August 2019 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Mom introduces her baby by Nathalie Rodrigues

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!

August 2019

Well not as many entries as usual, but the quality was outstanding. I guess (and hope) that lots of you are away diving somewhere nice and we will get a host of great new images next month! Here are the images I have selected for comment this month:

Bottle Top by Jack Pokov: I love the fact that these amazing coconut octopuses will squeeze themselves into anything they can fit into. Shot against a black background, the eye and the suckers really draw the viewer into the image.

Larvae Octopus by Daryll Rivett: This is a really interesting shot and well-captured blackwater image. This octopus is very small, and trying to capture this type of image of no easy feat.

Tuna Factory by Gigi fu: This captures the nature of a “busy” dive site and the stingrays clearly depict motion as they swim under the schooling bannerfish.

Red Carpet by Miguel Ramirez: this is a super behaviour shot, showing a tiny nudibranch eating the eggs of a much larger nudibranch, the Spanish Dancer. I am not keen on the angle shooting down on the subject, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Mom introduces her baby by Nathalie Rodrigues: This kind of shot does not come along that often. The focus is on the baby’s eye and I love the motion and the reflection at the surface. Excellent. What a moment that must have been.

Deep Blue by Sean Steininger: This is a shot that all photographer would love to capture for themselves. The cavitation coming off the left fin really shows the power and force of the whale.

Creative by Marc Eeckhaut: This is a super shot of a Whip Coral Shrimp which is beautifully enhanced by the use of a coloured slate behind the subject. The yellow and blue really compliment each other.

Love Dance by Marc Eeckhaut: Anyone who has tried to capture mandarin fish mating in the dark will know how difficult this can be. Marc has captured the “peak of the action” in this image, just as the male and female come together.

Flying Carpet by Dietmar Gunther: Sometimes it is difficult to work out what is going on in an image. Whilst it is obviously a frogfish, the red petternation completely alters the perceived shape of the fish, working perfectly as camouflage. The lighting is great and the black background accentuates the colours.

After much deliberation by our judge….

There were some great shots to select from this month it made judging very tough indeed. Well done to all those that entered and sorry I could not comment on every image.

The results

Winner: Mom introduces her baby by Nathalie Rodrigues

Runner-up: Bottle Top by Jack Pokov

3rd place: Creative by Marc Eeckhaut

Congratulations to the those who were placed – some really nice images here, and well done to all those that entered. I cannot wait to see what September has to offer.’s September 2019 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit

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