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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

November 2015 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR STUART PHILPOTT

WINNER: Dennis Emeric

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/time-to-eat/

Welcome to Scubaverse’s November competition results. Sadly there are not so many entrants as last month but there are still some striking shots, mainly of macro subjects this time round.

The first image is by Denis Emeric and is called ‘time to eat’. This shows a porcelain crab inside an anemone. The colours and detail on this macro image are superb. The crab’s right hand claw seems to dominate the image. I’m not 100% sure about the composition but otherwise a very nice shot and a clear contender for the no.1 spot.

Janice Nigro’s first image ‘anemone trampoline’ shows an anemone shrimp inside an anemone taken at Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.  Lembeh is supposedly one of the top places in the world for muck diving. I have yet to visit!

It’s really worth zooming in on this image just to see the amount of detail. I love Janice’s title for the shot, I can picture the little crab bouncing around on the anemone while Janice is trying to take focus her camera. Very frustrating by the sounds of it! I really like the vibrant colours – not so sure about the composition yet again though.

Janice Nigro’s second image ‘exposed’ has to be one of the best submissions this month. Thank you for the extra information on your camera settings and the description Janice, much appreciated. The image shows a blenny sitting on a closed up anemone (it’s a shame that the anemone is not open). Great colours and composition. I think this macro shot works very well.

Domenico Luzzi’s shot titled ‘spine cheeky’ shows an anemone fish next to a bubble tip anemone. Bubble tip anemones are my favourite anemones! I think the anemone fish is slightly lost on the reef background but it’s in focus and the colours are punchy. Maybe slightly too contrasty?

David Fletcher’ first entry called ‘a shared thought: I’m hungry’ shows a Mexican stand-off between diver and barracuda and a reasonably sized barracuda at that! I’m sure there used to be a diver in the Florida Keys that used to put a fish in his mouth and then a barracuda would fly in and snatch the fish. This doesn’t sound like a very bright idea. What if the barracuda missed?

David Fletcher’s second entry called ‘vivid blue’ shows a scrawled filefish. It looks as though David has just caught the fish as it’s bolting away. Not an easy fish to photograph. I often see them in pairs. I think David’s pictures would benefit from a strobe as there seems to be a lack of colour. I guess that’s why this shot’s called vivid blue!

David Fletcher’s third shot called ‘rank and file’ show’s a filefish on a reef off Cozumel in Mexico. I’m not a marine biologist David but I would say this is either a trumpet fish or a cornet fish. I really like the way that this fish inverts itself so it can blend in with the soft coral fronds. Trumpet fish are quite long so it’s difficult to get the whole fish in the frame which David has found out here.

The juvenile whaleshark in Simone Lipscomb’s image called ‘contact’ only looks about 2 or 3 metres long. I like the composition of photographer next to whaleshark. I also like the sun’s rays filtering through the water. The white looks a little over exposed but otherwise a good all round effort.

Well known contender Tam Warner Minton has sent in three entries this month (thanks for your support Tam). Tam’s first entry is simply called ‘Cozumel lobster’. The sand is so white in the image that it reminds me of snow. I’m obviously thinking too much about Christmas! The head and eyes are in focus. It’s difficult to get all of the tentacles in focus as they are so long.

At this time of year most of us are thinking about Christmas time so Tam Warner Minton’s next entry, simply titled ‘Christmas tree worms’, is quite apt.  I agree with Tam that the worms make great photo subjects and they come in a huge variety of vibrant colours. The trouble is it’s very difficult to get a clean shot without the main subject getting lost in the background.

Tam Warner Minton’s third shot called ‘bubble eating angel’ shows a section of a grey angel. This abstract view of the eye works quite well, maybe slightly out of focus but I like the fish scale pattern and the dash of the colour from the pectoral fin on an otherwise monochrome image.

Bryan Kerschner’s ‘going for breath’ shows a turtle in-flight heading for the surface to breathe. I like the way the turtle is swimming across the diagonals and the blue background makes the turtle’s shell pattern really stand out. It looks like a green turtle. I always find that green’s are more skittish than hawksbill’s which makes it more difficult for the photographer to get a front facing shot. It’s a shame that the turtle’s flipper is obscuring the face and eye.

Great colours on Jamie Wilkes nudi shot called ‘Aliwal shoal’. When I think of Aliwal Shoal near Durban in SA, it’s always about the big marine life encounters, not about the small stuff, so it’s good to see this kind of shot. The background is slightly disruptive but the nudibranch still manages to stand out.

Neil Owen’s ‘In the forest of the Gorgonian king’ (great title) shows a huge sea fan, which looks pretty healthy. You managed to get the whole gorgonian in the picture which is a plus point but it’s missing some marine life and some blue sea in the background. I guess you were quite shallow when you took the shot? It’s much easier to get a blue background on a deep wall. A diver or some orange Anthias would have added some more interest. Try and get the dive guide in the frame next time around!

Neil Owen’s ‘this is my rock’ shows a colourful upside down shrimp. I like the composition. The shrimp is the central subject with the reef overhang crossing the diagonal. It’s obviously a macro shot but it’s not macro enough if you get my meaning. I think you need to get closer Neil but I don’t know what camera or lens you are using? I would say a compact of some kind.

That’s a nice looking moray eel taken by Neil Owen called ‘all the better to eat you with’. There’s plenty of light illuminating the subject and it looks in focus. The backdrop could have been slightly more interesting and more contrasting but I guess most morays live on or around the reef so this is their standard pose. Giant morays always look menacing but I have never seen one get aggressive even with antagonistic photographers poking a camera in the way!

Thanks again for this month’s entries. Now that I’ve had a good look through the images and gone back over them twice more in finer detail I think Denis Emeric’s shot called ‘time to eat’ is the overall winner with Janice’s blenny shot coming a close second. The last photo competition of the year will close on December 25th, Christmas day, so get sifting through your hard drives. As well as a chance of winning the vivid-pix photo editing software don’t forget there is also a brand new set of Mares diving kit up for grabs if you win Photo of the Year.

Scubaverse.com’s December 2015 Photo Contest is now open! Enter here.

Stuart has spent the past 26 years taking pictures and writing stories for diving magazines and other publications. In fact, this equates to more than a year of his life spent underwater. There have been plenty of exciting moments from close encounters with crocodiles and sharks to exploration of deep wrecks and more recently rebreathers. He lives in Poole, Dorset and is very much an advocate of UK diving.

Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

November 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:

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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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.

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