WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR NICK ROBERTSON-BROWN
WINNER: Thorny Seahorse by Shadi Hatoky
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!
We had a lots of entries with a great range of both macro and wide angle subjects this month, here are the ones I have picked out for comment:
Pika, Pika, Pikachu by Sofia Tenggrono: It’s quite hard to see what is going on in this image, but the fading depth of field and totally blurred background creates a nicely framed images with contrasting colours.
Do small things with great love by Sofia Tenggrono: Pin-sharp focussing on this tiny cretter helps to make this image truly eye-catching. The small depth of field really helps make the image pop out.
Thorny Seahorse by Shadi Hatoky: It can be difficult to capture a good image of a seahorse, this this shot is a lovely profile with an interesting background that does not detract anything from the subject.
Hello Yellow by Tanya Lister: Another seahorse shot and this one works really well with yellow against black. Eye-level and eye-contact help to draw in the viewer.
Barbas by Aldo Galante: Poor guy! Not sure what has happened to it but I love the yellow against black and the double eye-contact.
Yellow Cloves Coral by Markus Schmidt: More yellow on black! This is a great example on how a simple subject can be used to create a stunning image.
An eagles point of view by Patric Lengacher: This image is worth a mention for its originality. I think more light on the masthead to bring out the colour would have enhanced it.
Goby by David Paris: Lovely lighting against a black background makes this image. The “smiling” faces of blennies and gobies are always endearing.
Eclipse by Miguel Ramirez: A silhouette against the sun always appears easier to capture than it is in practice. This is well executed with sunbeams dispersing all around the subject.
Watching by Marc Eeckhaut: This shot of an urchin shrimp is beautifully executed with the urchin’s spines turning to bokeh in the negative space they have created.
Hairy Frogfish by Jack Pokoj: These amazing animals always make great subjects. Shot against a black background and the dominant light on the right all help to create depth to the image. The blue eye just tops-off the image.
The Smile by David: Head-on, at eye level, this is a super close-up shot of an ambush predator.
Blenny in Sponge by Alexander C Allgayer: This is a cute close-up of a subject that is in a difficult position to get the right light on it. I love the red circular frame and the catchlight in the eye.
The Caring by Renata Romeo: I have seen numerous damselfish eggs underwater, but never on a chain. The composition, with damselfish overseeing the eggs against a bokeh background works really well.
After much deliberation by our judge….
There were so many great shots to select from this month it made judging very tough indeed. Well done to all those that entered and sorry I could not comment on every image.
Winner: Thorny Seahorse by Shadi Hatoky
Runner-up: The Caring by Renata Romeo:
Joint 3rd place: Eclipse by Miguel Ramirez
Joint 3rd place: Hairy Frogfish by Jack Pokoj
Congratulations to the those who were placed – some really nice, mostly macro, images here, and well done to all those that entered. I cannot wait to see what August has to offer.
Scubaverse.com’s August 2019 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.