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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

April 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: Soaring into the Sun by Jay Clue

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!


Wow – what a month! A record breaking number of images in the competition in April – sorry I cannot comment on them all, but there are well over 100! Here are some I picked out:

Curious Squid in Bonaire by Don Trumbell. This simple image of a squid is really well done. I love the fact that the background is in blur, yet still clear enough t show its environment. The in-focus coral in the foreground helps create a nice framing too.

Trying to get ahead by Josh Shellenberg. Super action/behaviour shot. It tells part of the story of a baited shark dive. Baiting is controversial, but as Rodney Fox once told me, “no bait, no shark”.

Curious Sea-Potato by Josh Shellenberg. Manatees make great models for underwater photographers, and not just that they move slowly. Their faces are full of personality and they seem to love human contact. This is a lovely pose too.

Lurk in the Dark by Erlanga Septama. I think this “snooted light” works really well on a subject that most people find hard to capture an interesting image with. The harsh shadowing creates an image that is quite spooky.

Hiding by Yosi Hirosiadi. I was drawn to this shot by blurring of the shell to help the octopus stand out. Personally, I would have cropped out some of the black negative space, but the idea is good, and the image works well.

Longnose Hawkfish in Black Coral by Chris Snyman. I love the way the photographer has captured the two subjects chasing each other’s tails. I have never seen more than one of this species together so I think this is unusual. The colours work really well too.

Magic Eggs by Jacek Bugajski. I really like these shots of fish guarding their eggs in their mouths. If you look closely, I’m sure you can see the faces of the young inside the egg cases. Love the black background.

Merry Christmas by Hugo Andres Cisternas. Janolus sp. has to be my favourite amongst nudibranchs. They vary slightly in colour, but as this image shows, the shape and colours are amazing. I do like the way the photographer has captured the subject on its habitat but brought it out by using a black background. Excellent.

Soaring into the Sun by Jay Clue. What a fabulous place to be with these majestic creatures. I have been to Baja twice and only managed to spot a couple leaping out of the water 10 metres from the boat. This is an amazing image, with sun bursts, an endless stream of mobulas and depth of field is perfect. It is one thing being lucky enough to be there for this aggregation, but getting the shot right is another story. Well done.

Hide & Seek by Mike Leeson. Every seasoned, travelling u/w photographer has lots of shots of these iconic critters. This one, however, stands out as being particularly good. The inclusion of the anemone (in focus) and against a black background really brings out the character and beauty of this guardian. The catchlight in the eye is a nice touch too.

Hawkward by Amy Wessels. Getting this close to a hawkfish is always a challenge but this shot has the subject head-on, with both eyes making contact with the camera. The fading of dof is accentuated by the loss of the red coral as the light dies away.

Bioluminescence by Temy Loing. I love the aggressive pose these guys give you when you put a camera in their faces. The colour is superb, and the black really shows it off. Nice.

Out of the Dark by Elizabeth Johnson: Really vibrant blue against the black, super focus on the eyes, superb! I just wish that the bottom jaw was not clipped. But bravo.

80s Nudi by Hunter Munson: Love the title and the image. Rare to see a nudi shot with a blue background like this.

Fuzzy by Kirstie Harris: These guys always look so sad! They are also a challenge to photograph at times. But they are super subjects.

Follow the Leader by Dylan Driscoll. A lovely image showing the behaviour of these fish leading the way.

Clownfish by Marco Tagliabue. This is a lovely shot of a common subject. The lighting is just lovely and the expression and fin position really sets this image off.

Underwater Tornado by Ryan Koh. Wow – what an experience to see this huge tower of baraccuda reaching from the seabed up to the surface. I love to see shots that make me wish I was there and this is certainly one of those.

Gorgonian Garden by Mok Wai Hoe: Super colours give this a dreamy quality. The light has been handled really well with the sun beams coming down and the pink gorgonian lit well.

Barracuda Party by Anastasia Kantzidou. Another lovely schooling barracuda image. This is really moody and it is always a challenge not to overexpose the shiny scales of the fish in a shot like this – well done.

Stairwell by Christian Llewellyn. An iconic shot of the Karwella wreck that shows off the staircase very well indeed, making the most of the natural light that reaches down to this wreck.

Endangered Leopard by Clayton Harris. This is a dive that is on my wish list and I would love to come home with this shot. I love the shark leaving the shot on the left of the frame.

Show off by Andre Talahatu. Love the colours, and the use of depth of field in this amazing macro image. Just gorgeous.

Takeoff by Karlo Macas. I love the simplicity in this shot. It shows movement. I especially like the surface texture. It really sets off the main stingray subject.

Confined to my sofa by Miguel Ramirez. This looks a really chilled out poreclain crab! One claw hanging off the anemone. Super composition. Sharp focus and super colours.

Home Sweet Home by Nicola Jaeger. I like this shot because it shows an interesting envionment and the detail is incredible.

Sweetlips by Luc Eeckhaut. Lovely colours! The yellow on blue, with the diver in yellow, really makes this a striking image. Well done.

Mirror by Sylvain Camps. The reflection of this shark really makes this shot stand out from other similar shots I have seen. I do just wish the shark was swimming more towards the camera, but you can’t always have what you want!

Two Peas in a Pod by William Goodwin. This image has a surreal quality to it, which I think is caused by the lighting through the sponge. It really catches the viewers eye. To get two shrimps together both facing the camera is a real bonus to what is already a super shot.

Dragon Portrait by Cristina Fernández González. Super image of a gorgeous nudibranch. You can almost feel the texture just looking at this image. The black background really makes the subject pop out.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Soaring into the Sun by Jay Clue

Runner-up: Magic Eggs by Jacek Bugajski

3rd Place: Gorgonian Garden by Mok Wai Hoe

With so many images this month I have decided to add a couple of Highly Commended shots too. These are:

Highly Commended: Sweetlips by Luc Eeckhaut

Highly Commended: Confined to my sofa by Miguel Ramirez

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

Scubaverse.com’s May 2020 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 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

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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

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

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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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