the fantail, so it had clear blue water behind it, then it would have been even better.

Home Alone by Jose Fontenla – This shot breaks most of the so-called rules of photography. The subject is in middle, it is too small and everything is all a bit messy. However, it really works and I love it. Well done Jose.

I am very small and colourful, blenny by Paul Ansell – This is a really clever way to photograph a small animal. You have got the blenny outlined against a blurred background and it really makes it pop out. Lighting and focusing are perfect.

Giant Map Pufferfish by Simon Dunn – This is a lovely shot with the eye and the texture captured beautifully in the focus of the shot. The motion blurring in the background really makes this side on view of the face standout. An unusual but effective approach and very nicely done.

Jellyfish by Patryck Pinski – This balanced light shot of the jellyfish is really well done. I love the contrast of the evening sun, the purple rim of the jellyfish and the black water. I like trying to get shots when I am on the safety stop, and I would be very pleased if I had got this one.

A Paper Helm for Spartacus by Dominico Luzzi – The detail in the shot is brilliant and as Dominico says,” he reminds me of a Roman gladiator in his hat”. Once again, the use of black background highlights the outline of the subject.

Yellow Buddies by Dominico Luzzi – This is a super shot; the yellow fish against the black background really give the subjects prominence. My only criticism, and it is a small one, is that the dominant fish is just slightly out of focus, whereas the second fish is pin sharp.

Squattie by Yo-Han Cha – Another lovely macro shot and the focusing on the face of a long clawed squat lobster is absolutely perfect. Another example of using a black background to pull out the subject and everything about the picture just works.

Under the Boat by Elaine White – There has been a bit of a shortage of wide-angle shots in this month’s competition, but this one is an absolute cracker. Many of the boxes have been ticked with this shot, rule of thirds, diagonals and use of negative space. The focusing on the southern stingray is perfect and I can feel the warmth of the water as I look at the image.

Nudibranch in Loch Fyne by Elaine White – Black backgrounds to pop the image are really popular this month, and this is another example of how to do it.

Nick’s favourite four: Ahmed’s wave maker, Simon’s Wall of Jacks, Elaine’s Under the Boat & Kate’s Black Nudi.

Nick and Caroline go through the images separately and as you can see, while they agree broadly on the top 10 or so, when we get down to their favourite 4 images, this month they agree on 3 that make it into both their selections.

After much deliberations between our two judges….

Runner-Up – Under the Boat by Elaine White

3rdBlack Nudibranch by Kate Jonker

And the winner is…

Wave Maker by Ahmed Helal

The top three this month are all very different, but they are images that we would love to have in our portfolio. The main subject of each image really stands out.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Scubaverse.com’s May 2016 Photo Contest is now open! Enter here.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

October 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

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

on

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

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

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.

More Less

Instagram Feed

Facebook Feed

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Popular