Anilao Underwater Shootout 2017 Contest Winners
After a few days of tireless diving, swimming, and finding the right spot, the winners of Anilao Underwater Shootout 2017, oftentimes called the “World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions”, were finally announced. The awarding ceremony, which I attended, recognized the 36 winners in the fifth year of the international underwater photography competition.
A total of 173 underwater photographers from Asia, Europe, and North America joined the photography competition. All of the entries were taken in the waters of Anilao, Batangas from November 28 to December 2.
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The five categories in the competition were: Macro/Supermacro, Marine Behavior, Nudibranch, Fish Portrait, and Cephalopod. The contestants based their shots according to these themes.
These categories were each divided into two classes, the compact class and open class. The former was open to participants using cameras without interchangeable lenses, like smartphones and GoPros. The open class, on the other hand, was for professional photographers with high-end cameras.
Some participants received special awards that are not included in the aforementioned categories. Three winners were announced per category and class.
After three rounds of eliminating, selection, and finally, deliberating, the following photographers in the open class took the spotlight.
In the Macro/Supermacro category, the winners are Wu Yung Sen of Taiwan, followed by Hongchao Yao of China and Navapan Janjarasskul of Thailand.
For the Marine Behavior category, Turkey’s Cem Gazivekili took first place. Seungchul Yang of South Korea and Wen Chih Yen of Taiwan followed.
For the Nudibranch category, Gazivekili also took the first place. Second and third place are Songda Cai from China and Hakan Basar from Turkey, respectively.
In the Fish Portrait category, the photo of Wen Chich Yen earned the first prize. Austria’s Wayne Jones took the second place, and Dennis Corpuz from the Philippines won third.
Finally, for the Cephalopod category, Lilian Koh of Singapore wows everyone with her masterpiece. She was followed by Taiwan’s Wen Chich Yen, and by Peichi Chiang from Taiwan as well.
Meanwhile, these following photographers from the compact class showed that even compact and basic cameras can capture professional-quality photos.
For the Macro/Supermacro category, all the winners are from the Philippines. These are PJ Aristorenas, who won first place, and Penn De Los Santos and Ma. Nerissa Fajardo, who ranked second and third, respectively.
The Marine Behavior was won by PJ Aristorenas again, followed by Penn De Los Santos. Virginie Barfuss-Gofart of France took the third spot.
The Nudibranch category was also won by three Philippine photographers. These were the first-ranking Ronald Dalawampu, East Pardillo and Jonathan Christopher Veridiano.
For the Fish Portrait category, Philippine photographer Jorge Ida took home the first prize. In second and third place was Nancy Berg of USA, and PJ Aristorenas, respectively.
Filipinos once again took all three places in the Cephalopod category. Ian Amboy won first prize, followed by PJ Aristorenas and Eric Yee.
Special prize recipients were Ryan Berg from the US (Beginners) and Yung Sen Wu from Taiwan (Blackwater/Bonfire). Lilian Koh and PJ Aristorenas were named the DOT-PAL Photographers of the Year.
Getting to see the people behind the camera that captured those award-winning photographs was an amazing experience. I was especially thrilled during the announcement of winners in the compact category, since most of them were Filipinos, like me. I felt a sense of nationalistic pride, to see the photos of a fellow Filipino be chosen among almost 200 other people.
Seeing internationally renowned names in the photography field imbued me with honor. These are: photographer David Doubilet of National Geographic, photojournalist and biologist Jennifer Hayes, William Tan of Singapore, Tobias Friedrich of Germany, award-winning photographer Scott Tuason, and Cebu-based marine researcher Yoshi Hirata.
What made me so happy the most was that people from all over the world are able to capture and appreciate the splendor of Anilao’s waters in their respective cameras. I felt that it was proof of the universal beauty of not just the Philippines, but of nature and the world, as a whole.
This year’s Anilao Underwater Shootout (official website) was organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and co-organized by Philippine Airlines (PAL). The partners for the world cup photography competition are Nauticam and ScubaLamp Underwater Photography Equipment (SUPE). Event sponsors are PAL, Fun in Taiwan (FIT), Pacifica Dive, RGBlue, Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort, Buceo Anilao Beach and Dive Resort, Camp Netanya Resort and Spa (hotel info), Pier Uno Resort and Dive Center, Balicasag Island Dive Resort, and Azure Dive Resort (hotel info).