Shades of Colour Summer 2021 (issue 179)

Shades of Colour Summer 2021 (issue 179)


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

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.

Embrace the technology that is available today!

By Dave Moran

Even with New Zealand’s largest city Auckland in lockdown, we received some excellent entries. Just goes to prove Auckland is not the centre of the diving universe! Even an Australian snuck in under Covid restrictions and managed to get his image through MIQ in time to enter the Comp! The winning images all have their special magic.

I encourage you all to study Matt Dowse’s winning image in the Advanced category. It is an excellent example of using a range of skills. Having a diving buddy that can position themselves to hopefully allow you to get a winning image is a bonus! Though I suspect Matt’s diving buddy was also trying to get the same image in reverse?

As many of you know, I encourage using post editing programs such as Photoshop to improve your image. Matt has successfully created a sense of mystery in his image. Please read my comments regarding his image below.
I hope my comments encourage you to try different things and to embrace the technology that is available today to further enhance the final image you present to your friends.

These days it’s all part of the learning circle of photography. Enjoy the journey of experimenting with your images – it can be fun!

This Issue’s Winners:

Advanced Category Winner:

Congratulations Matt Dowse, Australia.

Matt was diving with his diving buddy Pete off the coastal town of Terrigal, Central Coast New South Wales, when the underwater stars aligned for him to quickly snap this winning image.

Judges’ Comments:

When Sophie and I first quickly scanned the images that have been entered in the Advanced category, this image by Matt just jumped out at us! Why?

First of all, it was very different from what we normally view. There is a clever mix of colour and black and white that creates a sense of mystery! A beautifully-lit friendly blue grouper in the foreground with a somewhat sinister one-eyed (strobe front) monster lurking in the background! There is also another eye! The eye of Pete the diver which is perfectly in focus, peeking out behind his camera housing.
Using a 17–70mm lens has provided Matt the depth of field to basically photograph two subjects which are both in focus; the grouper being only 17mm from his dome port!

The image is one thing but how do you make it really magical and different, giving it that wow factor? And in this case, also adding a sense of mystery? This was achieved by using the post-editing software, Photoshop. Matt advised the following editing: white balanced levels adjusted, removed backscatter and made Pete the diver and background black and white as the original background was green.

Many of you know we often encourage the use of editing software to improve an image. This winning image is a perfect example of what can be achieved.
Well done Matt.

Matt receives a Gift Voucher for $100.00

Advanced Highly Commended:

Congratulations Daniel Poloha, New Zealand.

Daniel was enjoying the abundance of marine life at the Goat Island marine reserve just north of Auckland. The reserve was established in 1975 to allow scientists to observe marine life unaffected by fishing and the gathering of sea food. Fish such as snapper, as shown in this picture, are relatively accustomed to the presence of visiting divers.

Judges’ Comments:

This is a great example of a diver interacting with the reserve’s inhabitants!
Using a very wide-angle lens, 10–17mm, has allowed Daniel to be very close to the subjects being photographed. Thus providing a very sharp and in-focus image. Dual strobes have delivered near-perfect lighting and frozen any blurring of the fish’s forward movement.

A suggested improvement would be to shoot from a different angle so that the diver’s eyes were also lit by the strobe’s flash. Easy to say, but as we all know, not always an option when photographing moving targets!

A great image that has had no post-production editing.

Daniel receives a Gift Voucher for NZ$75.

Novice Category Winner:

Congratulations, Judy Ormandy, New Zealand

Judy must have thought, wow this is amazing, to witness an octopus munching a crayfish. Most divers, including myself, have never come across such an event while diving. Normally a diver comes across an octopus munching on a scallop.

Judges’ Comment:

This is an amazing natural history image, showing in real time the drama of life and death beneath the waves. The Olympus Tough series (TG-5) of cameras are well known for their ease of use and exceptional close-up photography capabilities.

Judy has been able to get in close to the octopus without threatening it too much and she has wisely selected ISO500 (camera's sensitivity to light) to compensate for not using any artificial lighting. The result is stunning, as the colour of the crayfish’s legs and horn are clearly contrasted against the octopus camouflaged body.

Having the octopus’s eyes just in focus is a winning element in this image.

Well, done Judy.

Judy receives a Gift Voucher for NZ$75.

Novice Highly Commended:

Congratulations Sue Harris, New Zealand.

Freediving, Sue has captured the magic of LIFE within the boundaries of a marine reserve. All the Poor Knights islands covering an area of 1,890 hectare, were finally protected in 1981. Visitors, ranging from children and grandparents, including non-divers, snorkelers, freedivers and scuba divers have been enjoying the results of this protection.

Judges’ Comments

You do not need to be scuba diving to obtain an image that you’re proud of. The sparkling sun-drenched surface adds real magic to the whirlwind mixture of flashing silver trevally and vibrant blue maomao.

Having a Fantasea wet wide-angle lens fitted to her Fantasea underwater housing has been the key component in achieving this result. It has provided Sue the opportunity to get up-close to the fish and still capturing a wide-angle image with great depth of field and mainly in focus. Using a shutter speed of 500th of a second has prevented any blurring of fish movement.

Well done Sue.

Sue receives a Gift Voucher for NZ$50


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