Photosub Open 2019

Club members met on Saturday 16th November for the annual Open Competition. This final competition of the year pits blue water against green water, macro against wide angle. The evening was hosted at Pat Deeley’s home and was attended by 33 club members.

After the usual socialising and excellent food, 44 images from 15 members were projected. The winners had been pre-judged by Paul Statham and Pat Williams who were able to attend the meeting. Our thanks go to Pat and Paul for taking time to judge the competition and providing comments on all images, and to Pat for hosting the evening.

The winning images are as follows with judges comments in italics:

As joint judges, we each considered all entries and formed a shortlist.   We then combined our shortlists before discussing what had attracted us to them and deciding on results.  It was a very difficult choice as the original shortlist had 17 photographs and inevitably personal preferences come into play.

1st Place:  Nick Blake

A stunning image, with interesting features all over the frame combining into a coherent whole.  The positioning of the diver relative to the reflection and light rays draws the eye and gives the impression of effortless flight.

2nd Place:  Rob White

The viewer is drawn into this image by the eye contact with the fish and the models perfect positioning and focus.  Models’ eyes can sometimes look unnatural and posed in photographs but here it is as if the photographer is not there and the model is enjoying the peaceful interaction with the bumphead.

It is interesting that the photograph may not be technically perfect, with only one fish eye fully visible and the diver’s bubbles rising, but the composition, colour and exposure overcome any minor issues.

3rd Place: Nick Blake

While this kind of shot of a stingray is fairly common, what distinguished it for us was the angle from which the shot was taken. It almost looks as though the photographer dug a hole in the sand to get below the subject!  The curve of the ray’s wing is pleasing as is the reflection on the surface and the dappled light on the sand. 

Highly Commended

Peter Tatton

We loved the “graininess” of the photograph as well as the amazing subject.  We loved the way the baby is nuzzling against its mother.  Technically very accomplished as the dolphins must have been moving at speed.

Pash Baker

Appears technically perfect in terms of focus and depth of field shooting such a tiny subject with super-macro.

Rob White

Would have been placed by one of the judges despite being a relatively simple subject.  The colour and lighting are perfect.

Pash Baker

Impressive shot with good exposure.  Brightness in top right corner slightly distracting.   Again, technically very good as the subject must have been moving quickly.


Martyn Guess

Beautiful shot of photogenic subject with good colour, surface interest and feeling of motion.  Difficult given the angle but having two eyes in view would have made this even better.

Nick Blake

We loved the composition of this shot with the seal leading the eye backwards and a good sense of the environment.

Random thoughts

Jo Horrocks

This is personal preference but we found the (apparently) distorted pier leg on the left hand side very distracting.  If this had been cropped out, this photograph would probably have been placed as it shows great interaction between the fish and the photographer with great colour and surface interest.

Sue Guess

Wendy Eve

We assume these are of the same subject as boxer crabs carrying eggs are pretty rare.  Photo 10 (snooted) is obviously impressive to capture what is usually a small, skittish subject in this way but is almost hoisted by its own petard in that the snooted light is not consistent across the anemones!  Photo 31 on the other hand provides interest between the background and the markings on the crab but raises the slight concern that the subject has been moved by a helpful dive guide.  We have all been in this situation but nonetheless it left us feeling uncomfortable.