February 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: Anthiadinae and fire coral by Peter Boots

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!


Plenty of great images were entered into the February competition. Here are a few that caught my eye:

Gone Fishing by Mark Chivers

This is an excellent shot of a frogfish hunting, and I love the black background. The lighting is good, but I think it would have worked even better if the “lure” had been lit more.

It is important to hold hands by Oksana Macksymova.

This is another well-presented behaviour shot. It took me few seconds to work out what was going on, but I love the symmetry.

Nudibranch janalus sp. By Oksana Macksymova.

I’m not nudi obsessed, but I do like the Janalus. The lighting is excellent around the Rhinofors and the setting really works well.

Giant Oceanic Manta by François Baelen

Beautifully lit manta with its entourage in Socorro. Lovely!

Fireworks by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez

This is an unusual shot but it really works well due to the colours, in particular. I suspect that the smaller critters are the subject’s young.

Feeding time by Christina Fernandez Gonzales

I always find these harlequin shrimps difficult to get the right angle or pose but the photographer has really nailed this one, well done.

Skelet-on-nudi by Marc Eeckhaut

What a find! The lighting and angle on the nudi is beautiful, but to spot the skeleton shrimp…. Love the black background.

Lionfish by Marc Eeckhaut

This is a beautifully framed shot of a lionfish. The coral above and below with small silverfish really create an excellent image.

Head on by Tony Reed

Love this.. the yellow on black background and shallow depth of field makes the images really stand out.

Anthiadinae and fire coral by Peter Boots

Having just returned from Ras Mohammed this week, I’m sure I saw that coral!! It is super the way you have used the lighting and created a beautiful image from such a common subject


After much deliberation by our judge….

What a month – so many great images made this a really tough month to judge…

The results

Winner: Anthiadinae and fire coral by Peter Boots

Runner-up: Lionfish by Marc Eeckhaut

3rd Place: Fireworks by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez

Congratulations to those who were placed – some really nice images here, and well done to all those that entered.

Scubaverse.com’s March 2020 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 www.frogfishphotography.com.

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