On August 7-9, the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS) and Backscatter showcased Monterey diving with the annual Monterey Shootout photo competition. This year, the competition time was expanded to 36 hours, and thanks to several accomplished pro photographers who came to share the techniques of their craft, there was also a learning component to the fun-filled weekend.
The event began on Friday, August 7th, where divers registered and boarded the first day of diving aboard one of the many Monterey dive boats, including the Silver Prince, Beachhopper II, the Sanctuary, the Escapade, and Monterey Blue. Others headed into the ocean from the beach or private boats, and all were treated for some of the best conditions of the summer, including sunny skies, warm weather, and visibility that has improved significantly from prior weeks this summer.
Following Saturday’s diving (and the closing of the shooting time), Monterey- based Backscatter hosted a cocktail party at their Cannery Row showroom. Dozens of divers gathered to share stories, talk about their diving and photos, and meet the Shootout’s key presenters Mike Bartick and Richard Salas, who were on hand to share their tips and techniques informally, and through seminars on Sunday morning.
Mike Bartick, a marine wildlife pro photographer, traveled from all the way from Anilao Philippines to attend the shootout and kick off the Sunday seminars. Mike shared his techniques on strobe angles, compositions and important techniques that can be used to capture animal behaviors. He shared an impressive slideshow of dozens of ocean creatures from all over the world, discussed lighting, exposure, and composition, and answered many questions participants had in all aspects of underwater photography.
Following Mike’s presentation, photo pro and book author Richard Salas discussed more specific lighting techniques. He offered many interesting and innovative techniques to help underwater photographers more clearly define texture and shapes of their subjects underwater, and demonstrated how strobes can be positioned and how different camera angles can be used to create different looks underwater. His presentation, like Mike’s, was very well received.
The Monterey Shootout uses a point-awards system, where winners are given points that can then be redeemed for exotic trips, underwater photo gear or dive accessories. This year again proved that it’s not just the advanced shooters who sweep the contest categories, as one newer shooter racked up the points across several photo categories, enabling him to be the top prize winner!
This years photo judges were Chuck Davis, Scott Campbell and Jim Decker, with Berkley White presiding over all judging. All-in-all, the photo judges honed their picks down to the finalists from over 300 submissions. In the video judging room, Joel Penner, Dan Baron, Rusty Sanoian and Jeff Honda deliberated the merits of their favorite montage, even arguing the smallest details.
Here’ s a look at some of the award-winning photos:
Clinton Bauder won the first place prize in the Advanced Wide Angle Traditional category for this beautiful photo of a Mola Mola. To see the other 4 winners in this category, please click here.
Joe Platko was the first place winner of the Advanced Wide Angle Unrestricted category. To see the other 3 winners in this category, please click here.
Ryan Boerema won the first place prize in the Advanced Macro Traditional category. To see the other winners in this category, please click here. Ryan also had the winning photo in the Advanced Macro Unrestricted category.
Julie Lucas brought home the top prize in the Intermediate Wide Angle Traditional category. There were 4 other photos which won in this category as well, see them here. Julie also won first place in the Intermediate Macro Traditional category.
Patrick Webster took the prize in the Wide Angle Unrestricted category with this beautiful photo. See the other four winners here.
Scott Harrison won first place for this photo in the Intermediate Macro Unrestricted category. To see the other winners in this category, please click here.
Douglas LaFarge had some amazing encounters with some of Monterey’s larger animal life, and won first place in the Beginner Wide Angle Traditional category and Beginner Wide Angle Unrestricted categories.
Jason Knight won both first and second place in the Beginner Macro Traditional category; above is his first place photo.
Donna House won the first place prize in the Beginner Macro Unrestricted category.
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In addition to the still photography, there was also a video competition. To see the winning videos and all of the photo winners, please click here to go to the Monterey Shootout’s winners page.
The 2016 Shootout is already being planned, please click here to get on the email list and join the Shootout in Monterey next year.