Photosub Open 2023

Club members met on Saturday 25th November 2023 for the annual Open Competition. This competition pits blue water against green water, macro against wide angle. The evening was hosted at Martyn and Sue’s house in Farley Green and was attended by 10 club members. Although lower on numbers than usual this gave members more opportunity to catch up … a very pleasant evening.

After a winter warming lasagne and general socialising, 45 images from 15 members were projected. This is one of our largest set of entries for this competition, possibly reflecting the rule change to remove the date restriction so that non diving members could participate by entering older images. The winners had been pre-judged by JP Trenque, a previous Photosub ember and past Chair of BSOUP. JP was unable to attend the meeting but provided a set of notes on his choices.

Thanks go to:

  • JP Trenque for judging the competition
  • Martyn & Sue Guess for hosting the evening and providing the meal
  • Keith & Jo for providing the Banoffee Pie
  • Keith for organising  and running the competition
  • All entrants who submitted images to the competition
  • Roger, Martha and Joss for support in organising and running the evening

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

I found the competition very difficult to judge because there were so many images that were stunning in their own right but competed against very different subjects. For example, the two split shots were both beautiful, but having both in the winning group would have been unfair to other categories. 

A lot of the wide-angle images were also “in your face” and in my mind, would have an advantage over more technical macro shots. So I tried to balance harmony, technical skill, interesting subject, clean background and of course, the magic “makes me want to be there” factor. All the winning and commended images are pictures I would love to have on my wall.

1st Place – Rob White

Beautiful, simple image which tells a story. The waves in the foreground on the left add mystery to the shot. We often want to remove bubbles in our images, but in this case, I think they really add to the story. I love the fact that the photographer didn’t try to push the white balance or the contrast. There is something very serene about this image. It’s simply stunning. There is nothing I can criticise about it.

2nd Place – Nur Tucker

Fantastic split shot, beautifully lit. Perfect timing with the sunset and the composition is perfect. If I was really fussy, I would have asked the captain to turn Whirlwind around so that the bow faced towards the centre of the image . This image brought back some very fond memories. One June evening, as we were finishing a week’s liveaboard and heading back to Sharm, Brian Pitkin and I jumped on the tender at dusk near Ras Nasrani and took a few shallow shots and silhouettes. I love those pictures I took of Brian, not because they’re perfect, but because of the happy memories. The emotional element certainly played a part in making this image the runner-up, although it shouldn’t take anything away from the perfection in this shot.

3rd Place – Keith Lyall

The cuteness factor with this octopus scores very high ! You just want to wait there and observe the animal in its den, and maybe slowly extend your hand to see if curiosity will make it come out and say “Hi”. The lighting is spot-on and the crop is perfect.

Highly Commended – Martyn Guess

I like the lighting on the batfish. It’s so difficult not to burn the whites on their silver skin, but that was spot-on. I also really like the composition and the use of the diagonal. The ripples on the surface make me feel like I’m in the water under that pontoon looking up. I would have used a tiny bit less sharpening on the water or maybe blurred the blue a little.

Highly Commended – Joss Woolf

I really liked these spawning sponges. I thought the colours were very nice and the lighting was perfect. A little bit more space on the right hand side to follow the flow of the spawning would have placed it in the top 3.

Highly Commended – Gill Marsh

I liked both thresher shark images a lot. This black & white shot had the edge because that facial expression is just something else ! And I love the movement with the tail. The skin texture is also very interesting. A slightly blurred background might have made this a competition winner, but to be honest, this beautiful elusive creature is makes the image a very strong contender.

The two commended images are technically very strong but in both cases, I thought the subject was too much in the center. Using the rule of thirds, I would have placed them more on the left.

Commended – Daniel Taylor

This Bargibanti pygmy seahorse is gorgeous and I love the background. The coral polyps definitely add to the image but I would have liked to see a bit more of the coral branches and give it more space on the right hand side of the image. 

Commended – Wendy Eve

Anemonefish are very common, yet always an interesting subject. I loved the face hiding in the tentacles. The texture is superb and the dark background with bright face adds mystery. Having the fish slightly more on the left would have given it space to move into the image.