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Winners - Underwater Photography Contests

September 2017 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS NICK & CAROLINE ROBERTSON-BROWN

WINNER: Little Octopus by Chun Zhou

PHOTOLINK: https://www.scubaverse.com/contestants/little-octopus-blackwater/

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!

September 2017

September saw competition entries increase again, and some amazing images entered too. There was also no let-up on the excellent quality of the photos you have sent in. Here are our thoughts on some of our favourites from September.

Our Favourites

Caroline

Eyes by Jonny Haugstad: Really lovely use of Bokeh on close up of a flounder.

Fishing by Jonny Haugstad: another lovely macro shot from Jonny. This time I like the delicate lighting.

Pink Squat Lobster by Alexis Logier: Lovely pin-sharp focus on the eyes of this amazing subject, really good detail.

Little Octopus in the blackwater by ChunZhou: Wonderful black water shot of a tiny octopus catching prey. Outstanding shot that even has some eye contact. This is a difficult shot to get and has been done superbly. Stunning shot!

White Teeth by Mark Chivers: Lovely head on shot of a great white shark. It really shows the bulk of these impressive sharks. Both eyes and all fins in shot, and a nice toothy grin – well done!

Scotland’s Finest by Chris Knight: Great Basking Shark shot. I really like the angle the shark is moving across the frame and that the whole shark is in shot – which is not easy with these creatures which are often shot in poor vis.

Great Hammer Shadow by Chris Knight: another great image by Chris, this time of a hammerhead shark. Chris has managed the bright light and reflective sand really well in the shot – another difficult one, well executed.

Blue Moon by Chris Knight: Wow – Chris has entered 3 fabulous images this month, but I think this might be my favourite. Whilst I would not usually recommend shooting a fish’s bum, sometimes it can work to great effect, and this shot shows that. Great light, wonderful atmosphere….just perfect!

Harlequin Shrimp by I Wayan Sunatra: With a compact camera, this is a lovely shot of a difficult subject in what looks like it’s natural habitat. Getting both to be head on the to the camera is great.

Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse by I Wayan Sunatra: Another great macro shot using the Olympus TG4 basic underwater setup. Lovely focus and colours.

Let’s Dance by M. Guillerm: A simple but beautiful shot. Lovely depth of field and gentle lighting.

Big Gulp by Sean Steininger: I love the motion of the water being sucked into the Whaleshark’s mouth in this shot.

Nick

Eyes, by Jonny Haugstad, is an excellent example of how to isolate a part of a subject when it is camouflaged. The use of a really small dof really gives the eye prominence with everything else in bokeh.

Fishing, again by Jonny Haugstad, is a lovely clean capture of a porcelain crab with its filters wide open to try and catch food. Nice behaviour shot.

Hiding in the fan by Craig Simpson is a great use of contrasting colours and a co-ordinated background. Notoriously difficult to get close to, long nosed hawkfish can be gone just before you press the shutter.

Lovely lip by Chun Zhou is really nicely done. Every macro photographer that has dived this region will have a shot of one of these delicate, photophobic creatures, but this one is particularly good against a black background, popping it into prominence in the frame.

Little octopus in the blackwater, again by Chun Zhou, is just that, a blue octopus isolated against black. Personally, and it is all subjective, I would have liked a bigger dof so its prey was also in focus.

White teeth, by Mark Chivers, is a lovely take on head-on shark. It shows the shark’s behaviour with the pectorals in the down position, which usually means it is time to move away. Nice capture.

I really like the angle of this basking shark by Chris Knight called Scotland’s finest. Most baskers are shot head-on or from the side and this angle has lovely perspective.

The hammerhead in Bimini, again by Chris Knight, is a good example of a balanced light shot, using strobe for the subject and shooting into the sun.

Blue Moon by Chris Knight – what a beautiful shot. I always tell my students to avoid taking shots of the rear-ends of fish but sometimes it works, and wow this really does work!

A lovely play with monochrome and colour in the editing room, this shot called “underwater art” by Elmar Junger is really eye-catching and I love the way that the small dof has just left the colour as the centre of focus.

Harlequin Shrimp at Talumben, Bali by I Wayan Sunarta just shows what great quality you can get from a compact and internal flash. Well done.

Barbgibanti Pygmy Seahorse, also by I Wayan Sunarta, is another example of how to use bokeh and a black background to isolate the subject and really make it pop. Lovely shot.

I really love the lighting on this “Marbled Stingray” shot by Marc Eekhaut. It is another shot using a compact and again it shows just what can be achieved with one.

The “Soft Coral” shot by Hatem Sanyeldin is wonderful in its simplicity. A close-focus wide angle shot that has isolated the red coral, and got a super colour contrast with the blue background. Shame the diver’s legs aren’t positioned better.

I love this shot of a “Photobombing Angelfish” by Jeremy Smith. Intrigued to know what it was bombing but the bokeh in front of its face has isolated the subject nicely.

Walk Tall by Sean Steininger is a lovely shot of a coconut octopus that really captures its character. I am sure I have seen this before, but it still works.

Ear to Ear by Sean Steininger is a lovely capture of one of nature’s finest creatures. It has the “rule of thirds”, a diagonal and a curve- all components of good shot. It works.

After much deliberations between our two judges….

Once again, we were amazed by the diversity and quality of the images this month. In both macro and wide angle, taken with a range of cameras, there were fantastic shots. This was a really tough month to pick the winners and runners-up. First and second place really are outstanding and were very hard to separate. But after much deliberation, here they are:

Winner: Little Octopus in the clackwater by ChunZhou

Runner-Up: Blue Moon by Chris Knight

Third Place: Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse by I Wayan Sunatra

Congratulations to the those that were placed – some truly amazing images here, and to all those that entered. Keep the images coming and we look forward to seeing more in October.

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Scubaverse.com’s October 2017 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

March 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

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WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR NICK ROBERTSON-BROWN

WINNER: Mimic by Christian Horras

Wow! Another bumper month with incredible images, both macro and wide angle, from all around the world. 

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!


Alas I cannot discuss each and every image but here are a few that caught my eye and why:

Glossodoris sp. “Rhinopore” by Moby Duarte: Smashing image of a beautiful nudibranch with the rhinophores in pin-sharp focus. The angle is perfect, with the camera at “eye-level”. The low depth of field and the black background all add to this lovely image.

Caddis fly larva (Phryganea sp.): A subject I have not seen before, and a new species is always a bonus when judging a photo competition. Lovely detail in sharp focus including both subject and its environment.

Let’s play! by Ben VERDEILLE: What a lovely moment captures here. A sealion getting ready to play with the photographer using an unfortunate seastar as a toy.

Blue Shark by Mariamillgate: Such beautiful sharks. lovely image capturing motion and eye-contact.

Face to face by Giacomo Antonio Rossi: Lovely image of a Blue Shark interacting with a freediving photographer.

On the Edge by Patricia Pat A Sinclair: A gorgeous nudi just reaching the very edge of its domain. Lots of negative space allowing room for us to imagine the path it might take.

School of Batfish by Zaflee Bin Md Suibarek: Lovely batfish image with the sunburst on the surface really enhancing the shot. Subtle lighting and with one batfish looking at the camera, this is lovely.

Hauling the net by Atle Ove Martinussen: An excellent split shot with good focus both above and blow the water line. Just a little too much left hand strobe, which could be fixed in post-edit. An engaging shot nonetheless.

Nudi in the dark by Atle Ove Martinussen: Lovely colours that pop out of the screen. Just needed a bit more room on the right hand side.

Nice surprise under the boat by Raffaele: Nice composition with the anemonefish, diver and the dive boat up above. I would have cropped out the unlit part of the anemone at the bottom of the frame I think.

Stage fright by Suliman A: A nice protrait of a hermit crab. The black background really helps make is stand out.

Montenegro Jaz beach night dive by Nikola Doder: Lovely pin-shark focus on the eyes. Great use of depth of field. Good image.

Geometric perfection by Alexandre Despras: Lovely shot. Simple yet stunning. Letting the natural form be the star.

Hypselodoris tryoni at lunch by Louis Costes: Wow – so many good nudi shots this month and this one stands out due to the lovely blue background and the subject in focus popping out.

Anker’s Whip Coral Shrimp by Marc Eeckhaut: Lovely diagonal, lovely bokeh background with the two shrimps in perfect position.

Turtle Silhouette by MichaelG: Simple yet super, black vignetting, the blue inner circle and the silhouette of the turtle against the blue. Lovely.

Baby Grouper by Carolina Marcias: Lovely expression on this grouper portrait. Both eyes in view and engaging with the photographer.

The Devil by Sylvain Corbel: A very dramatic fish portrait. Lovely eye-contact. Super isolation of the subject.

Longimanus by Christian Horras: Oceanic Whitetip Shark with sun rays coming down from above. Stunning.

Mimic by Christian Horras: This image really stands out from the crowd. The eyes of the octopus against the bokeh background is simple yet stunning. The way the animals just seems to melt into its environment is amazing. Well done for taking the shot so low to the ground – it makes all the difference.

A white among the reds by Bruno Labins: I really like this image. The blue background with the school of red (and one white) fish really works well. The fact that they are swimming towards the photographer is great.

Coming towards me with his accolytes by Bruno Labins: Another stunning image. Balanced light, swimming towards the viewer, three fins on display – smashing shot.

Walking upside down by Lorenzo Zacchetti: A very interesting behaviour captured by this image. Lovely reflection too.

Manta Rays’ dance in the blue of the Indian Ocean by Oksana Maksymova: What a moment – to have three mantas lining up to swim right past you. Lovey image.

Sunrise at the end of a Belgian winter dive by Kristof Goovaerts: Super diver portrait. The sunlight on the surface above, the divers eyes well lit (which in a black skirted mask can be difficult)


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Mimic by Christian Horras

Runner-up: Coming towards me with his accolytes by Bruno Labins

Third Place: Glossodoris sp. “Rhinopore” by Moby Duarte

Highly Commended: The Devil by Sylvain Corbel

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

Scubaverse.com’s April 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

February 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review

Published

on

WINNER CHOSEN AND REVIEW BY SCUBAVERSE.COM’S UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR NICK ROBERTSON-BROWN

WINNER: Sepiola in motion by Yann Toso

Wow! Another bumper month with incredible images, both macro and wide angle, from all around the world. 

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!


Alas I cannot discuss each and every image but here are a few that caught my eye and why:

Mars Attacks by Pietro Cremone: A great title for a super blackwater shot. I might have cropped  in a little I think and reduced the negative space just a touch. A difficult subject captured very well.

Predation by Pietro Cremone: Amazing behaviour shot of a squid feeding at night. Bravo!

From the Below by Raffaele: Stunning Manta at night shot. Time the shot just right to get a lovely pose and the lighting from the boat above illuminating the underside of the manta.

Mobulas of Misool by Patricia Dusman: A striking high key image of mobulas swimming under a bait ball. Very creative and an image that really catches the eye. Another excellent image.

Lembeh Nudibranch by Patricia Dusman: Lovely depth of field on this nudibranch shot. The blurred background really makes the head and especially the rhinophores stand out.

Poetic gorgon’s head, and a flying little nudi by Miguel Ramirez: I love a basket star image and the little critter flying across the background adds a little extra to what was already a lovely shot.

Jewel Nudi by Miguel Ramirez: Stunning nudi shot with blurred background.

Odontaspis ferox by Claude Lespagne: Really engaging portrait of a Smalltooth Sand Tiger Shark. A great view of the teeth too.

Nudibranchia by Claude Lespagne: Lovely texture on this image. The nudibranch looks like it is make from blue velvet and you can almost feel it by just looking at the photo. Focus is perfect.

Crevette nettoyeuse by Patrice Privé: Lovely macro shrimp shot. They detail and the catch light in the eyes is just stunning.

Hippocampes by Patrice Privé: Wow – this image just jumps out from the page. The focus on the eye and the punk hair do really work in black and white. I might have just tones down the overexposed nose a little. But this is a stunner.

Lady Bug on Tunicate by Olivier Martinez: I am always amazed at these super macro shots capturing the tiniest of critters on the reef. The blue is beautiful and it is great to have the subject with both eyes in shot.

Dancing of humpackwhale by Benjamin Bersans: The snorkeler in the top corner of the image really makes this shot, as it makes you feel like you know just how special it would be if that was you!

Goliath by Bruno Labins: The light on the surface of the water, just above the main subject, is lovely.

Crocodile by Bruno Labins: All legs and teeth.. this croc shot made me smile. Great that the shot show the seagrass environment too.

The color purple by Marc Eeckhaut: Love these flamboyant cuttlefish. They are always tough to shoot on dark and difficult backgrounds, but this image really shows how lovely they are.

Humpback Whales in Bora Bora by Stephan Debelle: Lovely shot with the mother and calf at the surface. Must have been an amazing experience.

John Dory by Colin Garrett: These really are a lovely looking fish and this side on shot, with a black background, shows off their unusual pattern and shape.

Bottlenose Dolphin by Colin Garrett: Lovely eye contact and detail on this close encounter with a dolphin.

Surfacing after a relaxing dive by Kristof Goovaerts: We do not see many diver portrait shots in this competition and this is a lovely example with the sunlight shining down perfectly on the diver’s face. I like that the diver is looking up to the surface rather than directly at the camera.

SS Thistlegorm by Christian Horras: This shot is so atmospheric. A great take on a well photographed wreck. I love the anchor, the diver is in a great position and the bow of the wreck looming out of the background. Smashing image.

Nudibranch Trinchesia sp. by Oksana Maksymova: A simple yet stunning composition. The bokeh is perfect. the colours subtle. I love this.

Ultra Violet Cerianthus by Simone Musumeci: Using UV light on a night dive can bring some rewarding photographic results and the motion of the current adds to this unusual image.

Jellyfish palau by Dave Weeks: A simple shot, but there is something about the colours that I really like, along with the reflection.

Stingray Smile by MichaelG: A lovely shot that will make everyone that sees it smile.

Black Jelly by MichaelG: Simple yet stunning. An almost abstract image of a jellyfish in black and white. Lots of interesting detail. This really jumps out from my screen.

Microlipophrys canevae by Yann Toso: Lovely portrait of this blenny with the oranges and yellows creating a pleasing image to look at. Good use of depth of field and a cute subject too.

Blue Planet by Kaya Alptunaer: Stunning! Simplicity is sometimes best. The richness of the blue against the black background makes the subject stand out. Showing the feeding behaviour of the sea star just adds to this lovely shot. Finding a subject and then getting the very best shot of it you can. The fact you took this with a compact camera is fabulous. Well done!

Open your wings by Giacomo Antonio Rossi. Lovely full underside shot of a manta. The surface of the water really adds to this super image.

Jureles by Giacomo Antonio Rossi: Love this shot of a bait ball swimming just above the sea bed. The sandy ripples really add to the image.

Sepiola in motion by Yann Toso: A lovely motion shot of a squid at night. A beautiful subject captured expertly well.

Valentine’s day by Novrizal Herdananto: A perfect shot for the February competition! What a lovely image of these two stunning nudibranchs. Almost looks like a mirror image.


After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Sepiola in motion by Yann Toso

Runner-up: Nudibranch Trinchesia sp. by Oksana Maksymova

Third Place: SS Thistlegorm by Christian Horras

Highly Commended: Blue Planet by Kaya Alptunaer

Highly Commended: Black Jelly 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 March 2021 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

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