August 2015 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: ‘Whale Shark’ by Tam Warner Minton


August time in the UK has been quite a wash out, definitely not the best weather for diving or for underwater photography. I’m hoping that the rest of the world has fared somewhat better? But judging by the amount of entries in this month’s competition, maybe that’s not the case. There are only seven pictures in August’s gallery. This is a real shame, but many thanks to those of you who have entered. Just as a reminder, you don’t have to submit a recent shot. You can put any pictures up, even if they were taken several years ago.

I’m going to make a conceited effort to judge the pictures earlier in the month which will allow you more time to submit your entries. There is also some exciting news of more prizes for the winner, but Dave, the Editor, will tell you more about this when the deal has been finalised.

And so to this month’s pictures…

Thanks for your entry Tam. You really do take some great underwater photos. This month’s entry ‘Whale Shark Female’ is no exception. I’m not sure how you can tell it’s a female? Maybe you could enlighten me on the intricate details of whale shark anatomy? This is a really nice head on composition with a diver in the background giving it some size perspective. I’m green with envy, my trip to Belize a few months ago yielded zero whale sharks. There were plenty of spawning snapper and pods of dolphins but not a whiff of a whale shark! On a more critical note the white under belly looks slightly over exposed on the image I’m looking at.

Tam’s second entry is another shot from the same whale shark series. I personally think this shot is slightly better than the first. The whale shark’s mouth is open wider and there’s more of a mirror like reflection from the surface. The white under belly doesn’t look over exposed in this shot. As a big fish action shot you can’t get much better than a whale shark. This has to be this month’s winning entry. Well done Tam.

Janice Nigro has submitted a really nice macro nudibranch shot called Indian Goddess Durga. I looked up a picture of Durga and Janice is right, the nudi does have similarities! Thanks for the description, it really does draw me into the picture. I can see why they are called spaghetti. It must be difficult to get a ‘clean’ picture. You have really done a good job. The only slight negative, as you have already mentioned, is the background. If it had been darker the nudi would have been even more impressive.

Tam has submitted another whale shark shot titled ‘pregnant whale shark and friends’. This time I can clearly see the swelling under belly and there are two snorkelers in the background instead of one which gives it a more ‘shared experience’ feel.

Mat Howell has submitted a shot simply called Zenobia. I have done quite a lot of diving on the Zen (thanks Dive-In, Cyprus) and know it reasonably well. The 178m long Ro-Ro ferry lies on its port side which can be disorientating for divers that go inside the wreck. Mat is looking towards the row of bow windows while ‘star shaped’ Neil is fiddling with his camera. I love the way the light shines through the windows. Mat’s shot shows how much space there is inside this massive wreck.

Janice’s second entry Chanel is another macro nudi, this time in arty black and white. The head and antennae are perfectly in focus and moving towards the camera. I think the picture works well in black and white, good choice. This has to be my runner up for the month.

Rickey L Ferand’s morning traffic taken at Namena in Fiji shows a very healthy reef teaming with fish. Is the diver in the background holding onto the coral? This shouldn’t be promoted. I had a great shot of the Giannis D wreck taken at Abu Nuhas in Egypt but the magazines wouldn’t use the shot because the diver in the foreground was touching the deck railing. Divers touching anything shows a lack of buoyancy control and disrespect for the environment. I think you could make the shot even more appealing by focusing on some coral in the foreground and get the diver to come in closer or position them in the empty blue patch on the left hand side of the frame.

Thanks again for this month’s entries. There might only have been seven but they were all great pictures.


Stuart Philpott

Stuart Philpott

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.

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