Bluewater Photo in Culver City, California runs an annual underwater photography contest they call the So Cal Shootout. In this shootout, participants are given a 36 hour period to take images and submit them for judging. The photographs cannot be manipulated digitally, and can only have a few global changes made to them such as adjustments in contrast, exposure, and clarity. No removal of backscatter is allowed and no cropping. This year I entered eight photographs. The judges smiled in my favor and awarded me first place in the open macro category for this image I took of an octopus eye.
Underwater photographers gathered during these three days to photograph everything from tiny nudibranchs to large schools of baitfish. You can view all the winning photographs HERE. Of course, there are many more images that didn’t win a place. A few of my other entries can be seen below.
Underwater Shootouts are a fun way to test your skills and get to know other underwater photographers. Though the prizes are certainly a big motivation, just participating in the contest for the experience would be time well spent.