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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

March 2016 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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

WINNER: Wesley Oosthuizen

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/the-ballet-of-sabellidae-2/

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!

March 2016

This month saw 34 entries into the competition and there were some lovely images. One of the toughest judging decisions is selecting the winner from both worthy macro and wide angle images.

Our favourites

Caroline

Tom St George’s sidemount cave diver is wonderfully lit with no overexposed areas on the cave walls, and makes me want to go diving there, which is a sign of a great diving photo.

Marcia Melton’s beautiful nudibranch, taken in Anilao, is lovely and sharp, with good use of Bokeh in the background.

Graham Owen’s diver at the prop is another shot that makes me want to be there – The Imperial Eagle in Malta

Cat Briggs’ images of the diver on Giannis D wreck is lovely. I really like the way the coral is lit so well, the diver positioning is good and you can just make out the wreck behind.

Wesley Oosthuizen’s shot of a feather-duster worm is gorgeous. The lighting is perfect and you can feel the current just by looking at this image. Super composition.

Jesse Alpert’s image of a school of scalloped hammerheads in the Galapagos Islands shows off these amazing sharks in silhouette, a shot that is getting rarer and rarer to get.

Sean Chin’s shark – so hard to get them head on like this, great texture in the sand and surface and the shark just pops out of the image.

Kate Jonker’s image of a school of big eyes caught my eye, because of the eye contact with these fish. If you see red – shoot it.

Christian Llewellyn’s BSA motorbike shot from the Thistlegorm is creative, using red off camera lighting. I love the way this red light comes through the spokes.

Caroline’s Top 4:

Christian’s motorbike; Graham’s Diver at the Prop; Sean’s Tiger Shark; Wesley’s Feather Duster Worm.

Nick

The motorbike on the Thistlegorm, by Christian Llewellyn, is a really nice shot and whilst it’s been done many times, the red backlighting and the white strobe lighting does give it a different feel. I think if the strobe lighting had been a bit softer, the rays coming off the spokes with the red light may have been more prominent and hence make the image even better.

I really love Wesley Oosthuizen’s shot of the feather duster worm. I think the spot lighting with a black background works really well and the feathers are beautifully clear.

Octopus by Pierluigi Peis – I think overall the lighting of the subject is excellent and the fact, the photographer has created the right angle to put the subject, against blue water works really well. However, the blurred foreground is all a bit too much of a distraction for my liking.

Jesse Alpert’s Hammerhead silhouette – classic shot taken looking up at a mass of hammerheads. Simple and effective, but a super shot.

Debbie Wallace’s balanced lighting shot of the shark against the Sun burst is really nicely done, but I’m distracted by the strange pose of the diver to the right of the image and the sun itself is overcooked.

Emeric DENIS’ Clownfish on the anemone – this is a nice image, but I’m distracted by the fussiness on the right hand side where the lionfish is hiding and the prominent lighting is coming from the right, when it should be coming from the left and illuminating the subject itself, the clownfish.

Michelle Taylor’s Shark and the fish burst – love this shot, although the silver fish are bit red due to the colour balance, but the composition is brilliant as the snappers disperse when the shark bursts through the middle of them.

David Niddam’s White frogfish – I love the angle on this one, but the eye is just not quite in focus. The image is slightly bull’s-eye, whereby the attempted focus of the subject is right in the middle of the image. I like the use of negative space and the way the image bokehs away from the focal point of the eye.

Graham Owen’s Diver at the prop – very nicely lit by strobes and the diver with the light. This balances the image cleverly as the diver is sitting in a good pose in the negative space.

Kate Jonker’s Clownfish in the bubble anemone – Everyone has a picture of a clownfish in an anemone, but I particularly like the way the subject was lit.

Cat Briggs’ Coral on the wreck with diver – the colour of the corals just pops out at you and the diver creates a really well balanced image. Personally, I would have cropped in just a tiny bit.

Sean Chin’s Tiger shark – super, head-on shot, which is difficult to capture; however, I think it would have been better had you brought the strobes higher up rather than illuminate the sand in front of you.

Kate Jonker’s Big Eyes shot on a dark black background – this is an almost brilliant shot of a really common subject. The angle, for me, is not quite right – it is a little bit tale dominant. I love the way they pop out from a black background, and whilst I think black backgrounds are being currently overused, the eye contact and colour make this a lovely image.

Kate Jonker’s Gobi on a whip coral – this image is well taken, and perfectly in focus. I just think that with a slight change of angle you may have led to the Gobi not been quite so buried in the coral. Yet another example of using black background to pop the subject.

Nick’s Top 4:

Cat’s Coral on the wreck with diver; Graham’s diver at the prop; Jesse’s hammerhead silhouette; Wesley’s feather duster.

Nick and Caroline go through the images separately and as you can see, whilst they agree broadly on the top 10 or so, when we get down to their favourite 4 images, only 2 make it into both their selections.

After much deliberations between our two judges….

Runner-up is Graham Owen with At the Prop (The prop of The Imperial Eagle in Malta. The Imperial Eagle served as a ferry amongst other things and was the sister ship to the Jacques Cousteau’s ship Calypso. It now rests at 46m and provides a fantastic dive site. The decks have largely rotted away leaving a skeletal wreck in places)

And the winner is…

The winner is Wesley Oosthuizen with The Ballet of Sabellidae (It’s always a pleasure to watch feather duster worms dance in tune with the motion of the water). Congratulations Wesley!

Both first and second place images stood out because of their great lighting.

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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