Grand Prize: Steffen BinkeGrand Prize: Steffen Binke
Through Your Lens: Readers' Photo Contest 2011
Ansel Adams once said, “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” As we sifted through the entries in our 2011 photo contest, we often found ourselves admiring an image. As we narrowed down the selections, we realized the winning photographs achieved something special, something that Ansel Adams understood. These photographers live in various parts of the world, use different camera systems and pursue underwater photography for unique reasons, but their photos share one common trait: They have the power to transport us to faraway seas, place us in the moment of rare encounters, and remind us why we love to dive. Click through the above photo gallery of this year's winners to share in this journey.
1. Grand Prize
Lighthouse Bommie, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Moments after emerging for a spy hop, this whale slowly descended in my direction. Though it was rough on the surface, I was able to control my movements, and the whale came within six feet before turning away and diving down again.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Nikon D200, Aquatica housing, 10-17mm Tokina fisheye lens, natural light (code of practice in Australia is no flash photography with these animals) ISO: 200 F-STOP: f/7.1 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/400
PRIZE Seven-night trip for two on the Dancer Fleet’s Sun Dancer II in Belize (dancerfleet.com), plus $1,000 cash.
2. First Place
Samarai Island, Milne Bay, PNG
The derelict wharf of the once-prosperous Samarai Island is now home to countless baitfish, which use the vertical pillars as shelter from predatory jacks below and the fishermen above.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Nikon D90, Aquatica housing, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, natural light ISO: 100 F-STOP: f/14 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200
PRIZE Any 10-day/10-night trip to the Philippines or Indonesia on Worldwide Dive & Sail’s Philippine Siren, Indo Siren or Mandarin Siren (worldwidediveandsail.com)
3. Second Place
Deacon’s Reef, Milne Bay, PNG
With a shallow wall so close to shore that trees hang overhead, Deacon’s Reef offers dramatic backgrounds and colorful foregrounds. Caves and swim-throughs abound just a few feet away, and the current is usually negligible, making for an incredible dive — especially with a photogenic diver in the picture.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Nikon D90, Aquatica housing, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, two Ikelite DS-161 strobes ISO: 100 F-STOP: f/9 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125
PRIZE: Mares Abyss regulator (mares.com), plus a $250 Reef Photo & Video gift card (reefphotovideo.com)
4. First Place
During the time we were in Bonaire for the coral spawn, very little “coral love” took place. So one day I decided to go out just before sunset and follow these two. Finally, after chasing each other for what seemed like an eternity, they decided to share a special moment.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Nikon D200, Seacam housing, Nikon 60mm macro lens, two Inon 240 strobes ISO: 100 F-STOP: f/16 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250
PRIZE Seven-night stay for two plus diving at Deep Blue Resort, Utila, during Deep Blue’s Whale Shark Research week (deepblueutila.com)
5. Second Place
Eduardo Acevedo Fernandez
Aliwal Shoal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
This image was taken in difficult conditions — 20-knot winds, six-foot waves — four miles offshore. There were more than 60 sharks around us, and I free-dived to make maneuvering — and photography — easier.
BEHIND THE SHOT Gear Canon 5D, Seacam housing, Canon 15mm lens, two Ikelite 125 strobes ISO 100 F-Stop f/10 Shutter Speed 1/80
PRIZE Subgear Cayman regulator (subgear.com), plus a $250 Reef Photo & Video gift card (reefphotovideo.com)
6. First Place
Bruno Van Saen
Seraya Secrets, Bali, Indonesia
I found this Allogalathea elegans in less than 20 feet of water on an underwater shootout competition. The odd thing is I’d only just learned a few hours before how to make double-exposure photos.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Nikon D200, Hugyfot housing, sigma 17-70mm lens, two Inon Z240 strobes ISO N/A F-STOP: f/32 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250
PRIZE Seven-night stay for two at grand Cayman’s Compass Point Dive Resort (compasspoint.ky), with six days of two-tank diving with Ocean Frontiers (oceanfrontiers.com).
7. Second Place
Lake Grevelingen, Holland
In May and June, black gobies in this saltwater lake lay eggs in shells, which the males guard ferociously. I took this photo of a black goby using a homemade snoot, which allowed me to get a closer profile.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Nikon D300s, Sealux housing, 60mm macro lens and 2x teleconverter, Subtonic strobe, homemade snoot ISO: 200 F-STOP: f/22 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125
PRIZE Scubapro Litehawk BC (scubapro.com), plus a $250 Reef Photo & Video gift card (reefphotovideo.com)
8. First Place
Lake Sassolo, Ticino, Switzerland
This shot was captured in a little Alpine lake in southern Switzerland. Despite chilly temperatures (36 degrees F.), the visibility is good — and under the ice, the sun’s rays pierce the frozen surface for excellent photo opportunities.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Canon 5D Mark II, Anthis housing, Canon 15mm fisheye lens, natural light ISO: 400 F-STOP: f/5.6 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/60
PRIZE One-week stay for one in a Buddy Dive Resort studio, Bonaire, with unlimited shore diving (buddydive.com)
9. 2nd Place
Jeff Davis Memorial, Bonaire
Bonaire always provides at least one amazing sight each trip. We came across this swirling school of baitfish at the drop-off. I spent the entire dive with them, waiting for that decisive moment.
BEHIND THE SHOT GEAR: Canon 40D, Ikelite housing, Tokina 10-17mm DX fisheye lens, two Ikelite Ds-125 strobes on manual ISO: 100 F-STOP: f/13 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200
PRIZE SeaLife DC1200 (sealifecameras.com), plus a $250 Reef Photo & Video gift card (reefphotovideo.com)
10. Christopher Simmons
11. Elizabeth Sullivan
12. Eduardo Acevedo Fernandez
13. Andy Lerner
14. Eduardo Acevedo Fernandez
15. Bruno Van Saen
16. Noam Kortler
17. Karen Doody
18. Tony Cherbas
19. Luc Rooman
20. Luc Rooman
21. Kenneth MacWilliams