Overall Winner of the Emirates Diving Association Digital Online Photographic Competition

This year I was lucky enough to be the overall winner of the 2011 Emirates Diving Association Online Photographic Competition.  With 20 other competitors all sporting some great work, I managed to squeeze through with the above winning photographs.  In macro and wide angle I was awarded two seconds and for fish, first prize plus the overall.  The best bit about the whole event was the turnout on the night and the number of photographers that entered.  UAE – Lets keep up the momentum and work on a even better turn out next year…

more verstodigital galleries with SmugMug

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As well as the verstodigital.com portfolio website you can now you can see more verstodigital photographs by visiting www.warrenbaverstock.smugmug.com collection.  There you will find more categories including the latest turtle conservation photographs that Warren Baverstock is involved with.  As well as that there are topside, aquarium, destinations, diving and video galleries to be found.  Don’t forget to bookmark the site as its regularly updated with new work.

The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project Update – Making a Difference

Since December 2010, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) have received over 360 sick or injured sea turtles from the people of Dubai and environmental organizations such as EMEG. 90% of the animals washing up are juvenile hawksbill turtles between the weights of 200 and 500 grams. Similar events have happened on an annual basis since the project started in 2004 although this year the amount of animals is unprecedented. We attribute the annual ‘stranding’ of this particular age cohort of hawksbill turtles between the months of December and March, to be associated with but not entirely due to a phenomenon known as ‘cold stunning’. Turtles are cold blooded and as such gain their body heat from the surrounding environment. In Dubai between the months of December and March, the water temperatures can reach as low as 15 degrees. We think that these cold temperatures severely affect the juvenile hawksbill turtles as they are the main demographic affected by the cold water temperatures. Continue reading

Photography Adventures in the Musandam….with Whale Sharks

One weekend during the month of the May 2011 I joined a bunch of like-minded divers from the Atlantis Underwater Photography Club and headed off on an unforgettable two day Musandam dive trip.  Being a group of photographers of all levels of experience our primary goal was to have fun, share and learn from each other as well as all working hard to get three photographs for our ‘share and discuss’ presentation at our next club meeting (first Tuesday of every month).  Of course, with whale shark season well under way, everyone was eager for the Limah Rock dives as many other local dive operators had been claiming their sightings. Continue reading

British Underwater Image Festival – 3rd Place in the Portfolio Catorgory

Choosing winners for this year’s British Underwater Image Festival (BUIF) proved a challenging task, as the proportion of first class entries was greater than ever across all the sections. In total, there were 750 individual entries from 17 different countries. BUIF presentations are due to made at the Divefest event held at Pentewan Sands, Cornwall on Sunday 2 May.

Print section
As has been the case in previous years, the CPS Portfolio section gave the judges the most difficult choice. The remit for this section is very simple; it is left to the photographer to decide whether to enter a personal ‘best-of’, or a selection that is themed by subject, colour or technique. A decision on the running order took some time, but in the end we decided that Keri Wilk’s painstaking use of alternative lighting techniques made his entry, ‘Ambon’ stand out from the crowd.

In second place was Peter Tatton’s atmospheric black and white photographs of a deep wreck, the Germaine, off the Cornish coast – his fascination with the subject material was evident in every shot. Warren Baverstock’s set of whale sharks from Djibouti was a popular choice for third place, each image showing a different perspective of this iconic fish.

Mega-fauna dominated the PADI Compact section, suggesting that digi-compacts are now fast enough to capture big animals on the move. The judges were impressed with the graphic simplicity of Jo Mahy’s turtle portrait, though it was a very close-run thing with David Nurse’s epic manta ray image, which was placed second.

A raft of high-quality entries in the Apeks British section also prompted long discussion among the judges, but it was felt that Dan Bolt’s extraordinary image of a John Dory being cleaned by a spider crab was the standout achievement. His image provides a unique insight into the life of this enigmatic fish. Freshwater photographs were a common theme this year, and Tony Gilbert’s vivid portrait of a sturgeon was a popular choice for second place, with Gavin Parson’s helmet diver coming in third.

The Sea & Sea Open section was the closest-fought of the prints categories; the judges thought the overall standard was the highest they had seen at BUIF, and several commendations were made in addition to the top three awards. Jeffrey de Guzman’s super-macro shrimp portrait impressed with its sharpness and detail, but was pushed into third place by Dennis Vandermeersh’s dramatic photograph of a shark swimming over a shipwreck, which came second.

After much discussion, the judges settled on Sterling Zumbrunn’s dynamic scene of Atlantic dolphins at night for first place. Thematically, this was familiar ground – many photographers on board the Shearwater liveaboard have had the opportunity to photograph dolphins feeding on flying fish in the Gulf Stream off Florida. However, it is a difficult photograph to execute well with a single dolphin, let alone three moving quickly, and in complete darkness. The image benefits from well-directed lighting and the cameraman’s instinctive framing – a worthy winner in the open section.