November 2016 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Humpback Whale Calf by Cedric Peneau


When judging any underwater photography competition, the first thing we do is ask of each image: Is it in focus? The main subject has to be pin sharp. Is it exposed correctly?

We 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 we 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 us both go wow – I wish I had taken that!

November 2016

We have not had a huge number of entries this month. We know that there were some issues with the upload site for which we apologise. We also suspect that many might have seen the amazing entries that have been uploaded and maybe decided against entering this month. Whatever the reasons, we still had our work cut out for us, as the quality, if not quantity, was amazing!

Our favourites


In my top selection of images this month are:

Dawn Thomas’ Sulawesi Seahorse is a lovely shot. Simple and well executed.

Matthew Arden’s Starlit Squid is a striking image. Lovely reflection and colours.

Cedric Peneau’s Humpback Whale Calf is a gorgeous shot. Movement, Eye contact, a great subject at the surface – I would have loved to have taken this shot.

Cedric’s Roaring Moray Eel is also excellent. Great focus, lovely subject and behaviour and a black background to make the subject pop out in the middle of the frame. Great stuff.


Yo-Han Cha’s Grey Seal taken in the Farne Islands is gorgeous. Nice encounter and I like the black background, but the subject needed a little more light.

Paul Ansell’s Hope He Hasn’t is a super pipefish shot with eyes in pin-sharp focus. Its camouflage works, as the body is lost into the background.

Matthre Arden’s cuttlefish at the surface is stunning. The reflection on the gently broken surface and the black background really make this pop out. I would have tried a larger DoF I think. The pattern on the body is superb.

Renata Romeo’s Gone with the Current is beautifully lit and the colours are lovely. I think this is one of those shots that needs something filling the negative space but it is still a great capture.

Cedric Peneau’s Humpback Calf is a super shot. One has to be there to get this, but I can almost feel the slap of the tail as it dives into the clean blue background.

Cedric Peneau’s Moray Eel shot I also love. It is really unusual to see the mouth like this and he has captured both eyes perfectly.

After much deliberations between our two judges….

Whilst we only had 16 images to judge this month, there was still lots of discussion. There were lots of very good shots, with a handful picked out by both of us to mull over. The winner was a standout photo that both of us agreed immediately should get the top spot.

Winner:  Cedric Peneau’s Humpback Calf

Runner-Up: Matthew Arden’s Starlit Squid

3rd Place: Dawn Thomas’ Sulawesi Seahorse

Keep your best shots coming in. There is only one more chance of being in with a chance of the 2016 grand prize.’s December 2016 Photo Contest is now live! Click here to enter.

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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