March 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Peacock Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut

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 has been a strange month, and I know that many of you may not be able to dive at the moment. But that makes it a great time to sit and review and edit your underwater images that you never got round to. I look forward to seeing them in the April competition! As there were fewer entries than normal I have managed to comment on them all…

The dark side of the moon by Nicola Jaeger. This is a nice shot of a rarely seen animal. I love the angle and the dof is just about right (for me). It is tricky to get everything in the frame that you want, with a standard short lens, but if you had just pointed the camera a fraction to the right then the edge would not have been clipped.

Start of a long/ocean journey by Kayleigh Hyslop. These two images are the same shot but one has had the flotsam photo-shopped out. I am not a fan of rear end shots (although sometimes they can be stunning) but I see the storyline here of a baby turtle starting out on life’s journey. I love the reflection.

Full of eggs by Miguel Ramirez. This is a profile behaviour shots which has been well-taken. Dof is just right and it is well lit.

Blue electric by Miguel Ramirez. The colours and shape of the eel against a black background really works well and both eyes are visible too. It is a shame that the yellow top of the subject has been clipped when there is room to lose some of the lower frame.

Angry fish by Miguel Ramirez. Love this head-on Surgeon fish against black. Nicely executed and I do like the tail “movement”.

Baby saddleback anemone fish by Pauline Walsh Jacobson. Composition! This would work a little better if you cropped in on the subject, Pauline.

Pygmy Seahorse by Pauline Walsh Jacobson. These critters are great subjects but a nightmare to find and get to focus on them. It is a nice shot but would have worked even better if you had managed to isolate the subject against the black’ and this would have framed it too. Easier said than done, I know.

Zebra Crab by Pauline Walsh Jacobson. Nice shot, I have one that is very similar. I love the colours and particularly their contrast. The subject is engaging the photographer, or the other way round, and the overall image is very pleasing.

Bubble Boy by Rick Allen. I’ve not seen anything like this before and I really like it. Breaks a lot of “rules” but still works. Interesting.

Peacock Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut. Lovely capture with great lighting against a black background. They really are the most photogenic critters, if you can get them to stay still for long enough.

Sexy Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut. The use of a snoot is usually fraught with problems but I love the way you have used it to isolate the subject and frame it in the coral.

Moray Portrait by Marc Eeckhaut. Nicely done by Marc, but a shame the moray’s lower jaw has been clipped.

Angel shark by Paul Cannon. Unusual subject and difficult to frame the shot you want as they tend to hug the bottom. It works really well as an identity shot.

Moray by Paul Cannon. Morays are such difficult beasts to capture a good image of. Like in this image, they look out at you from their hole which creates a messy background. If you can get one with its head sticking out and blue behind it….

Moray and shrimp by Cedric Peneau. Nicely done, Morays usually back away when they are being cleaned and a diver approaches. Good to have blacked out any messy background.

The encounter by Cedric Peneau. This is a lovely ‘story-telling’ image with two of the ocean’s giants, a mother and calf, performing in front of a photographer. Nicely captured.

Microcosmos by Cedric Peneau. Superb macro shot, beautifully framed and lit. Shots/images like this transport me to another world.

After much deliberation by our judge….

What a month – great images made this a really tough month to judge…

The results

Winner: Peacock Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut

Runner-up: Angry fish by Miguel Ramirez

3rd Place: Moray and shrimp by Cedric Peneau

Congratulations to those who were placed – some really nice images here, and well done to all those that entered.’s April 2020 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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