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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 Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

June 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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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.

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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

May 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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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.

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