May 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Fangs by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez

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 a real tonic to see all your images during this lockdown era and it makes me want to jump right back in the water! I am sure you are all looking forward to going diving too, but in the meantime here is what I thought of this month’s images…

Need a Hand by Yatsun Chang. This is a nice portrait shot of a Boxer Crab, displaying and demonstrating the behaviour that has earned them their name. I love the detail on the face but, personally, I would have used a larger dof to capture the “gloves”.

The tough Guy by Yatsun Chang. Unusual lighting has created a really different image of this amazing ambush predator.

Crab in the Pink by Francesco Russo. Trying to get a decent image when the subject is so well camouflaged is never easy but this one works and it is helped to “stand-out” by the bokeh in the background, which is a different colour.

Potbelly Seahorse by Troy Cording. I like this shot, partly because it is done in a way I have never seen before. It is really difficult to frame a subject in such a small space, but this would have been even better if the seahorse had the blue around its head.

Juvenile Lionfish by Denis Timchenko. I love these black-water shots. I’ve tried it and it is so difficult, especially trying to get the focussing to work. This is nicely done.

Motherhood by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez. Most of us have a porcelain crab shot, but this is a great behaviour capture with the crab “nursing” its young. The black background and Bokeh help isolate the subject too.

Shyness by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez. I really like the framing and the angle that this was shot at. Another excellent use of bokeh and black to isolate the face of the subject.

Fangs by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez. The face of the subject is pin-sharp and the rest fades to bokeh or is black. Love it.

Magic of the Red Sea by Nuria Bufort Costa. I love the way this has been done. Lots of light on the corals at the stern and the models in silhouette. (I might have taken out the diver on the left).

Confident in my Camouflage by JoAnn Haack. There seems to be a theme this month. Great use of dof and the colours really work well, despite the camouflage.

After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Fangs by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez

Runner-up: Juvenile Lionfish by Denis Timchenko

3rd Place: Magic of the Red Sea by Nuria Bufort Costa

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