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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

May 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: 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.

Scubaverse.com’s June 2020 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

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

December 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: Squid Reflection by Cyril di Bisceglie

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:

Clownfish by MichaelG: I like this shot, largely because it is different. The purple fronds of the anemone and the clownfish looking at the camera against a black background create a unique perspective.

Gulp! by MichaelG: Interesting take on a feeding Whaleshark. It certainly works in monochrome.

Pink Kingdom by Oksana Maksymova: I love the lighting in this image. All the usual motion and action from the clownfish in the pink anemones. The black background adds to the isolation of the subjects.

With Escort by Oksana Maksymova: Nurse shark & trevallies captured on the flash create a lovely image.

Like King by Oksana Maksymova: Lovely portrait of this porcelain crab sat on a pink barrel sponge. The crab is pin-sharp in focus and I love the eyes. Good use of depth of field to bokeh the background too.

Eyes by Marc Eeckhaut: I love the eyes in this image, but they are somewhat lost in the messy background.

Pink Beauties by Marc Eeckhaut: This is a lovely shot, with the nudibranchs curled around to give the impression of movement. The colours are super and the dark, blurred background helps to isolate the subjects.

On the Blue Moon by Cedric Peneau: “See red, shoot against the blue” is a mantra amongst many underwater photographers. This is a great example of why it works.

UFO by Cedric Peneau: Lovelt shot of a comb jellyfish, in the blue against sunbeams. These are always fun to capture on a safety stop.

Harlequin by Cedric Peneau: What a lovely image. The colours leap out at you. I just hope that the subjects were not manipulated to get this shot.

Mum & Calf by Cyril di Bisceglie: I have spent may hours with the manatees of Crystal River. They make great subjects and love to get close to humans.

Galatea Crab by Riccardo Leoncini: It’s never easy trying to get an uncluttered shot of creatures that like to hide in cracks and crevices. This is nicely done and I love the yellow cup corals above the subject.

Squid Reflection by Cyril di Bisceglie: Lovely shot! It depicts movement and the fragmented reflection creates a super overall effect.

Night Shark Snorkelling by Cyril di Bisceglie: I love night diving with sharks, the opportunities for whale shark images against the night are numerous and the reflection in this image helps create the overall “melee” of sharks with two more below.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Squid Reflection by Cyril di Bisceglie

Runner-up: On the Blue Moon by Cedric Peneau

Third Place: Clownfish by MichaelG

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

Scubaverse.com’s January 2021 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

November 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

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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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