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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

January 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: Rana Verde Minore by Giannaccini Alessandro

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!


What a great start to the 2020 competition! Loads of great images were entered into the January competition. Here are a few that caught my eye:

Cuttlefish by Serget Zavisha

Lovely shot of three cuttlefish displaying. Presumably this is a precursor to mating but great to get all three in-frame. If I have a criticism, I would have tried to get lower and shoot upwards, possibly isolating the subjects against the water.

Rana Verde Minore by Giannaccini Alessandro

Love this. It is unusual and very well executed. The lighting beneath the water captures the subject and the DoF is sufficient to include the surroundings. Well done.

VIAAAA! by  Giannaccini Alessandro

Super capture of this squid on a night-dive which creates a black surround. The lights in the background add to the atmosphere, creating an excellent overall composition.

Unheimliche Begegnung by Nicole Wachter

This shot of a large jellyfish in cold water works really well in black & white, although I would have loved to see it in colour too. I love the balance of the composition, using the diver to give the impression of size.

Underground by Nicole Wachter

Whilst this cavern is not as picturesque as many, the lighting is so good that the image really works well. It is great to see that there is wildlife to be seen in cave diving, but I think the out of focus fish in the foreground is distracting.

Biggest Fish by Sophie Rusca

Nicely taken, downward shot of a whaleshark. I like the way the photographer has turned the camera to create a diagonal and get the whole subject into frame. The curve in the tail is pleasing too and gives a sense of movement.

Little jewel by Sophie Rusca

What a beautiful nudibranch! The depth of field works perfectly in this shot; enough to see the whole subject but only pin-sharp at the head.

Mobular’s frenzy by Francois Baelen

This is one of those animal behaviour moments that we all would love to witness. It is hard to create a different shot than looking down at the aggregation, but this does that really well.

Salty Hellos by Gina Smith

A lovely moment captured by the photographer as two green Turtles meet underwater. The angle is perfect as the turtles are isolated in the blue, yet their surroundings are still in-shot. I might have tried cropping in a little to focus on the subjects.

Steve K on the SF2 by Andy Clark

Black & white works really well in this image, as the black suit of the diver stands out clearly against the “grey” of the background. It may have been nice to have the diver’s light highlighting an interesting artefact on the deck.

Reflection by Paul Cannon

This is one of those few images where the subject is not the star. It is a lovely example of how an ordinary subject (the Carp) can be part of a really good image. The surroundings are not exactly eye-catching with old tyres lying around on a relatively dull background, but the refection really makes this shot.

Clear the Room by Miguel Ramirez

This is an excellent behaviour shot of a goby preparing the nest for the young. The DoF is perfect for this shot and the cloud of sand the goby is spitting out captures this moment.

Symbiotic Relation by Serge Melesan

I found this cute behaviour shot really drew me in. Great eye contact and lighting with the subject framed in translucent bubbles.

Longitude by Sean Steininger

Another wonderful behaviour shot demonstrating how protective these giants of our oceans can be. I zoomed in on the eye and it is clearly watching the photographer very closely.

Coconut Octopus by Marc Eeckhaut

The lighting on this cephalopod shot against a black background really make this a striking image. I always find these critters difficult to capture in a great image, but Marc has nailed this one.

Hairy by Marc Eeckhaut

Frogfish are a weakness of mine and two together is always going to make me look twice. I love the composition but, personally, would have liked a bit more light on the guy on the right.

Triggerfish by Pauline Walsh Jacobson

I always tell my students that if they cannot get the whole creature in-frame, then make sure that you get the face and leave room in front for it to swim into. The photographer has done this and the whole image works really well against a black background. I also like the large DoF that puts all the trigger fish in focus.

After much deliberation by our judge….

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

The results

Winner: Rana Verde Minore by Giannaccini Alessandro

Runner-up: Clear the Room by Miguel Ramirez

3rd Place: Unheimliche Begegnung by Nicole Wachter

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


Scubaverse.com’s February 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

October 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: Lunchtime by Miguel Ramirez

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!


It is great to see our new website up and running and for the competition to be going strong. Here are a few of the images that caught my eye, and why.

Warty Yawn by Michael G: This is a good example of a close-up portrait, bordering on abstract. The colours are lovely against a black background and the detail really shows off the wonderful pattern of this iconic critter.

Birdzilla by Naomi Rose: Quite a privilege to be so close to such a beautiful wanderer of the skies. It is a super shot, just wished you’d got its feet in! Still a great shot.

Sleepy Peek by Naomi Rose: Super behaviour shot of one of the most sought-after subjects in the ocean.

Mighty Logger by Naomi Rose: Love the angle of this fella with good eye contact too. The sun rays against the blue background enhances the overall image.

Earthquake by Arnaud Guillebert: This image has the potential to be superb, with the suns rays and the blue negative space. It is just crying out for a subject against the blue. The diver, with legs akimbo, really doesn’t help.

Murène pointillée by Arnaud Guillebert: The lighting and black background make this image really stand out. I’m not sure the focus is quite sharp enough.

Humpback Whale by Benjamin Bersans: Lovely shot of an ocean giant. Sometimes the rear view of an animal works, like this does. Just a pity the fluke has been clipped.

Whats Up by Miguel Ramirez: Super portrait of a curious Hawksbill sat on a very dull sea bed. Eye contact works but its left eye needs a hint more light on it.

Blue Tones by Miguel Ramirez: I like the various blue shades of the animal against the red coral.

Lunchtime by Miguel Ramirez: Nicely captured image of a dolphin pod in blue, open water. The fish in the mouth of the nearest Bottlenose tells its own story and makes this a stand out behaviour shot. Lovely reflections too!

Mr Grumpy by Cedric Peneau: This is a classic close focus wide angle image with a stellar critter as its focus.

Microcosmos by Cedric Peneau: These amphipods make great subjects and the framing of it in the coral is excellent.

Tiny Gobi by Oksana Maksymova: This is very cleverly done. The use of focus (both in and out) creates a beautiful surreal effect of orange and white.

Manta and Reef by Cedric Peneau: This shot reminds us all that even when you have a non wide angle lens, you can still capture a good image of large animals. The red coral and blue water works really well together.

Ribbon Eel by Marc Eeckhaut: Notoriously difficult to capture a descent image, Marc has managed to do so in this shot. Sharp focusing and a bokeh background emphasize the subject.

Emperor Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut: These macro shots so a lot to reveal the wonders of the “mini world” that many of us love to explore.

Squid by Marc Eeckhaut: Nice angle and focus on the eye. Black backgrounds are easier to get on a night dive but it works well on this image.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Lunchtime by Miguel Ramirez

Runner-up: Mr Grumpy by Cedric Peneau

3rd Place: Tiny Gobi by Oksana Maksymova

Highly Commended: Birdzilla by Naomi Rose

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

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

Continue Reading

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

September 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

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

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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