January 2017 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Striped Catfish by Jack McKee

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/striped-catfish/

When judging any underwater photography competition, the first thing we do is ask of each image: Is it in focus? The main subject has to be pin sharp. Is it exposed correctly?

We 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 we 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 us both go wow – I wish I had taken that!

January 2017

Here we go! A new year and a fresh start to the Scubaverse underwater photography competition. The top 3 images from 2016 were stunning and we are looking forward to an excellent set of images each month this year. January has certainly had some stunning entries.

Our favourites


In my top selection of images this month are:

Nude by Glynn Phillips. This nudibranch really jumps out of you with the magnificent purple against a fairly dull background. Lovely sharp image of a favourite subject.

I have got my eye on you by Paul Ansell. Lovely shot. Fabulous eye contact and a great angle to show off this weird looking fish. Very engaging.

Dance by Dragos Dumitrescu. Lovely motion blur shot, which is one of the popular uwp techniques at the moment. You get the feeling of this juvenile fish’s dance, which is very hard to capture.

Defending the Fortress by Dragos Dumitrescu. Lovely atmosphere in this shot. Love the angle at which it was shot. It hides the worst of the sun flare and also makes the anemone tower up into the sky. Really nice.

Shaun the Sheep by Sean Chinn. These nudibranchs are tiny and so this is an exceptional head on shot that must have taken a great deal of patience to get. Such a fantastic subject. Lovely bokeh.

C47 Dakota Wreck by Caner Candemir. A great wreck image, only enhanced by the bright fish that has swum into frame. Lovely composition.

Striped Catfish by Jack McKee. This is smashing! Great eye contact. Super black background. Lovely timing to get this shot. It reminds me of Bohemian Rhapsody! Well done!


In my top selection of images this month are:

Nudi by Glynn Phillips. Beautifully lit, almost makes it glow.

The Elusive Longnose by Zoe Randle. Great use of depth of field, the letterbox framing works well too.

I have got my eye on you by Paul Ansell. Eye-level and really captures the twisted nature of this fish.

Bokeh by Paul Ansell. Great eye contact and out of focus pectoral fins add to the overall effect.

It’s so dark by Paul Ansell. A truly stylish and stark image.

Dance by Dragos Dumitrescu. Motion blur with dark bokeh background. Nice effect.

Messiah by Dragos Dumitrescu. The balanced light creates a really powerful image. A stunning shot, but I would have liked more detail on the seahorse – maybe crop a little?

Defending the Fortress by Dragos Dumitrescu. Another super balanced light shot from Dragos. It really does look like a fortress shot into the light. Wonderful.

Eye of the Clam by Maxine McKenzie. Lovely abstract of a clam using depth of field cleverly.

Cluster of Anemone by Ruairidh MacKenzie. It truly is a cluster and creates a lovely image. The one on the far right looks like a teddy bear! I would have used a bit more light to really make it pop out and I would have removed the bit of gear showing at the top.

Tiger Shark in Tahiti by Emmanuelle Camallonga. This is a lovely shot that tells a story and would look superb as part of an article about the dive.

Shaun the Sheep by Sean Chinn. This is a lovely shot of this species which seems particularly difficult to focus on.

C47 Dakota Wreck by Caner Candemir. A super shot in pristine waters. There is a lot of negative space and the photobombing wrasse would have looked better if in that space.

Striped Catfish by Jack McKee. Lovely black background shot of these dangerous animals and the focussing is pin sharp.

Hooded Cuttlefish by Jeremy Smith. This is an unusual shot but it works well. I would have removed the odd particle in the dark water.

Rainbow Turtle by Malgorzata Baranska. A super close up of a turtle’s head and the rainbow across the image really does something for it. Ambient light with a compact makes this even more special.

After much deliberations between our two judges….

As usual our two judges agreed on most of the top images, but there is always some discussion to be had as to who should top the list each month.

Winner:  Striped Catfish by Jack McKee

Runner-Up: Defending the Fortress by Dragos Dumitrescu

3rd Place: Shaun the Sheep by Sean Chinn

Fancy wining some great prizes? Love underwater photography? Got what it takes? Why not enter next month? We look forward to seeing your entries!

Scubaverse.com’s February 2017 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter 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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