Shades of Colour 185 Autumn 2023

Shades of Colour 185 Autumn 2023


Shades of Colour is an underwater photo competition which we've been running for years in Dive Pacific magazine. Enter and you might have your image published in the magazine, as well as win Sea Tech vouchers!

The New Zealand Underwater Association (NZUA) are creating a new look for Dive New Zealand / Dive Pacific magazine as a website. We will also post results here.

All images are copyright the photographer and used by permission. Please contact us if you wish to use any of these images and we can put you in touch with them.

Our competition schedule can be found here. We are currently taking entries for the next comp.

Watch out Advanced entrants, the Novice entrants are catching up fast!

By Dave Moran 

This competition was one of the hardest in quite a while to decide on first and highly commended placements. For this reason we would like to mention the following images  that missed out on a placement but were high in the final mix of top quality images.

N003: "Great White" by Jakson Stancich
N004: "Goatfish family" by Dave Stallworthy
N008: "Mad Professor" (Mantis Shrimp) by Wendy Smith

A001: "Sea Cave Surge " by Richard Merriman
A007: "Stingray portrait" by Alex Stammers

As you may know we encourage entrants to use the tools available to them such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to edit their images. Perhaps we emphasised this a little too much! 

Some of the images entered appeared to have resulted in the entrant getting too enthusiastic with the enhancing tools available, mainly in area over-saturation of colours, to the point the subject looked unnatural.

We encourage you all to continue with the tools available. Please note it does take time to gain experience as to what needs editing and how much is edited! Sometimes a light touch is best!

Use of AI in photography

There is a lot of discussion currently around the use of AI in helping to produce images.

This was brought into sharp focus when German artist Boris Eldagsen's entry, entitled Pseudomnesia won the prestigious Sony World Photography Award 2023. Boris refused the award, claiming "AI is not photography." He said the stunt was to create a discussion regarding the use of AI in photography and to find out if competitions were prepared for potential AI entrants.

(Boris Eldagsen has said that, prior to being informed of his win, he had not provided any information to the World Photography Organisation that the image was AI-generated; the organisation says that the judges were always aware this was an image created using elements of AI. Interesting story.)

Some believe a new category needs to be added to competitions specifically for AI. AI is only going to improve and the ability to detect what is AI created versus an image taken through a lens becomes maybe impossible! Historians are also worried that AI-images will be created, that in years to come, people might think are real! Food for thought!

We look forward to receiving your entries for our next competition, #186! Send submissions by: Monday 26th June 5pm. Look out for results: Friday 21 July.

Full schedule for 2023 here.

This Issue’s Winners:

Advanced Category Winner:

Alex Stammers, New Zealand. ‘Fleeing Ray’. Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, Northland, New Zealand. Nikon D800, Nauticam NA-D800 Housing, 16-35mm lens, focus light  – 1/40 f/11 ISO 640.

Congratulations Alex Stammers.

Alex was diving the Poor Knights Islands, off the East coast of the North Island, New Zealand, when he noticed several stingrays congregating in the shallow water. He decided to try and capture their graceful movements! 

This close-up encounter was taken as a ray was departing the area.

Judges’ Comments

We know from past entries from Alex that he loves the challenge of experimenting to capture an image that shows marine life close up and personal! A natural history image.

His camera setting and lighting tell a story. Running twin Inon strobes he has given the image that little extra sparkle of light that has lit up the ray’s eye and highlighted its nose area. A shutter speed of 1/40th of a second was fast enough to freeze the ray but slow enough show its movement.

The contrast between the blueness of the ray’s body and the green kelp is a wonderful composition. Focus around the ray’s eye area very sharp.

Congratulations, Alex, you achieved what you set out to do!

Alex receives a Sea Tech Gift Voucher for NZ$100.00

Advanced Highly Commended:

Shaun Lee, New Zealand. Yellow Crested Weedfish.’ Jones Bay, Tāwharanui Regional Park, Auckland, NZ. Canon EOS R5, Nauticam NA-R5 Housing, Laowa probe lens, Bigblue VL36000P light – f14, 1/200, ISO 3200.

Congratulations, Shaun Lee.

Shaun was diving at Jones Bay, a popular dive location in Tāwharanui Regional Park, around an hour and a half drive north from Auckland city, when he spotted this yellow crested weedfish.

Judges’ Comments

Shaun was using his Laowa probe lens; its long, slender lens barrel incorporates a wide-angle macro lens that allows a greater depth-of-field than would be achieved with a regular macro lens. The length of the lens has allowed Shaun to comfortably place the end of the lens barrel close to the weedfish without causing it to dash off! (We think this is a juvenile fish. They can reach around 20cm when fully grown.)

The image in a simple way shows this fish has self-confidence! Sharp eye focus and even the growth on its nose is defined.

Naturally, if the dorsal and pectoral fins were fully shown it would have presented a more complete image of the fish — if the close working distances required for this lens would allow.

A great result using a specialized lens for taking very close-up images.

Well done, Shaun.

Shaun receives a Sea Tech Gift Voucher for NZ$75.

Novice Category Winner:

Jakson Stancich, New Zealand. ‘Black Coral.’ Far north, NZ. Canon EOS 5Ds, Ikelite Housing, 8-15mm canon fisheye lens, 2x Ikelite DS160 strobes – 1/60, F4.0, ISO 200.

Congratulations Jakson Stancich, New Zealand.

Wow, what a dive! Jakson was exploring diving locations in the far north of New Zealand when he took this stunning image. We are guessing it was taken on a deep dive.

Judges’ Comments

This image is a fantastic example of the diversity of a subtropical reef that is deep enough to allow fragile soft sponges and corals to flourish. The more we studied the image the more we discovered!

The blend of the yellow finger sponge with the black coral tree and a cheeky moray eel in the foreground, against a backdrop of reef-hugging soft corals and a magic blue horizon filled with demoiselles — it's a beautiful painting. The composition is very good.

The twin Ikelite strobes have lit the seascape perfectly. The focus is pin sharp where it counts: on yellow finger sponge with the black coral tree. Check out the moray’s head — fantastic!

Congratulations Jakson. 

Jakson receives a Sea Tech Gift Voucher for NZ$75

Novice Highly Commended:

Wendy Smith, Auckland, NZ. ‘Made of Porcelain.’ Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Olympus Tough TG-6, Olympus PT-059 Housing, X-Adventurer RL3000 Ring Light.

Congratulations, Wendy Smith!

Wendy was enjoying the warm tropical waters of Tulamben in Bali when she came across this Porcelain crab, Neopetrolisthes maculatus feeding. They feed by combing plankton and other organic particles from the water using long setae (feathery hair- or bristle-like structures) on their mouthparts.

Judges’ Comments

This image has that magic WOW factor.

The contrast of colours between the crab and the surrounding green anenome makes this image pop!

Excellent result using an X-Adventurer Ring Light. Sharp clear focus and great composition.

Great work, Wendy.

Wendy receives a Sea Tech Gift Voucher for NZ$50.00


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