Image 04 (Velvet Swimmer Crab) – Keith Lyall It’s a busy background, but the lighting and post processing are well controlled to let this crab create its presence. The timing to capture offset claws adds dynamism and this subject always pulls your eyes to his if you get the focus and lighting correct, which the photographer has.
Image 12 (Nudi) – Peter Ladell Lighting, viewpoint and depth of field make the subject positively leap out at you. I think diagonals coming right out of a corner have less impact than those which are offset (landscape photographers will tell you why). And I felt that having one rhinophore out of focus detracted slightly. But well worthy of a highly recommended award.
Green Water Macro/Close Up Commended
Image 19 (Crayfish) – Chris McTernan The central but diagonal composition increases the impact of the crayfish facing up to the viewer and it’s a sharp image. I thought that the lighting was not quite right, but could have been corrected in post processing by pulling back some highlights top right; the eye finds too much detail there too easily. But a good portrait of a creature with attitude.
Image 25 (Nudi) -Cat Briggs This is a subtle and effective composition to show a creature in its habitat. There are lots of curves that lead you in to the brightly coloured and well lit subject. The placement along the lower third works well and helps to ground and balance the image, although I thought it might have been stronger still by using either a classic thirds intersection or a dead centre lower third. It seems to sit between the two, but it’s a minor point; I think this is a great image.
Green Water Wide Angle
Image 04 (Blue Sharks) First Place – Pash Baker The light has worked in this image to set a lovely background for two contra-rotating sharks, each showing a sinuous sweep of body and tail. It’s the kind of image I would hang on my wall and certainly one that makes me want to be in the ocean.
Image 22 (Seal Split Level) Second Place - Gill Marsh The photographer has worked hard to capture interest above and below water, creating a very strong image. The seal’s eyes do not pop out strongly at first and the creature looks a bit wary, but the overall impression is of a beautiful scene that you want to be part of. Top marks for getting this technically-difficult image well executed in tough conditions.
Image 03 (Seal and Diver) Third Place – Nick Blake Although I did not like the diver’s fin being exaggerated so much by the forced perspective of a wide angle lens, the seal’s position and expression is so strong that you cannot help but be drawn in to this image. It tells a story about our photography too. Well lit and nicely timed; a super image.
Green Water Wide Angle Highly Commended
Image 18 (Blue Sharks) – Rob White Although this image lacks a bit of contrast due to the subdued and very diffuse natural light (presumably due to cloud), it is superbly timed to catch the contra-rotation of the sharks, which both have exquisite, dynamic postures. If luck (and light) had been with the photographer, it could have been a stunner.
Green Water Wide Angle Commended
Image 09 (Young Seal) – Gill Marsh The low framing and forced diagonal help this composition, which is well lit. The seal’s eyes do not fully engage the viewer, but there is enough facial interest, especially the teeth, and a few bubbles just burped by the baby seal, to keep people interested.
Image 14 (Compass Jelly) – Rob White The very deliberate choice of viewpoint exploits strong backlight, which really strengthens this image. I would love to have seen it against pure blue; the edge of Snell’s window to the left needed to be stronger or not there at all. As it stands, that and the backscatter ended up as a distraction. But the combination of yellow on blue and strong light makes this image grab the viewer’s attention.
Image 20 (Blue Shark) – Pash Baker The light ripples, a fin cutting the surface and the reflection are all strong compositional elements. There are some minor distractions: a lot of backscatter, a very tight framing bottom left and a perspective forced by the lens that is tending towards the ‘tadpole effect’ when this close in. Nevertheless, it’s a strong image and commended.
Blue Water Macro/Closeup
Image 39 (Goby with parasites on whip coral) First Place – Anthony Holley The orange-on-black, diagonal composition and tack sharp focus with a generous depth of field give this image lots of initial punch. The parasites bring additional interest and a story stronger than many others of this type in circulation. Simple, but very effective use of colour and subject to create high visual impact.
Image 32 (Crab on soft coral) Second Place – Bob Soames Good lighting, perfect depth of field and a square crop all help the crab to pop from its background context, yet still allow enough of the coral to help tell the story. The light against dark heightens the natural contrast and the image is razor sharp. I like the inclusion of a small strip of (dark) water column to the right, which reinforces the dynamics of the image. A well executed picture that was close to the winner in overall impact.
Image 49 (Scallop eyes) Third Place – Peter Ladell There is a strong abstract feel to this image with a sharp focus that brings out the eyes, texture and colours where it matters. I might have reduced the highlights at the edges and perhaps tried a stronger diagonal composition too, but it was great to see something different and with a close viewpoint that drew the viewer right in.