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Winners Listing
Judges Comments
Judges Bios

Winners: please email me the camera you used and the location of your photo

2006 44th International Underwater Photographic Competition Winners


Adriano Morettin, Trieste, ITALY
"Nemo & Fireworks"
Nikon F5 with Fuji Velvia 50, taken in Walea, Togian Islands, North Sulawesi

FIRST PLACE – Alessandro Dodi, Milano, ITALY, "Cannibal"
SECOND PLACE – Antido Rossi, Pesaro, ITALY, "Stecco"
THIRD PLACE – Borut Furlan, Ljubljana, SOLVENIA, "Love-in-a-Cave" Nikon D2x near Susac Island, Croatia, Adriatic Sea
FOURTH PLACE – Keri Wilk, Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA, "Mr. Mom" Nikon D100, Light & Motion housing, Ikelite 50 strobes, St. Vincent.
FIFTH PLACE – Linda Cline, Forest Grove, OR, USA, "Expecting" Nikon D2X in Lembeh Strait
Honorable Mention
Steve Kovacs, Bonita Springs, FL, USA"Lunchtime"
Antido Rossi, Pesaro, ITALY, "Pina"
Alessandro Dodi, Milano, ITALY, "Romeo & Juliet"
Steve Kovacs, Bonita Springs, FL, USA, "Egg Duty"

FIRST PLACE – Adriano Morettin, Trieste, ITALY "Flabellina Lineata" Nikon F5 with Fuji Velvia 50 taken in Selce, Adriatic Sea, Croatia
SECOND PLACE – Alessandro Tommasi, Porto Santo Stefano, ITALY, "Eye" Nikon F100, Velvia 100, Cebu Island, Philippines
THIRD PLACE – Tony Frank, Culver City, CA, USA, "Manta with dinner"
FOURTH PLACE – Alessandro Tommasi, Porto Santo Stefano, ITALY, "Dancer" Nikon F100, Velvia 100, Walea Island, Indonesia
FIFTH PLACE – Margaret Webb, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Simnia" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125 x2, taken in Redondo Beach, California
Honorable Mention
Adriano Morettin, Trieste, ITALY "On the Bubbles" Nikon F5 with Fuji Velvia 50 taken in Wakatobi Islands, South Sulawesi (Indonesia)
Adriano Morettin, Trieste, ITALY "On Red Velvet" Nikon F5 with Fuji Velvia 50 taken in Walea, Togian Islands, North Sulawesi
Alessandro Dodi, Milano, ITALY, "Two Zed"

FIRST PLACE – Kelly Bracken, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Tiger & Friend" D100, Sea & Sea Housing, 16mm lens
SECOND PLACE – Michael Bonneau, Huntington Beach, CA, USA, "Looking at You"
THIRD PLACE – Pasquale Pascullo, New York City, NY, USA, "Here I Come"
FOURTH PLACE – Jose Alvarez, Santo Domingo, DN, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA, "Big Grouper 2" Nikon D200 + Nikon 10.5 mm DX + Aquatica housing + 2 x D2000 Inon strobes at Hilma Hooker wreck , Bonaire.
FIFTH PLACE – Alessandro Dodi, Milano, ITALY, "Mokarran"
Honorable Mention
Istvan Juhasz, Fot, HUNGARY, "Diver over the Plane" Olympus E-20 in Titan housing (Light&Motion), Papua New Guinea, West New Britain
Yeang Chng, Boston, MA, USA, "Courtship Chase"
Matthew Meier, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, "B1 Bomber"
Roger Carlson, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Fujikawa Maru Catwalks"' Olympus E1, taken in Chuuk

FIRST PLACE – Scott Webb, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Dual Angels" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125 x2, taken in Cozumel
SECOND PLACE – Roger Carlson, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Pohnpei Coral" Olympus E1, taken in Pohnpei
THIRD PLACE – Eugene Shales, Los Angeles, CA, USA, "Tiger"
FOURTH PLACE – Jim Lyle, Hermosa Beach, CA, USA, "Sponge Eel" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125 x2, taken in Cozumel
FIFTH PLACE – Jim Lyle, Hermosa Beach, CA, USA, "Porkfish" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125 x2, taken in Cozumel
Honorable Mention
Kelly Bracken, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Shark Duo" D100, Sea&Sea Housing, 17-35mm
Alessandro Dodi, Milano, ITALY, "NAC"
Adriano Morettin, Trieste, ITALY "Scilla’s Seafans" Nikon F5 with Fuji Velvia 50 taken in Calabria, Tirrenian Sea, Italy

FIRST PLACE – Todd Winner, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Diver Mola", D100 /10.5mm/Nexus Housing/ike ss200 x2
SECOND PLACE – Kevin Lee, Fullerton, CA, USA, "Snack Time"
THIRD PLACE – Jeff Laity, Glendale, CA, USA, "The Lovers" Canon 300d, Aquatica Housing, 18-55mm, Anacapa California
FOURTH PLACE – Rick Coleman, Garden Grove, CA, USA, "Spanish Shawl" Canon 20D, Aquatica Housing, Inon Strobe, 60mm macro, at The Montage in Laguna Beach, California
FIFTH PLACE – Will Chen, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, "Big Guys Kelp Bed"
Honorable Mention
Dave Nesheim, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA, "Catalina" Nikonos V & 15mm
Reggie Brown, San Jose, CA, USA, "Well Groomed"
Kevin Lee, Fullerton, CA, USA, "Moray and Shrimp"
Roger Carlson, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Oil Rig Grace Diver" Olympus 5050

FIRST PLACE – Jim Lyle, Hermosa Beach, CA, USA, "Mola & Photog" Olympus 5050, taken in San Pedro Channel, California
SECOND PLACE – Jim Lyle, Hermosa Beach, CA, USA, "Simnia" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125 x 2, taken in Redondo Beach, California
THIRD PLACE – Todd Winner, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Seal Lion Rig" D100 /10.5mm/Nexus Housing/ike ss200 x2, Eureka Rig, Long Beach, California
FOURTH PLACE – Jim Lyle, Hermosa Beach, CA, USA, "Scorpion Fish" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125 x2
FIFTH PLACE – Dave Gunning, Hollywood, CA, USA, "Cabezon"
Honorable Mention
Todd Winner, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Mola" D100 /10.5mm/Nexus Housing/ike ss200 x2
Randy Harwood, Palos Verdes Estates, CA, USA, "Medusa Fish & Salp"
Dave Nesheim, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA, "Love @ First Sight" Nikonos RS, 50mm
Dave Nesheim, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA, "Juvenile Garibaldi" Nikonos RS, 50mm & 2x

FIRST PLACE – Rand McMeins, Edmonds, WA, USA, "Bonaire Dreaming" Nikon D2x, Bonaire
SECOND PLACE – Istvan Juhasz, Fot, HUNGARY, "After Rest" Olympus E-20, Egypt, Marsa Alam
THIRD PLACE – Todd Mintz, Regina, SK, CANADA, "End of the Line" Canon 20D, British Columbia
FOURTH PLACE – Dave Nesheim, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA, "Pelican Reflection" Nikon F100, 80-400mm
FIFTH PLACE – Iain Anderson, Auckland, New Zealand, "Seabird Reflections" Nikon D70 with Tamron 200-400 F/5.6, near Poor Knight's Islands, off the coast of Tutukaka, Northland New Zealand.

Honorable Mention
Kelly Bracken, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Vancouver Fireworks" D200 12-24mm
Dave Nesheim, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA, "Pelican Pose" Nikon F100, 80-400mm
Krista Heide, Kailua, HI, USA, "Sleepy Kona Sunset"
Jose Alejandro Alvarez, Santo Domingo, DN, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA, "Sunset at Golfo Dulce 2" Nikon D200 + Nikon 12-24 mm DX at the beach near Tiskita Lodge , Golfo Dulce , Costa Rica.

FIRST PLACE – Roger Carlson, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Too Many Garibaldi" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125 x2, 4900 thumbs of 388 images from Southern California
SECOND PLACE – Pete Flusser, Culver City, CA, USA, "Mosaic Seahorse"
THIRD PLACE – Pete Flusser, Culver City, CA, USA, "Octopus"
FOURTH PLACE – Judy Carlson, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Mac Clown" Olympus 5050 Ikelite DS125, taken in Chuuk
FIFTH PLACE – Patty Shales, Los Angeles, CA, USA, "Brooke"
Honorable Mention
Kelly Bracken, Redondo Beach, CA, USA, "Shark Silo" Film camera
Dave Nesheim, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA, "Revenge" Nikonos RS 50mm plus

FIRST PLACE – Jeff Leicher, Kailna – Kona, HI, USA, "Hawaiian Monk Seal", at "Lone Tree" in Kona, Hawaii with a Sony SC-100 video camera in a Light and Motion Housing.
SECOND PLACE – Charlie Oldfield, Nottingham, UK, "Horseplay"
THIRD PLACE – Robert Pecoraro, Staten Island, NY, USA, "Blue Ribbon Eel Feeding" Sony TRV-900, in Undersea Video Housing, from Lembeh Straight
FOURTH PLACE – Nick Martorano, Carpinteria, CA, USA, "Damsils with eggs" Link to Video
FIFTH PLACE – Janet Crumb, Pasadena, CA, USA, "Shrimp cleaning eel", Sony A1u in Ikelite housing with Inon Wide Angle lens set out "too far" for vignetting effect.  Taken in PNG on a muck dive.
Steven Cohen, Annandale, VA, USA, "Snapper kissing"

FIRST PLACE – Mike Boom, Oakland, CA, USA, "Of Forest & Rivers" Sony HVR-A1U, UnderSea Video Housings (USVH) Housing & Lights, Catalina and Anacapa Islands.
SECOND PLACE – Nick Martorano, Carpinteria, CA, USA, "Guardian of the Wrecks" - All Nick's video done with Sony 3CCD DVCAM PD100 - NTSC; Light & Motion Bluefin 900 housing; Light & Motion HID Sunray Pro lights; Assorted Light & Motion lenses (standard, wide angle, macro) and Macromate super macro wet lens (equivalent to +3 diopter); UW tripod, for supermacro shots; Edited on Mac with Final Cut Pro and Livetype.
THIRD PLACE – Nick Martorano, Carpinteria, CA, USA, "Macro Neighbors" Link to Video
FOURTH PLACE - Nick Martorano, Carpinteria, CA, USA, "Mantas: Angels of the Deep" Link to Video
FIFTH PLACE – Nick Martorano, Carpinteria, CA, USA, "Jelly Fish Lake" Link to Video
Allen Vogel, Manasquan, NJ, USA, "Blue Crab Blues"
Anastasia Laity, Glendale, CA, USA, "Why Dive So Cal" Sony CCD-TRV22, Top Dawg Housing, Channel Islands, California

Judges Comments

Still Images – Overall all the judges were amazed at the quality of the images in the contest. Once again they were particularly impressed with the macro category and had the most difficulty with this category. The degree of difficulty, behavior and impact of the images were often the tie breaker factors. They offered the following addition comments:
• It was suggested that entrants should remember the basics, example: eye contact, rule of thirds, diagonals etc.
• For animal portraits, eye contact is essential. Try to shoot from the animal’s ‘viewpoint’, e.g. shots of the back of animal, (or worse) the tail of an animal, or looking down are less desirable.
• All judges agreed that entrants should err on the side of under processing images.  When using Photoshop less is best, do not over sharpen or over process.  Unfortunately over saturation and over sharpening can and does detract from a good image.
• Entrants should be aware of the negative space and not leave anything in the background that distracts from the image.
• Pay attention to the difference of projected versus printed light when deciding which category to enter. Some images project better and some make a better print.
• Don’t compete with yourself. If you have more than one image of the same subject, select the best one and enter that.
• Beware of the flavor of the month. When everyone is shooting pygmy seahorses, another seahorse won't have much impact. Do not ignore the common subject.
• All judges agreed that entrants should crop wider not tighter, watch the edges of your images so as to not clip fins, people, etc. Bare in mind that odd size crops are okay. Crop to the image, odd size crops might enhance the image.
• Print quality varied widely, entrants should evaluate prints more critically. It was also strongly suggested that people not cheap out on ink and paper. Example: if you have an Epson printer, use Epson ink and paper.
• When digitally processing your images it is important to calibrate your monitors. Blown highlights etc can be helped by calibrating a monitor.
• Your subject needs room to swim into. (Nose room). Don’t have the face, nose, snout, etc. of your subject near the edge of the image.
• There were a lot of entries with very unusual or exciting subjects that were eliminated because of technical flaws.
• Be very selective about photographing divers. In more instances than not, the presence of a diver in an image will hurt rather than help it.
• Especially for novice and intermediate divers; select one style of photography and equipment and master it, rather than try to take macro, wide angle, available light, close focus wide angle, etc. styles, all at one time.

The following observations and comments were made for the video entrants to consider:
Video Raw category - Behavior was the key. They were looking for interesting behavior, not just a shot of an interesting animal.
• It is important to start and end a clip retaining only the best quality action. You do not have to use all of the time limit; it is the maximum you can enter. Consider quality over quantity and sometimes shorter is better.
• Try shooting for final edit; let the picture tell the story. Hold the shot until its finished let it play out.
• Watch your camera focus and remember to keep the lens/port clean.
• Buoyancy plays a big factor in achieving good smooth camera work.
• Try to avoid too much zooming. Carefully approach animals and use minimal zoom. Keep the animal in the frame and try swimming along with the animal, don’t chase it.
Video Open category - The judges looked for clear footage that was shot well. It needed to be interesting. For example, the shot is not as appealing when fish are shot at a distance, using a standard lens. Clarity, color, variety were important.
• Music is most effective when it matches the mood of the scene or subject. In some cases where music was used, it was distracting to have the diver's breathing in the background, this can be edited out.
• Multiple angles or close, standard and wide perspectives of the same critter would be nice, but not so much of the same critter shot only one way, that it lessens the impact or interest of the subject. Go from a macro shot to a wide shot or vise versa.
• Good quality narration is fine, but too much narration can weigh down the video.
• If submitting more than one entry, try using different voices for the narrative. Judges didn’t not score against this, but they did find it distracting
• Also, be careful with jumping around - don’t let your narrative get ahead of your shot
• Be careful with trying to be too cute or clever, as it can get old very fast. The gimmick factor doesn’t always work.
• The use of slow motion can work well so that the viewer can see fast action better. Too much of this, however would be distracting.
• Make use of the natural setting or background when shooting. Take in your surroundings and use camera angles to create interesting videos.
• Shooting the back end of animals swimming away does not have impact.
• Limit the use of special effects, transitions, and stop motion techniques. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should do it.
• Let one subject take you over to another, without cutting in between. And at times, let the subject animal leave the frame. Try to emulate professional videographers. Edit your video so that it makes a visual story, or at least to have elements that go together.
• Take the time to storyboard your video. It should be well planned and thought out. Avoid shooting without having a plan.
• Try something new and creative. Get away from the standard documentary type video.


Len Bucko, Photo Judge

lenny sized
Lenny’s involvement in photography started at a very young age when he attempted to fabricate an underwater housing for his Mom’s Brownie camera. While that experiment was not successful, Len’s curiosity and love for photography has continued throughout his life. His diverse background including twenty years of flying with the US Marine Corps as a Top Gun Instructor, serving as a commercial airline pilot with American Airlines, over forty years as a Scuba Instructor and Instructor Trainer, and years of studio photography has allowed Len to travel the world, capturing images in the air, on land and beneath the sea. Ten years ago Lenny made the switch from film/darkroom to digital/computer format and never looked back. His award-winning photos continue to be published in magazines and books from all walks of life.

Most recently in his long photographic career Len has directed his talents to the field of dentistry. Switching to the digitized computer format in the treatment rooms has left many dental personal in need of hands-on training with the use of digital cameras. Lenny is filling that need. His resume now includes successfully coaching dentists and their auxiliaries in the art of digital dental photography in the dental office as well as presenting to dental study clubs, dental societies and dental schools. His years of experience as a lecturer and educator combined with his love and knowledge of photography make Len the perfect digital dental photography coach.

View Lenny's photos, classes, and trip schedule at LenBuckoPhoto.Com

Suzy Forman, Video Judge
A California native and Stanford Graduate, Suzanne Forman once sold art for a prominent Gallery. However, her natural instincts soon took over, and she became a dive instructor and moved to Maui. In 1990, she discovered Thailand, where she and future husband Mark Strickland spent eight years together on the live-aboard M/V Fantasea, helping divers appreciate the Andaman Sea. In addition to working as the boat’s videographer, Suzy has produced the thirty minute video ‘Phuket’s Undersea Kingdom’ and contributed stock footage to various TV specials, as well as Sensational Seas. She is also a talented underwater model, gracing numerous magazine and book covers. Taking a leave of absence from the live-aboard scene, Suzy now resides in Malibu, working full time raising the couple’s five year old son, Dylan.

Erin Quigley, Video Judge
Bio coming.

Andy Sallmon, Photo Judge

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Andrew Sallmon is a freelance underwater and nature photographer specializing in images of marine life and the marine environment. His love of the oceans came at age 5 when his father first swam him through the surf of coastal California. He took up Scuba diving in 1979 and became a Scuba Instructor by the end of 1980. Picking up his first underwater camera that same year he is now one of the fortunate few that earn a living as an underwater photographer. Along with his skill as an underwater cameraman he is well known for his digital imaging and underwater photography seminars and classes and is also the sales representative for Sea and Sea U.S.A., Southern California territory. His images are featured in advertisements, catalogs, books, magazines, calendars and posters and are also displayed in aquariums and natural history museums.

View Andy's photos and private photo classes at

Mark Strickland, Photo Judge
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Growing up in Florida, Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as an ocean lifeguard, boat captain, and diving instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many of the world's best diving areas, including Thailand, where he spent 17 seasons as Cruise Director / Photo-Pro on the live-aboard vessels “M/V Fantasea” and “Ocean Rover”. Strickland now resides in California, where he is trying to adjust to cold water diving. An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species, including one named for his wife Suzanne, Reticulidia suzanneae, and his own namesake, Halgerda stricklandi.

Mark's photos and articles have appeared in magazines and books around the world, including Action Asia, Asian Diver, BBC Wildlife, Blue Planet, Calypso Log, Conde Nast Traveler, Diver, Dive, Geo, National Geographic World, Natural History, Ocean Realm, Outside, Scuba Diving, Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Sportdiving, Sub, Tauchen, Undersea Journal, Unterwasser and many others. He’s also primary photographer and co-author of Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”. Currently, he leads several dive trips each year to his favorite destinations, while working on a career-spanning pictorial book. Mark is represented by several stock photo agencies including his own, Oceanic Impressions.

View Mark's stock photography catalog and upcoming trips at