We first had the idea of creating a female-only photography competition months ago. But if we are totally honest we had no idea how to do it. How do we even create a competition? How do we get prizes? How do we get people to enter? It was enough to allow us to brush the idea under the carpet until all the answers somehow came into our lap.
But then we thought again. We remembered how underrepresented female photographers were, what a tough professional industry it was to get into, and how so many women we knew had amazing photos but just didn't have the platform to show them off.
So we worked tirelessly to find out how to hell we could pull off the first ever female underwater photography competition.
And you wouldn't believe it, but it worked! It not only worked, it smashed any expectations we had out the water. We were able to secure 4 AMAZING sponsors for our main prizes - even though we had no proof it would work or we would even get anyone entering. (THANK YOU Simply Scuba, ISOTTA, Paralenz, Emperor Liveaboards for truly believing in us) as well as offering voters choices prizes from Dive Proof and the Girls that Scuba Store.
But enough of us blubbing. Let us introduce you to the WINNERS of the first ever Girls that Scuba female-only underwater photography competition.
The winner of this category won a ISOTTA GoPro housing. The voters choice won some GTS goodies and personalised Dive Proof log book.
Winner: Joanne McGilvray
Judge Adrienne says: I can see this has been taken by a beginner and it's a great subject, a wide angle and although not perfect composition the sea lion is looking at the camera and it has quite a lot of personality. Since it is taken in very shallow water it also has quite nice light and colour which is a great example of what all new underwater photographers can achieve when starting out.
Joanne says: Playing with a Sea Lion friend at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
Voters choice winner: Mariele Crispino
Honourable mention: Corinne Klein
Corinne says: Beautiful kelp swaying in the current on a night dive off San Clemente Island, California
The winner of this category won a Red Sea liveaboard trip with Emperor Divers! The voters choice won some GTS goodies and personalised Dive Proof log book.
Winner: Sophie Grisard
Judge Adrienne's comment: While there were a lot of photos of whale sharks this one I think is really special, lit only by moonlight you can just see the hull of the boat and the plankton in the water, with a little of the reflection of the shark on the surface. The remoras on its back really seem to be moving, trying to find an attachment point to the shark, and it is so difficult to get a shot like this without losing quality in the low light. It really makes me feel a love for the ocean and for this incredible creature. It truly is magical - as the photographer says.
Winner Sophie's caption: There is some moment in the life when you feel blessed. You are living intensely now, in this particular moment. This is exactly what was happening to me when this whale shark came and visit us during the night in the back of our boat in the Maldives. He was happily feeding on plankton in the light while I was playing with my camera to find the right setting with the ambient light. Magical !
Voters choice: Andrea Kozlovic
Andrea's caption: The beautiful crystal clear Bahamian waters provided the perfect back drop for these two Atlantic Spotted Dolphins. It was a sunny afternoon in Bimini, Bahamas after a storm had blown over. These two individuals were very curious and enjoyed interacting wth each other and the divers in the water! The dolphin in the foreground is named Mia and is an identified older, female dolphin. The image was very special to me as I had just started free diving, and after many obstacles, I captured this seemingly mirror-image of these beautiful dolphins.
Honourable mention: Brooke Pyke
Brooke's caption: 'Ray Of Hope' - This was one of the very first encounters I had with a Giant Oceanic Manta (Mobula birostris). The immense beauty and elegance of these animals cannot be explained by words. Nor can their shear amount of powerful presence and intelligence. It really is not often that you can encounter an animal which when you look into its eye, the animal looks back with just as much curiosity. Manta Rays have the largest brain to body ratio of any fish and it is no wonder when you have encounters such as these. And there is nothing more thrilling than having these gentle giants swoop above you as if you were not even there. Since this first encounter I have had the chance to dive many times with Manta Rays. Each encounter with them is totally unique and I would even go as far to say that they have quite complex personalities. The personalities of the Reef Manta as apposed to the Oceanic (picture here) there is quite a difference. But it must be seen to be believed.
The winner of this category won a Paralenz dive camera. The voters choice won some GTS goodies and personalised Dive Proof log book.
Winner: Els van den Eijnden
Judge Claudia says: With beautiful images of the underwater world, this video captures the good feeling us divers get when we're underwater. It really conveys a spirit of adventure and joy and shows us great footage of amazing marine animals and underwater diversity. The editing is very creative and goes well with the chosen music. It's a film that makes me want to get into the water and go diving right now.
Voters choice: Shiela Cookie Sion
Honourable mentions: Elisabeth Lauwerys
The winner of this category won a £500 Simply Scuba voucher. The voters choice won some GTS goodies and personalised Dive Proof log book.
Winner: Eunice Khoo
Judge Claudia says: This macro photo shows a detail which is normally invisible to the human eye: the next generation of ornate ghost pipefish. Before hatching, an ornate ghost pipefish's eggs are carefully cradled in the female's brood pouch, which is formed by its pelvic fins. While the whole animal is often photographed, their eggs are incredibly small and difficult to capture. The photo masters it all - perfect focus, lighting and outstanding composition of the white animal standing out of the black background. Absolutely beautiful.
Voters choice: Daphne Koo
Daphne says: Pinky pygmy seahorse
Honourable mention: Navapan Janjarasskul
Huge thank you to our judges who picked our winners:
Adrienne is a photography and videographer aswell as a Girl that Tech Dives!She has supplied footage to CNN, ARD, Discovery and National Geographic. Her latest passion is CCR, recently reaching the pinnacle of technical diving with a certification to 100m. Silent diving fits perfectly with underwater filming, allowing her to get up close and personal with hard-to-capture marine life. Adrienne’s most enduring passion is the desire to use imagery to preserve our oceans, specifically, the fight to save sharks and rays in her adopted home of Indonesia. Her most recent highly acclaimed project "A Fish Full of Dollars"is a documentary about Tanjung Luar, Indonesia’s biggest fish market, which has been screened all over the world and won awards at a number of prestigious film festivals.
Claudia is one part of The Jetlagged action-loving filmmakers and passionate divers always on the search for adventures from the polar circle to the equator.
Claudia and her husband Hendrik consider themselves ambassadors of the sea and are fully committed to protecting the underwater world by taking pictures, shooting films and telling stories in and around the ocean, to inspire others to enjoy, explore and protect our oceans. Their documentaries have been shown on film festivals worldwide and have won international awards.
ISOTTA is one if the top camera housing providers in the world sticking out with their awesome red colour!
Simply Scuba is one of the world's largest online dive shops and good friends of GTS. We visit them regularly to look at new equipment and make fun videos for you guys, take a look at their YouTube here and see if you can spot GTS founder Sarah pop up!
Paralenz camera - designed by divers for divers. Auto colour correction, easy to use features and no filters or housing needed, the Paralenz has become one of the most talked about dive cameras out there. We have been using the Paralenz for months now and love how amazing the footage comes out - perfect for underwater videos and photos!
Dive Proof log books are water proof, grease proof, tear proof, chemically resistant and most importantly, environmentally friendly.
Girls that Scuba Hey, that's us! Did you know we have an online store and sell GTS merchandise and eco-friendly products?
Thank you to every one that entered - you are all truly amazing!
Are you interested in sponsoring our next photography competition? Give us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org