March 2019 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Cowrie Allies by Oksana Maksymova

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!

March 2019

Not so many entries this month, but still some great images to select from. Here are the ones I have selected to discuss this month:

My Favourites

Diver find a yawning frogfish by Jack Pokoj:I like the idea behind this shot and the composition is excellent. I just feel that it is too wide-angle to allow the main subject to be seen clearly.

Portrait of a favourite tsuruganus nudibranch by Jack Pokoj: This is a super picture of a nudibranch head-on. The small depth of field works well.

Bumble Bee Shrimp by Jack Pokoj: I love this bumble bee shrimp and the small depth of field created lovely pink bokeh that helps the subject stand out.

Nubranch Doto ussi laying eggs by Oksana Maksymova: I love the curve of this nudibranch which has been isolated against a black background to create the contrast on a monochrome subject. I would have like to see the colour version, which is part of a nudibranch’s appeal.

Cowrie Allies by Oksana Maksymova: This image is eye-catching and well executed. The vivid pink against black works well.

Outlook by Marc Eeckhaut: The subject has been perfectly captured on the anemone, with eye-contact and bokeh in the background.

Baby Face by Dave Peak: This is an excellent capture of one of these most curious of sharks. The detail in the nose is wonderful.

Bottlenose Dolphins by Kenneth Gillies: This is one of those shots that captures a very special moment underwater. It is always a privilege to be greeted by dolphins underwater and this shot captures that magic.

Refuge in Refuse by Jill Smith: This is a lovely image that isn’t always easy to get right. This works well but I think I would have lost some of the negative space by making it a portrait shot.

I’m Shy by Daryll Rivett: This is a well executed behaviour shot. I like the shadows, but a second light to soften them may have helped, although it may not have stood out so well.

After much deliberation by our judge….

There were some good shots this month and it is always tough to choose. There were lots of good shots and it was hard to pick the top three… but the results are:

Winner: Cowrie Allies by Oksana Maksymova

Runner-Up: Bumble Bee Shrimp by Jack Pokoj

Third: Baby Face by Dave Peak

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 April has to offer.’s April 2019 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit

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