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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

April 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: Sturgeon in the overflight by Markus Schmidt

Wow! A record breaking month with loads of 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:

Waiting for my next client by Wendy Biscette: Lovely shallow depth of field in this image helps the subjects stand out.

Underwater couple by Cor Kuyvenhoven: Lovely atmospheric image of two underwater models shot in the temperate waters of the Netherlands. The lighting makes it.

Ghost Diving lost fishing nets by Cor Kuyvenhoven: I love this image because it sows the great work that many divers are involved in – trying to clean up discarded fishing nets that continue to kill long after they have been abandonded.

Mating mandarin fish by Donna Lim: This image has a dream-like quality. The fish seem to glow! I know just how hard capturing this moment can be – well done.

Cardinal fish with eggs by Donna Lim: Super portrait of a Cardinalfish mouth brooding. Capturing a behaviour like this is a real bonus and the head on shot is just super.

Wave by Nicolai Posininsky: A super image clearly demonstrating the power of the ocean.

🙂 by Nicolai Posininsky: Lovely light on this shoaling fish. I can just imagine being there (and really wish I was right now!)

Pike in a bavarian lake by Matej Miskovic: Loveoly shot – I like the fact you can see both the bottom of the lake and the surface. The subject is turning and is nicely lit.

Home Sweet Home by Shinto K Anto: Lovely blur effect around the bottle and its inhabitant. The yellow really stands out and the focus is perfect.

Sunk Ecosystem by Christian Llewellyn: Love the fact the so many fish make this old wreck their home. Lovely natural light coming through the structure.

The Dart by Brandon Hannan: Love the diagonal orientation of this beautiful but deadly octopus. The black background make the warning colouration really stand out.

Sunburst by Brandon Hannan: A really super silhouette image of a turtle. The sunburst is amazing.

Flying flatworm by Sutheera Mora. The ripples in the sand behind the subject really make this shot.

How Ornate by Matthew Pearson: A fantastic shot of an Ornate Ghost Pipefish. Love the position of the subject with the blue of the cave opening behind it.

Through the rays by Giacomo Antonio Rossi: What an amazing sight! Sun rays and Devil Rays in perfect harmony.

Beards by Aldo Galante: A stunning portrait showing the battle scars left behind on this poor clownfish. Bravo!

Underwater Eight legged freak by Dixon Cogal: Striking image of a common subject. The delicate lighting really makes it stand out from the crowd.

Lights in the dark by Maria Bereozka: Love this image. The beautiful pattern of the eagle ray and the hint of the shape of the ray swimming away, all in black and white, make this stand out.

The Magical Melibe Leonina by Alison Smith: I would love to see one of these! Such a bizarre creature, well positioned on a frond of kelp with the green water behind.

Sturgeon in the overflight by Markus Schmidt: I love the clouds in the background of this image, visible through Snell’s Window. The divers adds to the image too and the angle, from below, of the sturgeon is really striking.

Gray sea puppy by Brian Weber: Adorable portrait of this young seal that works really well in black and white. Lovely eye-contact and a mass of whiskers.

Down the rabbit hole by Gustavo Padillla: This image really makes the viewer feel like they are right behind the diver enjoying exploring the cenotes.

Mollusk Without A Shell by Lloyd Bond: Lovely nudibranch portrait. Clean, with a black background, beautifully lit, really jumps out.

Flamingo tongue by Jan Leya: I love the blue background and the lighting – it gives the shot of a quite simple subject a really atmospheric feel. Super depth of field with the subject and the section of the gorgonian in perfect focus.

Hawksbill Portrait by MichaelG: A really imposing turtle portrait! Amazing detail and lovely eye-contact.

Happy shark by Tony Roberto Reed: A story telling shot – showing the shark, its environment and a diver taking a look. Lovely.

What are you thinking about ? by Miguel Ramirez: What a cute fish! Who could not love those huge eyes and such a grumpy face.

Black and white beauty by Miguel Ramirez: Stunning image of a moray! It fills the frame and the pattern is mesmerizing. Love this.

Freshwater shrimp in german lake by D. Loll: Really unusual image. Shrimp everywhere! Lovely focus and lighting.

Dolphins in Love by Cedric Peneau: Love the expression on the main subjects face! This must have been a great experience and the image really takes you there.

Redhead Stylophora Goby (Paragobiodon echinocephalus) by Oksana Maksymova: Super portrait of the characterful fish. Delicate lighting and great use of bokeh.

EYE see you! by Bill Passmore: This is a really stand-out image. The tones, lighting and use of depth of field are all perfect. The Catch lighting in the eye is an added bonus. Bravo!

Christmas in Ambon by Niels Prinssen: The detail in this shot is super, so much to look at and then you see the tiny fish in its hide out.

En pleine tempête / In a storm by Sylvain Corbel: Stunning nudibranch portrait. The colours are so vibrant against the black background. The motion of the water current evident. Just lovely.

Live Life in Full Bloom by Sofia Tenggrono: Perfect focus on a tiny subject. To have it isolated against the black background is amazing. To have enough of the coral in shot to give the viewer a good idea of where it was and what it was like – very impressive.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Sturgeon in the overflight by Markus Schmidt

Runner-up: Flamingo tongue by Jan Leya

Third Place: EYE see you! by Bill Passmore

Highly Commended: Cardinal fish with eggs by Donna Lim & Sunburst by Brandon Hannan

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

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

  • Flamingo tongue by Jan Leya

  • Sunburst by Brandon Hannan

  • EYE see you! by Bill Passmore

  • Cardinal fish with eggs by Donna Lim

  • Sturgeon in the overflight by Markus Schmidt

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

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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.

Continue Reading

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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