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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

April 2018 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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

WINNER: On the Throne by Natalie Bondarenko

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 2018

The April entries showed an amazing & high-quality set of images for our judges to work through. A good mix of macro and wide-angle shots on offer. Here is what they thought…

Our Favourites

Caroline

The Mardi Gras Queen by Craig Beasley: Superb detail in this shot of a tiny crustacean on top of coral. Isolated using a black background, this really pops.

Coming up by Sean Steininger: Beautiful shot showing the intricate pattern of spots on the back of a Whaleshark. Lovely natural light.

Blackwater Beauty by Laura Tesler: Simple yet beautiful – well done.

Basket Star Shrimp by David Ludovic: Superb detail in the shot of a tiny shrimp living in a basket star. Focusing is spot on.

Underwater Poppies by Natalie Bondarenko: Lovely shot of water lillies at the Carwash cenote in Mexico. Love the Snell’s Window view to see the world above the water.

Whale Shark and Freediver by Natalie Bondarenko: Another smashing shot of a great subject. Love the motion and shape of the freediver and the yellow fins really assist the image too.

On the Throne by Natalie Bondarenko: Natalie has put in 3 lovely shots into this month’s competition, all of them very different. I love this shot of the glassfish sweeping around the coral head and the grouper. Super shot.

Puppy Dog by Martyn Jakins-Pollard: What a gorgeous portrait of this sea lion. I love that it has turned its head towards the camera, engaging the viewer.

Smile! by Hannes Klostermann: Fantastic shot! Head on shot of the alligator, with the white teeth and eye contact, in gorgeous clear water – brilliant.

Godzilla by Hannes Klostermann: I think this one is even better. I love this unusual angle to shoot an alligator looking up and seeing the above water world through Snell’s Window. The lighting is handled perfectly with the underside of the subject lit, and yet we can still enjoy the natural light sunbeams. Gorgeous shot.

Open Mouth Grouper by Ifj. Lőrincz Ferenc: Lovely behaviour shot with complementary reds and blues on a black background.

Nick

Mardi Gras Queen by Craig Beasley: with a black background and a small depth of field, this image really pops out at you. Love the way the crab is sat on the very top of its domain.

Coming Up by Sean Steininger: This head-on shot of a whaleshark in dappled sunlight is really striking. The shards of sunlight in the water behind the whaleshark complement the subject and helps create a striking overall image.

Blackwater Beauty by Laura Tesler: This is a truly striking image with such a small depth of field and the focus in the centre of the moon jellyfish.

Closer by Laura Tesler: This abstract close up shot of a crimson anemone really draws the eye to the centre of the critter. I particularly like the variations in colour tones and the lighting is spot-on.

Basket Star Shrimp by David Ludovic: This orange shrimp is almost totally in focus against a background of mostly out of focus basket star. The orange stands out against the bland colour of the star and the overall image is delightful.

2 Beauties by Marc Eeckhaut: This shot of two harlequin shrimps facing each other is endearing and technically excellent. The lighting on the critters really brings out their colours and the bokeh’d background makes them almost pop out of the screen.

Underwater Poppies by Natalie Bondarenko: This is subject has been captured a fair bit recently but this image has nailed it beautifully. The central leaves are rusty red against a blue background and the complimentary colours really work, particularly against the blue sky in Snell’s Window.

Whale Shark and Freediver by Natalie Bondarenko: This is a lovely clean composition and the shape of the diver looking up at the whaleshark sums to balance the overall image very nicely.

On the Throne by Natalie Bondarenko: I love this shot. The lighting is amazing with the colour of the grouper and coral perfectly balanced against the silver glassfish swopping across the image.

Smile! by Hannes Klostermann: This excitement of being so close to a large predator is almost tangible in this shot. There is eye-contact and the whole front of this pre-historic beauty is in focus.

The Old Woman by William Goodwin: I really like this abstract close-up of this turtle, which shows the patination and colouring. It also captures the barnacles which have found their home on this transient host. I would have preferred the whole image to be in-focus through, as there is no specific focal point to the image.

Godzilla by Hannes Klostermann: lovely curve, implied motion, Snell’s Window and an unusual angle on an uncommon subject. Fab!

After much deliberations between our two judges….

There were lots of excellent shots this month, and as always we picked out many different shots from each other. We deliberated for quite a while, as it was a tough decision to place our favourite three in order! Here are the results:

Winner: On the Throne by Natalie Bondarenko

Runner-Up: Godzilla by Hannes Klostermann

Third Place: Whale Shark and Freediver by Natalie Bondarenko

Congratulations to the those who were placed – some really nice images here, and well done to all those that entered. We cannot wait to see what May has to offer.

Scubaverse.com’s May 2018 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos 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 Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

March 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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

WINNER: Mimic by Christian Horras

Wow! Another bumper month with incredible images, both macro and wide angle, from all around the world. 

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!


Alas I cannot discuss each and every image but here are a few that caught my eye and why:

Glossodoris sp. “Rhinopore” by Moby Duarte: Smashing image of a beautiful nudibranch with the rhinophores in pin-sharp focus. The angle is perfect, with the camera at “eye-level”. The low depth of field and the black background all add to this lovely image.

Caddis fly larva (Phryganea sp.): A subject I have not seen before, and a new species is always a bonus when judging a photo competition. Lovely detail in sharp focus including both subject and its environment.

Let’s play! by Ben VERDEILLE: What a lovely moment captures here. A sealion getting ready to play with the photographer using an unfortunate seastar as a toy.

Blue Shark by Mariamillgate: Such beautiful sharks. lovely image capturing motion and eye-contact.

Face to face by Giacomo Antonio Rossi: Lovely image of a Blue Shark interacting with a freediving photographer.

On the Edge by Patricia Pat A Sinclair: A gorgeous nudi just reaching the very edge of its domain. Lots of negative space allowing room for us to imagine the path it might take.

School of Batfish by Zaflee Bin Md Suibarek: Lovely batfish image with the sunburst on the surface really enhancing the shot. Subtle lighting and with one batfish looking at the camera, this is lovely.

Hauling the net by Atle Ove Martinussen: An excellent split shot with good focus both above and blow the water line. Just a little too much left hand strobe, which could be fixed in post-edit. An engaging shot nonetheless.

Nudi in the dark by Atle Ove Martinussen: Lovely colours that pop out of the screen. Just needed a bit more room on the right hand side.

Nice surprise under the boat by Raffaele: Nice composition with the anemonefish, diver and the dive boat up above. I would have cropped out the unlit part of the anemone at the bottom of the frame I think.

Stage fright by Suliman A: A nice protrait of a hermit crab. The black background really helps make is stand out.

Montenegro Jaz beach night dive by Nikola Doder: Lovely pin-shark focus on the eyes. Great use of depth of field. Good image.

Geometric perfection by Alexandre Despras: Lovely shot. Simple yet stunning. Letting the natural form be the star.

Hypselodoris tryoni at lunch by Louis Costes: Wow – so many good nudi shots this month and this one stands out due to the lovely blue background and the subject in focus popping out.

Anker’s Whip Coral Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut: Lovely diagonal, lovely bokeh background with the two shrimps in perfect position.

Turtle Silhouette by MichaelG: Simple yet super, black vignetting, the blue inner circle and the silhouette of the turtle against the blue. Lovely.

Baby Grouper by Carolina Marcias: Lovely expression on this grouper portrait. Both eyes in view and engaging with the photographer.

The Devil by Sylvain Corbel: A very dramatic fish portrait. Lovely eye-contact. Super isolation of the subject.

Longimanus by Christian Horras: Oceanic Whitetip Shark with sun rays coming down from above. Stunning.

Mimic by Christian Horras: This image really stands out from the crowd. The eyes of the octopus against the bokeh background is simple yet stunning. The way the animals just seems to melt into its environment is amazing. Well done for taking the shot so low to the ground – it makes all the difference.

A white among the reds by Bruno Labins: I really like this image. The blue background with the school of red (and one white) fish really works well. The fact that they are swimming towards the photographer is great.

Coming towards me with his accolytes by Bruno Labins: Another stunning image. Balanced light, swimming towards the viewer, three fins on display – smashing shot.

Walking upside down by Lorenzo Zacchetti: A very interesting behaviour captured by this image. Lovely reflection too.

Manta Rays’ dance in the blue of the Indian Ocean by Oksana Maksymova: What a moment – to have three mantas lining up to swim right past you. Lovey image.

Sunrise at the end of a Belgian winter dive by Kristof Goovaerts: Super diver portrait. The sunlight on the surface above, the divers eyes well lit (which in a black skirted mask can be difficult)


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Mimic by Christian Horras

Runner-up: Coming towards me with his accolytes by Bruno Labins

Third Place: Glossodoris sp. “Rhinopore” by Moby Duarte

Highly Commended: The Devil by Sylvain Corbel

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

Scubaverse.com’s April 2021 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

February 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

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

WINNER: Sepiola in motion by Yann Toso

Wow! Another bumper month with incredible images, both macro and wide angle, from all around the world. 

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!


Alas I cannot discuss each and every image but here are a few that caught my eye and why:

Mars Attacks by Pietro Cremone: A great title for a super blackwater shot. I might have cropped  in a little I think and reduced the negative space just a touch. A difficult subject captured very well.

Predation by Pietro Cremone: Amazing behaviour shot of a squid feeding at night. Bravo!

From the Below by Raffaele: Stunning Manta at night shot. Time the shot just right to get a lovely pose and the lighting from the boat above illuminating the underside of the manta.

Mobulas of Misool by Patricia Dusman: A striking high key image of mobulas swimming under a bait ball. Very creative and an image that really catches the eye. Another excellent image.

Lembeh Nudibranch by Patricia Dusman: Lovely depth of field on this nudibranch shot. The blurred background really makes the head and especially the rhinophores stand out.

Poetic gorgon’s head, and a flying little nudi by Miguel Ramirez: I love a basket star image and the little critter flying across the background adds a little extra to what was already a lovely shot.

Jewel Nudi by Miguel Ramirez: Stunning nudi shot with blurred background.

Odontaspis ferox by Claude Lespagne: Really engaging portrait of a Smalltooth Sand Tiger Shark. A great view of the teeth too.

Nudibranchia by Claude Lespagne: Lovely texture on this image. The nudibranch looks like it is make from blue velvet and you can almost feel it by just looking at the photo. Focus is perfect.

Crevette nettoyeuse by Patrice Privé: Lovely macro shrimp shot. They detail and the catch light in the eyes is just stunning.

Hippocampes by Patrice Privé: Wow – this image just jumps out from the page. The focus on the eye and the punk hair do really work in black and white. I might have just tones down the overexposed nose a little. But this is a stunner.

Lady Bug on Tunicate by Olivier Martinez: I am always amazed at these super macro shots capturing the tiniest of critters on the reef. The blue is beautiful and it is great to have the subject with both eyes in shot.

Dancing of humpackwhale by Benjamin Bersans: The snorkeler in the top corner of the image really makes this shot, as it makes you feel like you know just how special it would be if that was you!

Goliath by Bruno Labins: The light on the surface of the water, just above the main subject, is lovely.

Crocodile by Bruno Labins: All legs and teeth.. this croc shot made me smile. Great that the shot show the seagrass environment too.

The color purple by Marc Eeckhaut: Love these flamboyant cuttlefish. They are always tough to shoot on dark and difficult backgrounds, but this image really shows how lovely they are.

Humpback Whales in Bora Bora by Stephan Debelle: Lovely shot with the mother and calf at the surface. Must have been an amazing experience.

John Dory by Colin Garrett: These really are a lovely looking fish and this side on shot, with a black background, shows off their unusual pattern and shape.

Bottlenose Dolphin by Colin Garrett: Lovely eye contact and detail on this close encounter with a dolphin.

Surfacing after a relaxing dive by Kristof Goovaerts: We do not see many diver portrait shots in this competition and this is a lovely example with the sunlight shining down perfectly on the diver’s face. I like that the diver is looking up to the surface rather than directly at the camera.

SS Thistlegorm by Christian Horras: This shot is so atmospheric. A great take on a well photographed wreck. I love the anchor, the diver is in a great position and the bow of the wreck looming out of the background. Smashing image.

Nudibranch Trinchesia sp. by Oksana Maksymova: A simple yet stunning composition. The bokeh is perfect. the colours subtle. I love this.

Ultra Violet Cerianthus by Simone Musumeci: Using UV light on a night dive can bring some rewarding photographic results and the motion of the current adds to this unusual image.

Jellyfish palau by Dave Weeks: A simple shot, but there is something about the colours that I really like, along with the reflection.

Stingray Smile by MichaelG: A lovely shot that will make everyone that sees it smile.

Black Jelly by MichaelG: Simple yet stunning. An almost abstract image of a jellyfish in black and white. Lots of interesting detail. This really jumps out from my screen.

Microlipophrys canevae by Yann Toso: Lovely portrait of this blenny with the oranges and yellows creating a pleasing image to look at. Good use of depth of field and a cute subject too.

Blue Planet by Kaya Alptunaer: Stunning! Simplicity is sometimes best. The richness of the blue against the black background makes the subject stand out. Showing the feeding behaviour of the sea star just adds to this lovely shot. Finding a subject and then getting the very best shot of it you can. The fact you took this with a compact camera is fabulous. Well done!

Open your wings by Giacomo Antonio Rossi. Lovely full underside shot of a manta. The surface of the water really adds to this super image.

Jureles by Giacomo Antonio Rossi: Love this shot of a bait ball swimming just above the sea bed. The sandy ripples really add to the image.

Sepiola in motion by Yann Toso: A lovely motion shot of a squid at night. A beautiful subject captured expertly well.

Valentine’s day by Novrizal Herdananto: A perfect shot for the February competition! What a lovely image of these two stunning nudibranchs. Almost looks like a mirror image.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Sepiola in motion by Yann Toso

Runner-up: Nudibranch Trinchesia sp. by Oksana Maksymova

Third Place: SS Thistlegorm by Christian Horras

Highly Commended: Blue Planet by Kaya Alptunaer

Highly Commended: Black Jelly by MichaelG

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

Scubaverse.com’s March 2021 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

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