Connect with us
background

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

December 2015 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR STUART PHILPOTT

WINNER: Sean Chinn

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/sunbathing/

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. I would like to add a big thank to all of the entrants in 2015’s monthly photographic competitions. I really enjoyed looking through every one of your images. The toughest job was choosing a winner from so many great shots. I am sure that 2016 is going to be even bigger and better than ever so get sifting through your image libraries and start uploading your 2016 entries onto the Scubaverse website asap. January’s competition is already up and running.

Before I give you the results of the December 2015 competition I must make my apologies for the delay. It’s been entirely my fault. I’ve had far too much picture editing work to get through. I guess image manipulation is quite a debateable subject. Should you leave your pictures in a natural ‘pure’ state, from the moment you pressed the shutter release button, or is it acceptable to tweak colours, sharpness etc and then ‘clean up’ any unwanted items (i.e. remove backscatter, exhaled bubbles, spurious background objects etc using editing software)? I would like to know your thoughts. Judging by the images submitted on Scubaverse’s monthly photo competitions there has been quite a broad spectrum, from the totally untouched to the grossly over processed. I am hoping to run through a few of the basic enhancements that I personally make to my underwater images in an exclusive Scubaverse series coming later this year, and depending on the interest this will follow on with more involved topics.

I would also like to mention some new underwater photography workshops that I will be running throughout 2016. Some will be UK based and some will be overseas. This year’s workshops will mainly be focusing on the subject of using underwater models in pictures. When I say models this is any scuba diver male or female, young or old, that is some way featured in a composition. Models add interest and perspective to an image and can be anything from a silhouette shape in the background to a close up full frame mask shot. I will be covering every aspect on my workshops with theory presentations and practical diving sessions. More information including dates and locations will be released soon.

And so to the December 2015 entries…… and there really are some top rate images making this is a very tough month to judge. The old year is definitely going out on a high!

Introducing Dominico Luzzi’s wide angle silhouette shot called ‘contemplation’ taken in Koh Hann, Thailand. Dominico has gone inside the cave and then turned around and taken the shot looking out through the entrance. The shot has got a diver plus a shoal of fish and a wonderful blue backdrop. I probably would have edited out the divers and streams of bubbles in the far background as I think this detracts from the main subject slightly, but otherwise a superb effort.

I really do have a soft spot for pygmy seahorses so the second macro entry from Dominico Luzzi titled ‘neckless’ taken in Bali is well appreciated. The shadow on the seahorse’s head/upper body is a slight niggle but overall great colours and composition. Is the eye slightly out of focus? It’s probably just the quality of the uploaded image.

Dominico’s third entry with the long title ‘get out of the hole for the shooting’ shows a small fish looking directly at a squirrel fish, hence the title. The flashguns have really highlighted the colours in this shot taken on a night dive. I’m not sure if this is a full frame image or cropped version but the composition works well. Yet another great shot from Mr Luzzi. I thought Truk lagoon was supposed to be famous for its wrecks? Where are the wide angle wreck shots Dominico?  Thanks for your images and thanks for adding the information about dive site location and camera settings. It really does help. If there was an overall portfolio prize Dominico’s shots would be a strong contender.

It’s nice to see that Janice Nigro is back this month with and wickedly colourful image titled ‘underwater koozie’ taken at Lembeh. I would call this shot the perfect anemone fish pose. There is a front facing nemo, some anemone tentacles and some of the outer anemone casing in the composition. That’s a very fast shutter speed you are using Janice? Love the colours and the composition. This has to be one of my top three images.

All my favourite photo subjects are coming out this month including Yo-Han Cha’s image of a grey Atlantic seal called ‘dancer’. This shot was taken at the Farne Islands. Seals really do pull some great postures and facial expressions. This shot is no exception. Considering it’s taken in UK conditions there’s plenty of ambient light and the seal is clear and in-focus.

From this angle it looks like a green turtle in Terry Crocker’s shot ‘another sleepy turtle’. What a great shot. I’ve never seen a turtle picture like this before. Is it asleep or hiding from the photographer? It doesn’t look like a very comfortable bed! I think a front facing shot would have been better but the colours and the unusual composition make up for the slight negative. It’s a real shame that the turtle didn’t stay around for a few more shots Terry. Damn marine life has a mind of its own! I think this composition had the potential for a real show stopping winner. But I’m not saying it’s not great as it is!

Well done Sean Chinn for taking this above and below shot of a whaleshark called ‘gentle giant’ in the Philippines. Was this shot taken at Tan-awan, Cebu where the sharks are lured in by the fishermen?  50/50 shots are not easy to get right, especially when you have to contend with a moving whaleshark. It helps if the surface conditions are flat calm so you can line up the above/below split. Yet another impressive shot from this month’s quota.

Sean Chinn’s second macro entry simply called ‘stretch’ shows a chromodoris nudibranch on a reef somewhere around Anilao in the Philippines. Love the composition with the nudi’s head held high and the antennae in focus. The vivid colours really stand out against the black background.

Sean Chinn’s third entry called ‘sunbathing’ shows a green turtle on a reef at Sipadan Island in Malaysia. I think Sean has positioned himself perfectly for this composition. He’s below the turtle shooting up towards the surface. There is so much to see in this image, it really does tell a story. At first my eyes focused on the turtle then I noticed the corals and the shoaling fish above, all finished off with the sun rays shining down through a very clear blue sea. Another superb wide angle shot. It looks slightly over exposed on the turtle’s flipper and lower shell. Maybe there’s slightly too much flash? I think this can be toned down in photo editing software. Otherwise very, very nice and a potential December winner. Sean has submitted a great portfolio of images to round off 2015. I hope he will follow this up with an equally good portfolio in January.

For an agonising moment I thought this was going to be the first ever Tam Warner Minton free month but just as I was coming to the end of the competition I found one! Glad to see you could make it Tam.  Simply called ‘hiding in a sponge’, this looks like a Caribbean shot of a crab inside a barrel sponge, but I might be wrong. I can’t tell how big the crab is from your picture Tam? Maybe you could have put your finger in there just to give it some size perspective! I like the composition with the crab sitting at the bottom of the sponge. The concentric circles of the barrel sponge make the image more interesting.

And last but not least a second entry from Tam Warner Minton. I couldn’t have picked a better photographer to finish off 2015 with! Well done Tam. I hope Scubaverse will see more pictures from you in 2016. Called ‘hanging around, upside down’ the image shows a lionfish lurking under a reef ledge somewhere in the Caribbean. I think lionfish are really photogenic but I do have a problem with Caribbean lionfish as they are an invasive species and have wiped out most of the juvenile fish population. This image shows some great colours, it’s slightly out of focus but another good effort.

And so for the winner of 2015’s final competition…..after much deliberation and cogitation it has to be Sean Chinn’s entry called ‘sunbathing’ which shows a green turtle sitting on a reef at Sipadan Island. Well done Sean, great shot and a worthy winner. There has to be a tie for second place between two macro images, Janice’s shot ‘underwater koozie’ and Dominico’s ‘neckless’.

Thank you all again for so many great entries. I hope to see everybody back again this year!

 

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.

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

June 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

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

WINNER: “It’s my turn to have the camera now!” by Charly Clerisse

Another month filled with incredible images, both macro and wide angle, from all around the world. So many great images to go through!

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:

Juvenile Bearded Fireworm by John Fowler: Lovely colours and use of depth of field makes this image jump out.

Sardine run by Francisco Jose Medina Maldonado: So much going on in this shot with the schooling fish and divers on the wreck. Really gives the viewer a great idea on what it was like to be there.

“It’s my turn to have the camera now!” by Charly Clerisse: Wow! What a moment and well done for getting the shot when you had so much going on. The fact that you got the eye in focus and engaged with the viewer is a real bonus.

Humpback whale family by Herbert Futterknecht: While Humpback Whale images are now much more common and we see a lot in this competition, it is still rare to get three in a single shot. This image was perfectly timed too, with a lovely shape to this whale family. Very nice indeed.

Great White come to the surface by Herbert Futterknecht: Very dramatic with the Great White Shark just about to break the surface of the water. Excellent that you captured the reflection of the shark.

jellys by matan bechar: So many jellyfish in a single image. This caught my eye for the sheer number, but also the delicate lighting and complimentary colours.

Red spotted porcelain crab by divejackdive: Nice to see the crab feeding. Images of marine life behaviour always stand out from the crowd.

It’s mine! by Giacomo Antonio Rossi: These are a favourite subject of mine. I love diving with them and photographing them and this shot is special because of the fight the two are having over the lobster.

Snowstorm by Suliman A.: A lovely nudi shot. The colours are subtle and the shallow depth of field is perfect for this subject in this environment.

Shrimp by Adam Sokolski: This is a beautiful macro image. Simple and un-fussy to look at and the subject is pin sharp. Super colours too.

Jabba the Hut by Frank Michels: A wonderful fish portrait with such an expression on his face. Made me smile.

Sunprayer by Frank Michels: Simple yet stunning image of a turtle and sun rays. Good eye contact with your subject. No distractions in the backgroud. Clear  and sharp. Lovely.

Eyes by Oksana Maksymova: Pin sharp eyes peering out of the shell. Love this image.

The sunset by Daniel Halmi: Lovely still water for this split shot with a beautiful sunset above and part of a wreck below.

Big Mistake by MichaelG: An amazing behaviour shot with a super reflection too. The pufferfish eye is in focus and looking right at the camera.

Nurseshark B/W by Jan Leya: Simple and striking image.

Grouper by claude lespagne: Super expression and interaction in this image. The simple background really helps the subject stand out.

A very chilled Shyshark on a reef by Nakita Willemse: I love this shyshark peeking out from the colourful reef.

Hunchback amphipods giving a shyshark a little nose tickle by Nakita Willemse: Wow! I have never seen this before and that makes it stand out from the crowd. Well done – the angle of the shot if perfect to show off the amphipods on and around the shark.

Meeting the Giants by Cedric Peneau: A stunning image and what really makes it stand out is the underwater photographer in the shot. It makes you understand what it was like to be there and what a special encounter it was. Lovely.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: “It’s my turn to have the camera now!” by Charly Clerisse

Runner-up: Hunchback amphipods giving a shyshark a little nose tickle by Nakita Willemse

Third Place: Meeting the Giants by Cedric Peneau

Highly Commended: Snowstorm by Suliman A & Sunprayer by Frank Michels

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


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

Continue Reading

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

May 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

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

WINNER: Tubes in Black and White by Bill Passmore

Another month filled with incredible images, both macro and wide angle, from all around the world. This was the hardest month in 2021 to judge so far!

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:

Orcas encounter by Giacomo Antonio Rossi: Wow! What an experience! I wish I had been there in the water with you as this is one of my dreams… the image is lovely with both a side on orca and one looking right at the camera. The image has a dream-like quality.

Pike in the Sky by Matej Miskovic: What a lovely image. Beautiful pattern on the pike and the view of the trees through Snell’s Window makes the image look like a water-colour painting.

Looking Glass by Charlotte Elliott: The reflection really makes this images and you have done it perfectly. Super shark shot – well done.

Black NudiBranch by Nakita Willemse: You can almost feel how velvet-like this nudibranch would feel (not that I am suggesting you should stroke it). A nice pose and vibrant background.

Grace by Suliman A: A striking black and white shot of a turtle. It is always difficult shooting into the sun and getting a good result.

Under the Pier by Raffaele: I love diving and snorkeling piers, there is always so much life to be seen, usually in shallow water. This image really shows that off, and with a sun-burst through the structure too.

Look in to your camera by Raffaele: I love the expression on this fish’s face! This must have been difficult to capture, but you have nailed the focus on the eyes of your subject just as it turned to look at the camera – well done.

Morwong Portrait by MichaelG: What I like about this fish portrait is the catch-lighting in the eye. The black background makes the subject really jump out of the shot and the super-close positioning of the subject works too.

Caribbean Reef Octopus by MichaelG: What a striking image of an octopus. I am not sure I have seen one like it. Great use of black and white as it makes the details of the pattern stand out. Have you tried spinning it through 180 degrees?

I`ve got my eyes on you! by Daniel Halmi: Lovely eye-contact. It is always hard to get the eyes of these pipefish in focus and you have done just that. Great use of Depth of Field to blur the background.

Anemone Shrimp by Peg Mosch: The detail in this image if wonderful. Very sharp.

Alien by Sylvain Corbel: This image really jumps out at the viewer. The eyes of the subject are incredible to look at. The lighting is very well done indeed. I love this.

The new generation of anemone fish by Oksana Maksymova: Ha – they look like Minions! What a brilliant macro shot this is. Silvery subjects can be hard to light well, but you have done so perfectly.

Trinchesia sp. by Oksana Maksymova: This is a beautiful image of a nudibranch. The depth of field is perfect to get the subject in focus and the background blurred. The detail on the substrate is stunning. The subtle colours are simply lovely. Bravo.

Shimmer by Max Gillespie: Normally I would want the subject to be swimming towards the camera, but the sun rays, sea grass and blue water with the movement of the shark swimming through really works.

Cyerce bourbonica by Moby Duarte: Super detail on this nudibranch image. What makes it stand out though is the curving line of the grass blade it is on and the fact it is just dangling over the edge. The lighting and black background are extremely well done.

Hanging around by D. Loll: Love the pose this turtle is making, right in front of the camera. I also like that you can see the surface ripples in the top of the image.

Tubes in Black and White by Bill Passmore: We have had a few black and white entries this month, but this is my favourite of them. Subtle and beautiful, this just shows that getting the lighting right and working on a simple subject can provide stunning results.

Seahorse by Jan Leya: A simple but lovely seahorse portrait. The yellow against a dark blue background is very pleasing.

Dugong by Severin Pöhlmann. What I like about this shot is the movement of the sand disturbed by the Dugong as it swims up towards the surface. Everyone who looks at this image will realize how great it would be to be there in that moment.

3’s a crowd by Matthew Pearson: It is always special to capture a specific behaviour in an image. The display pose by the central cuttlefish makes this shot.

Fluorescent Spider Crab by Alasdair O’Dell: Wow! I had no idea that spider crabs reacted like this under UV lights. Stunning image and unusual as well. It really helps that the crab is looking right into the camera lens too. Well done.

Mother’s love by SanghoonLee: Super image of an octopus looking after eggs. The framing of the image is perfect.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Tubes in Black and White by Bill Passmore

Runner-up: Orcas encounter by Giacomo Antonio Rossi

Third Place: The new generation of anemone fish by Oksana Maksymova

Highly Commended: Alien by Sylvain Corbel and Pike in the Sky by Matej Miskovic

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

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

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular