With over 900 entries in the Emperor Divers' Underwater Photo competition, it's no surprise that the winner was mightily pleased to have been chosen against some very stiff competition! Read on for the results and winning photos...
Maria Munn had her work cut out in judging the competition, but after much deliberation, chose the shots that she considered to show a remarkable eye, and skill, for capturing the subject. Below, Maria explains her criteria, but first, the winners are...
And a few winning words from Cees...
First of all, a great thank you for selecting my picture as overall winner. I think the jury had a hell of a job selecting it from many very impressive other picture I have seen on the website. The picture is made at Elphinstone in June 2005 when we were on the Emperor Asmaa. At the end of the dive we went back to the boat by zodiac when the Oceanic White tip was cruising almost on the surface near the boat. I jumped into the water and when I put my face down it was just in front of me. After a while I found out that the shark swam in the same direction a couple of times, so I wait for him to come towards me. This shot was the best one of around ten shots and I was thrilled to see what the lighting had done to it. The slow shutter speed gave it its â€œmovementâ€.
The picture was made by a Nikon D100 digital reflex camera in a Hugy Fot housing. After watching many underwater pictures for my job as a chief editor for a Dutch dive magazine I started up in 1999, I made my first steps to take underwater pictures in April 2004. I borrowed a simple digital camera from a friend and was thrilled by the pictures that came out. Thatâ€™s when I decided that I had to buy the housing for my Nikon. I have made around a hundred dives with this camera and around half of them in the Red Sea. On my last trip to the Brothers Islands, November 2005, the camera broke down on the first day. It was one of my best trips ever but missing my camera gave me a big hangover. On this trip I found out about the competition at Emperor Divers (thanks Helen) so now I can make up the pictures I missed in November. Iâ€™m looking forwards to it!
Now over to Maria!
"First of all, well done to each and every one of you who entered the Emperor Divers Photo Competition â€“ it takes a lot of courage and it is great to see so many divers taking an interest in underwater photography.
There were well over 900 entries with over half of those being in the Macro Category. Needless to say, this was a particularly difficult section to judge with so many critters to look at! Overall, the standard was very high, and I was impressed to see such a large number of talented divers. Again the Standard Category produced a great range of photographs and the Wide Angle, although with not nearly as many entrants as the Standard (as it is particularly difficult to get good Wide Angle shots), had a wide range of photographic themes.
The main topics, which make a photograph stand out are that it has to be bright, sharp, colourful, contrasting and, if the subject has eyes, then that eye to eye contact with the photographer can really give that photograph a great winning chance.
A very Happy New Year to everyone who entered and I look forward to seeing more of your photos soon. Donâ€™t forget Emperor is running special underwater photography trips in June. There will be plenty of opportunities to get some stunning shots in one of the worldâ€™s best diving spots. It would be lovely to welcome you along and to encourage your photography skills to produce a future winning shot!"