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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

December 2019 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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

WINNER: Young Whaleshark in ….. by Tim Steenssens

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!


December saw fewer entries than usual, I guess you were getting ready for the festivities… so I had the chance to mention each image in my review in this final month of the year.

Muraena helena by Lorenzo Buccio

This portrait shot has a very small depth of field, but in the moray’s mouth you can see a parasite on the right hand side. The texture on top of the critter’s head is nicely captured too.

Ghost by Sofia Tenngrono

Pipefish are notoriously difficult to capture on lens and this robust Ghost Pipefish is one of the hardest. Isolating it against a blue background really helps to see the animal clearly. The small piece of coral helps to break-up the negative space.

Silent Reflection by Sean Steininger

What a cool shot of a Humpback, diving inverted. The reflected light from its underside creates a patch of light on the surface and the darkness of the rest of the image creates a contrast that works really well in this image.

Eye Contact by Sean Steininger

Coming face to face with one of the ocean’s giants is a great experience and to capture the moment on camera is always a thrill. Unfortunately, clipping its nose doesn’t help with the overall presentation.

Solar Power by Marc Eeckhaut

This shot is taken at a great angle and shows all the main components of this amazing nudibranch. The dark patches on the body are clusters of chlorophyll and the photosynthesise the light to give extra energy to the critter.

Bottled by Marc Eeckhaut

I love the lighting in this shot. The light has been put through the brown bottle to create an amber colouring on the subject, which is sitting at a sufficient angle for the shot.

Lips by Marc Eeckhaut

I really like the use of a large depth of field on this image which allows the photographer to get the amazing eyes and the lips in focus. Shot on the sand, in its usual, ambush pose, the black background adds impetus to the overall dynamic of the image.

Family by Serge Melesan

I love the idea of this image but I feel it would have benefited from taking the highlights down as the anemone is over-exposed. It is also, in my opinion, one of those shots that would have benefited from a larger depth of field, especially as the title suggests all the family.

To the deep by Serge Melesen

Sea lions make such wonderful subjects and this shot captures the mischievous nature of these iconic mammals. There is always, at least one, that has to come and check-out the photographer.

Portrait by Serge Melesen

This is a great angle for this much-photographed fish. I love the small depth of field and the catch-light in its eye. I think I would have reduced the highlights a bit as the bright white stripe is distracting and the detail in its face is a little bit lost.

Green Turtle in Black by Tim Steenssens.

It’s always nice to encounter a turtle on a night-dive and this one has been captured at the perfect angle. The black and white works well as there is a lot of contrast.

Frogfish taking a stroll

This is a double exposure shot, presumably of the tiny 1cm frogfish laid onto the sun as a background is very nicely done. The lighting and composition are excellent.

Young Whaleshark in ….. by Tim Steenssens

This is a cool shot of a young Whaleshark feeding at the surface. Excellent.

After much deliberation by our judge….

Whilst numbers were low, quality was very high!

The results

Winner: Young Whaleshark in ….. by Tim Steenssens

Runner-up: Bottled by Marc Eeckhaut

Congratulations to those who were placed – some really nice images here, and well done to all those that entered. I cannot wait to see what 2020 has to offer.


Scubaverse.com’s January 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

September 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: 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

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

August 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

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

WINNER: Smile! by Cedric Peneau

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 bumper month of images this month and once again the quality was superb. Here is what I thought of a selection of this month’s images…

Watching Fish by Kristijan Maurovic. Even the most common species can offer great photo moments. I love the grumpy look on this snapper.

Sweet Dream by Wayan Jhon. The amphipod, sat on the purple with a black background creates a really well put together macro image. I may have tried to manoeuvre the camera a bit lower and put the critter against the black.

King of the Hill by Alex Permiakov. I really love the lighting in this black background nudibranch portrait. The colours are amazing and the small depth of field works well on this kind of shot.

The Ship Whisperer by Jonathan Seeyave. I have seen several versions of this shot (though not on this particular wreck) and I love the way that the whole image is given perspective. The water clarity and the deep blue background really help too.

Seaweed Blenny by Magali Marquez. Blennies make such great images, they are so photogenic. Snoots work really well on these shots, even though it can be difficult to line-up the light on the subject. This is expertly done and creates a great result.

Caribbean Manta Eye by Magali Marquez. Despite the really small dof, I like this shot. Whilst much of the eye is not in focus, I am drawn to the eyes. The black background accentuates the effect too.

Pygmy Seahorse by Juho  Karhu. Trying to get a really good pygmy seahorse shot can be difficult, but this image has the subject actually framed in the coral and looking directly at the camera. Lovely.

Hairy Shrimp by Juho Karhu. Orange, black and white help make this image pop-out from the screen. The focussing is excellent and the eye is pin-sharp and I do like the pattern around the eye.

Chromodoris loci by Francesco Russo. This is a great example of how a common subject can give you a great image. The colours of the nudibranch are wonderful against the flat grey background. It demonstrates that ‘species shots’ can be stunning, well done.

Odontaspis ferox by Claude Lespagne. I love sharks and the Raggie is a special one. They are usually difficult to get, head-on, like this one, but the depth of field helps the ‘smile’ to stand out.

Caribbean sheep by Melodie Caussat. This is a lovely image. It has so many components with a diagonal, the complementary colours and a black background. Beautifully done.

Under good surveillance by Miguel Ramirez. Parent and multiple offspring. Nicely captured.

Isolation by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez. Love the angle, the black background and the detail (especially in the rhinophores). The colours help too. This is beautifully executed.

A bottle of Octopus by Iris van der Zwan. I have never seen an octopus change to this bright purple and I am jealous. I love the concept of this image too, as they are notoriously difficult to get a good image of.

Sargassum by Marc Eeckhaut. I always look for these froggies whenever I am in their territory. I like the angle you have used too.

Trying to fit in by Naomi Rose. This is such an unusual shot that I had to include it on the shortlist. It is almost a shame that we cannot see what is going on but I like it the way it is too.

Smile! by Cedric Peneau. This image will catch the eye of anyone. It is clever and well executed.

Reflections by Cedric Peneau. It is the reflections that really catch the eye on this beautiful shot of two of the ocean’s most majestic creatures. The calm surface really does help to show-off this image


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Smile! by Cedric Peneau

Runner-up: Trying to fit in by Naomi Rose

3rd Place: Reflections by Cedric Peneau

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

Scubaverse.com’s September 2020 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

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