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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

June 2016 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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Underwater Photo Contest

WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS NICK & CAROLINE ROBERTSON-BROWN

WINNER: Hunting at Dusk by Marcus Blatchford

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/hunting-at-dusk/

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!

June 2016

Nick

There were 54 entries this month, and the overall quality was amazing. I am on my own this month as Caroline is enjoying herself diving in South Africa, but I have tried to critique all the images that worked for me. Please do not feel put-off if your image has not been selected for critique – it is all subjective and these are my choices without any input from Caroline. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Playful Sealion by Ashton East – This is a lovely shot, especially with the “bubble vortices” leaving a trail in the water. I would have zoomed/cropped in a bit to accentuate the sealion, but still, a good effort.

Manta & Jack Dancing by Hayley Eaude – super shot of an amazing creature, and not always easy with a compact. I know the jack makes a story but it sort of creates a distraction and would be interested to see the jack removed.

Spiny starfish by Matthew Boa – This is a really nice example of a close up that is not quite an abstract. The lighting works really well to show the colours.

Hawkeye by Christian Llewellyn  – Close-up fish-head shots work really well when they are done well – and this one by Christian is done well. A portrait in profile.

Lone Diver by Christian Llewellyn  – Monochrome is so often over-used, especially for wrecks, but this one works. I particularly like the dive light coming out of the gloom.

Crab with anemone by Guy Mitchell  – This is a really interesting subject – these guys will put any hat on if it helps make them invisible. It could do with more lighting on its face and the backscatter is somewhat distracting.

Lionfish in the sha llows, again by Guy – This shot really shows the subject in its environment (or one of them) and creates a pleasing look. It is just a bit far away and too central (bullseyed) for me, though.

Juvenile Sweetlips by Huub van der Ligt – these little fellas are very tricky to get the right angle on but you have nailed it and I love the bocah that is the background.

Green Turtle by Dawn Clerkson – Really good angle on this turtle but I suspect you only used one strobe. I would have liked the dominant light from the right but it is still a lovely shot.

Blue Ringed Octopus by Angelo Strazzi – A difficult subject to spot and to get a decent angle on. It has all worked in this image and the black background almost brings the subject to life.

Home by Mathew Watts – This shot has been really well done with the light focused on the subject yet its environment has been included without being intrusive. Indeed, its surroundings are paramount to the whole effect.

Dondice banyulensis by Leonidas Stavrou – I love the colour co-ordination in this image. Personally I would have liked to see it taken more on a level with the subject but the colour and lighting are lovely.

Sunset Lemon by Sean Chinn – “When life gives you lemons” and one strobe isn’t working, you use failing sunlight and create contrast that pops the Lemon right out of the page. I am a fan of these sharks too.

White Dragon by Cinzia Bismark – Colour, great use of depth of field and negative space. I would have brought the highlights down on the moray’s body but the side lighting does give depth.

Ray of Lights by Cinzia Bismark – This is one of those shots where some of the rules have been ignored yet the result is just super. I don’t know what shutter speed you used but if you had been able to ramp it up some, then the shards of light would have been sharper and the image even better. I would have liked a diver, set back in the blue with a light, but it still works.

Outrageous Pink by Ben Rodriguez – Great use of depth of field with the blurry background and its left rhinophore clearly the focal point.

Chomodoris Wilani by David Niddam – The small depth of field in this nudi portrait works really well and the rhinophores are pin-sharp. Lots of subtle colours in the negative space work too. It is just a shame that the light has missed the very front of the critter.

Amazing little Gobi by Christopher Chong Hon Hin – This is another lovely shot using depth of field to bring the subject out of the frame. I love the way the sponge gets sharper as your eye moves towards the gobi.

Leap of Faith by Marcus Blatchford – This is another monochrome that works. The diver looks as if he/she has just made that leap and the composition is really pleasing. I love the way that the boat looks as though it is sailing out of fog.

Electric ray and sea turtle by Arshal Shoshani – I love the composition and subjects in this image but the “solarisation” of the Sun around the turtle is just too pronounced. Still a super shot though.

Hunting at Dusk by Marcus Blatchford – Super image; I love the composition and lighting with the silhouette of the boat behind.

The Flatworm is Dancing by Laura Giavardi – Beautifully presented and the black background works really well. The front of the worm is pin sharp and it bocahs gently along its length.

Christmas Tree Worm by Sukhdev Singh – This is a really nice example of a subject nearly all of us have taken. The angle is perfect and it brings the blue right out of the screen.

Nicola Sturgeon by Paul Ansell – Another monochrome image that works. The silver scales of the fish contrast superbly with the dark background.

And the winner is…

Hunting at Dusk by Marcus Blatchford.

I would place Sunset Lemon by Sean Chinn in second place and Chromodoris Willani by David Niddam 3rd. Congratulations to all three of you.

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

November 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:

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!


Here are a few of the images that caught my eye, and why.

Kittiwake Stern by MichaelG: I didn’t really know what to make of this. There is loads of contrast between light and shadows, and it certainly is atmospheric. I like it, although I would have brought up the shadows a bit for a little more definition. But that is my take, it works as it is.

Between Two Worlds by Cedric Peneau: This is a beautiful split shot! The darker clouds coming in from the left dive a great atmosphere to this wonderfully taken image.

The Herd by Cedric Peneau: Everything but the main subject is moving diagonally across the image and the balance between ambient and artificial light is perfect. Cool shot.

Bernard the Hermit by Divelions: Lots to like about this portrait show of a hermit crab in its surroundings. Blue and reds always work and it looks like “Bernard” is sat in a toadstool field!

Jellyfish in Sunshine by Divelions: These shots are more difficult to capture than one would think. The balance between ambient and natural light has helped nail it.

Anemone’s Crab by Divelions: It is always difficult to create a decent image of a camouflaged subject as there tends to be little or no contrast. This works and the depth of field if just right to highlight the subject.

Curious Booby by MichaelG: The booby is a comical creature on land but this image totally captures that goofy expression in a very unusual image.

Under the Jetty by Marc Eekhaut: Whenever I take this kind of image there is always one character going the wrong way. I really like the lighting on the shoal and the light shards from the sun in the background.

Creative by Marc Eekhaut: I always find it so difficult to get there pipefish in focus. I love the bright colours against a black background.

Peaceful Encounter by Benjamin Bersans: Gorgeous take on a beautiful subject diagonally across the image. The underside of the water’s surface makes for great framing and the fluke gives the indication of motion.

Leon’s Motu with Shark by Benjamin Bersans: This is a really unusual split shot. It’s a snapshot of life on a tropical island. I think it would have been even better if you could have brought the camera a few centimeters lower in the water so you could see more of the subject.

Frog Reflection by Cyril di Bisceglie: Wonderful in its simplicity. A frog and its reflection at the surface. Black background and a blue Snell’s Window. Lovely.

The New Teeth of the Sea by Cyril di Bisceglie: Great “impact” shot of a predator against a black background. The reflection helps the overall impression too. I like the fact that the single (or dominant) light from the right creates event more contrast.

Octopus Walk by Cyril di Bisceglie: What a super split shot showing off octopus behaviour. The natural lighting works really well in the shallows and the dappled lighting on the sand gives an appearance of texture.

Rubberlips from Mayotte by Arnaud Guillebert: I think it is the lighting bringing out the yellow in the faces of these creatures that makes this stand out. Nicely done.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Curious Booby by MichaelG

Runner-up: Frog Reflection by Cyril di Bisceglie

Third Place: Creative by Marc Eekhaut

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

Scubaverse.com’s December 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

October 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

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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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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