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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

July 2015 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR STUART PHILPOTT

WINNER: HMS Southwold by Julian Goffin

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/frogfish-reflection/

I apologise for the slight delay in announcing this month’s results. I have been away in the Med working on a filming assignment for Maltese television. Three very long, hot sweaty days but it was good to take a trip down memory lane and dive at all the old favourites on Malta, Gozo and Comino.

I’m now settled in front of my computer screen with a glass of Pinot Grigio in hand, ready to judge this month’s photo competition; and don’t worry, the wine won’t affect my decision making – well, not until I’ve finished the third glass!

It’s a shame that there are only 15 entries in this month’s competition. I hope I haven’t scared anyone away with my comments. Anyway, here goes….

The first entry Aliwal Shoal by Kael Pace has plenty of action with at least 10 black tips in the composition flying about all over the place. I have been to Aliwal Shoal in South Africa and know what it’s like to be in the thick of it. I spent 2 weeks with black tips and tiger sharks on baited dives. It’s very difficult to get a ‘clean’ picture in these conditions but in this instance Kael has got 2 black tips in the foreground looking directly at the camera, nice shot.

Anemone fish have to be the most popular macro subject in the world. They always stay very close to their anemone hosts which makes them easier to capture in the camera frame. Although getting an in-focus shot with the fish looking out of the anemone can be tricky. I have often spent the whole dive taking shots of one anemone fish trying to get the ‘just right’ composition! Arthur Borges’ Scar Clown Face is a great shot and is perfectly in focus. I really like the colours. I’m not sure if the picture has been cropped but having the fish to one side of the frame works well.

The Green eyes on a Red Shrimp, again taken by Arthur Borges, is another great macro composition. I like the dark area across the centre of the image (rule of thirds works well) with the shrimp sitting inside. It’s a shame the shrimp isn’t facing towards the lens like Arthur’s anemone fish shot but nonetheless it’s very effective. I was in Belize a couple of months ago and there seemed to be a large amount of nurse sharks and turtles around and they were coming in very close!

Arthur has submitted a third picture, Blenney Blenney, taken in Bonaire. You really do seem to be visiting some fantastic locations Arthur. Good composition and the eye is perfectly in focus. If I have any comments to make it has to be that there’s maybe a bit too much shadow below the head. Can you crop the image slightly? Just to get rid of some of the dead space? Otherwise, very good effort.

RC Smith’s Cozumel Snail show’s a crab popping out of its shell. The blue eye stalks really do stand out.

RC Smith’s second entry, let’s hide here, shows two grey angels ducking behind a coral branch, which in this case, is the only place to hide on an otherwise barren sandy seabed. I really like the composition. Maybe it could do with some more colour? Do you use any external strobes? This looks to be just ambient lighting with some white balance adjustments.

RC Smith’s third entry shows a hawksbill turtle coming towards the camera. The shot has been taken from an interesting angle, slightly above. Unfortunately the turtle’s eyes can’t be seen. Showing the eyes is always important.

I really like Duncan Scobie’s Transparency composition. The jellyfish looks like a spaceship taking off from a lunar landscape, very effective. Duncan has also managed to highlight all of the jelly’s internal features. In my mind this image works well and was a close runner-up.

Mat Howell’s Sardine Cloak is very atmospheric. It has all the makings of a very good composition. Considering Mat only had a basic camera he has done really well. With some external lighting and different aperture settings who knows what the result would look like!

Thanks Andy Kent for your Minke Whale shot off the Isle of Muck in Scotland. It’s always great to see whales off the UK coast. I hope you managed to capture the basking sharks? Where are the pictures???

Julian Goffin’s black and white image of HMS Southwold has to be my winner for this month. The reason for my selection is the fact that Julian is in around 70 metres of water so technically this is a difficult shot to get. Julian has shown an identifiable feature of the wreck i.e. the deck guns and there is also a diver in the frame to give it some perspective. I have never been on the Southwold before but hope to do so later this year on a return trip to Malta. The shot could definitely be improved by repositioning the diver, getting the diver to use a torch, take the shot from a different angle, maybe closer to the gun barrels but at 70m it’s a really good effort.

Julian’s eight legged friend entry could be misinterpreted. Marine life interaction shots are very tricky to publish in magazines. Did the octopus touch the divers hand or did the diver touch the octopus? I have just come back from Malta and unfortunately didn’t see an octopus during my trip. This would have looked very nice on my film, although I did see moray eels, sting rays and grouper to name but a few species.

Emma Hoffman’s green turtle relaxing on the reef entry is a really nice composition, the colours are great – what camera are you using Emma? I like the way the turtle is in a head up position. Maybe the shot could have been taken slightly closer?

Emma’s second entry, eye spy an eel, which is again from Florida Keys, shows a big green moray underneath a ledge illuminated by a torch beam. Slightly closer would have been better but maybe this wasn’t possible as the moray was under a ledge. An open mouth shot would also give it the extra wow factor.

Emma’s third entry just keep swimming is another very good turtle composition. Is it the same green turtle? I really like the colours and it’s nice to see the seafans in the background. Shame it’s not a head on shot but I’m guessing that this turtle didn’t stick around to play with you.

Thank you for this month’s entries. I really enjoy looking at all your pictures and I promise that the wine didn’t affect my choice! I’ll stick to ginger beer next time around! Hopefully we will get a few more entries in August’s competition. If I can help with any problems you are having with cameras, housings or underwater photography please send me an email. If I can help I will, if I don’t know the answer to your question I will pass you over to someone in the trade that can.

Stuart has spent the past 26 years taking pictures and writing stories for diving magazines and other publications. In fact, this equates to more than a year of his life spent underwater. There have been plenty of exciting moments from close encounters with crocodiles and sharks to exploration of deep wrecks and more recently rebreathers. He lives in Poole, Dorset and is very much an advocate of UK diving.

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.

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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.

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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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