Shades of Colour Spring 2022 (182)

Shades of Colour Spring 2022 (182)


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 magazine in the form of an interactive website which is due to be launched shortly. We will continue posting results on the Sea Tech website in the meantime.

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.

From the highly skilled to the novice photographer, the magic is presented!

By Dave Moran

As judges we are always amazed at the diversity of images that are entered into this fun competition. Once again it was a struggle to select winners!

The winning images in the Advanced Category are a good example of highly-skilled divers and photographers such as Matt Dowse and Alex Stammers.

Alex’s image is of particular interest as it shows he is always endeavouring to take an image of a much-photographed fish and adds that little EXTRA that separates his image from the rest.

In the Novice Category we have an image from a lady who has just picked up a waterproof point and shoot camera for the first time! Rose is learning the joys of discovering marine life and capturing their images to enjoy with family and friends.

As many of you know, blending diving/snorkelling with underwater photography is such a rewarding experience.

Thanks to all those who made the effort to send us your masterpieces, we really appreciate it.

Entering competitions can be a great way to help you develop your own critical eye. You may develop the editing skills that most top photographers use to improve their images.
Programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom are amazing tools.

This Issue’s Winners:

Advanced Category Winner:

Alex Stammers, New Zealand. ‘Shallow Snapper’; Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand. Olympus E-PL 7 Olympus housing 2x Inon Strobes and INON wide-angle wet lens – 1/100 f/8 ISO-200

Congratulations Alex Stammers, New Zealand.

Alex was diving his favourite spot for photographing fish, Goat Island Marine Reserve, just north of Auckland city.

Because Goat Island is such a popular place to dive, most of the reserve’s inhabitants are not disturbed by scuba divers. This allows you to practice the art of getting close to a moving fish to hopefully snap a winning image!

Judges’ Comments

We received quite a few images of snapper this go around.

Alex’s image is a great example of achieving a snapper image that separates it from the rest. Adding something a little different. He positioned himself where he would have the best opportunity of photographing a snapper, with the trees above reflecting through the water’s surface.

He picked a very sea calm day, fitted an Inon wide angle wet lens to his housing and using dual Inon strobes, in combination with a shutter speed of 100th sec, he has frozen any movement of this beautiful fish. Sharp, crystal-clear focus has the effect of making the viewer feel like they are interacting with the snapper – which seems to be thinking, “That’s close enough, mate!”

The detail of the fish’s colours is just stunning. We love those sparkling blue spots. Well done, Alex.

Alex receives a Sea Tech Gift Voucher for NZ$100.00

Advanced Highly Commended:

Matt Dowse, New South Wales, Australia. ‘Swansea Cuttlefish’; Swansea Bridge, NSW, Australia. Canon PowerShot SX1, Ikelite Housing, 2x Ikelite DS161 strobes – 1/250s f/8 ISO-80

Congratulations Matt Dowse, NSW, Australia.

Matt is on a winning roll as he took out first place in the last Shades of Colour competition with an image of a moray eel.

He was again diving under the Swansea Bridge which connects the southern and northern sides of the coastal entrance into Lake Macquarie, Australia’s largest saltwater lake in the state of New South Wales.

Matt advised that this mourning cuttlefish (Sepia plangon) was just hanging around the safety stop area below the boat ramp. It seemed to be checking itself out in the housing’s dome port.

Judges’ Comments

Cuttlefish do have a reputation for being very intelligent and inquisitive, similar to octopus. Dome ports also seem to attract marine creatures. It could be because they see a possible mate or an opponent in the reflection! This natural curiosity is great for photographers. [For anyone wondering, no, according to research cephalopods do not appear to pass the mirror test – Sophie.]

Matt has once again delivered the wow factor with this picture. Stunningly lit, giving the image an illusion of transparency while delivering detailed characteristics of the cuttlefish’s body. Wise eyes searching for answers!

Mixing these ingredients with a black background is a winning recipe!

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

Novice Category Winner:

Dave Stallworthy, New Zealand. ‘Goat Fish’; Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve, New Zealand. Sony Rx100 Mk II, Nauticam housing, 2x Inon D-2000 strobes – 1/160 f/8 ISO-100

Congratulations, Dave Stallworthy, New Zealand

Dave spotted this goatfish in the Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve, which was established in 2006. The students and faculty of Kamo High School played an important role in establishing this reserve. A fantastic resource for the students to study marine life. Well done Kamo High School, and well done to Dave Stallworthy!

Judges’ Comments

Dave was using a high spec Sony compact camera, the RX100 Mk II (current model Mk VII) in a Nauticam housing.

Dave’s dual Inon D-2000 strobes have beautifully displayed the wonderful South-Pacific-like art on the goatfish’s nose. This artistic colouring fades further down the length of the fish’s body.

Eye perfectly in focus, a very important feature with any fish or natural history image of an animal.

Well done, Dave. Dave receives a Sea Tech Gift Voucher for NZ$75.

Novice Highly Commended:

Rose Ford, New Zealand. ‘Octopus’; Lagoon Reef, Lady Elliot Island, Queensland, Australia. Canon PowerShot D30 underwater camera

Congratulations Rose Ford, New Zealand.

When we received this image, it had a covering note from Sarah, the mother of the photographer, Rose. Rose did not know that her mother had sent us this image! Taken in the Lagoon Reef at Lady Elliot Island, Queensland, Australia.

Rose loves snorkelling and has recently fallen in love with underwater photography. We love to hear from new underwater photographers! We know what a rewarding hobby underwater photography can be – good on you, Rose, we love to see it!

Day Octopusses (Octopus cyanea) are the largest and most commonly sighted octopus in the Western Pacific. Rose’s mother Sarah spent most of their dive unsuccessfully searching for one in the lagoon for Rose to photograph with her wee Canon PowerShot D30 point and shoot camera. But eagle-eyed Rose spotted one at the eleventh hour and was amazed when it changed from red to white!

Judges’ Comments

We were drawn into this image by our curiosity. Was it an alien marine creature from outer space? It looked rather hostile!

Its body language seems to be expressing, “Get any closer and you're doomed!”

The comment by Rose, that the octopus changed from its red colouring to white is a graphic example of how these amazing animals can camouflage their body by changing their skin texture and colour to blend into their surroundings. In this case a whitish background, causing a white colour shift!

Getting in close to the octopus has produced an image that shows very good details of this master of disguise!

A good use of natural lighting, and of course, snorkelling skills!

Well done, Rose. Rose receives a Sea Tech Gift Voucher for NZ$50.


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