Underwater Photography Challenge write up

Today was our inaugural photo fishing competition which was held at Point Addis, the first of three. In an attempt to meet the interests of our members and show that there are more ways to enjoy the ocean than just what we can take home to eat, we’ve decided to run an aggregate photo fishing comp. As these are no take competitions we decided to hold them in Marine sanctuaries, areas where you’re not allowed to bring the usual gear such as spearguns and forbidden to collect anything.

The idea behind competitive photo fishing is very similar to a spearfishing competition. We have a score sheet with different species sorted in different point grades, but instead of shooting them with a speargun we shoot them with a camera. Additional points are awarded based on how close the fish is and centering of it in the photo.

The comp was originally scheduled for the weekend before but the conditions weren’t favourable so we decided to postpone it rather than risk a very ordinary dive with poor visibility. As it turned out after a week with dropping swell and favourable winds, we had made the right decision. The forecast was promising.

We arrived in the morning to very flat conditions on the east side of the point . The point itself and the west side was still getting hit with consistent chopping swell and what looked to be about 3m viz from the surface. We had to make the call on going out here or heading over to Eagle Rock but as we hadn’t dived Addis before but have done Aireys extensively we opted for something new.

The entry point was midway down the point on the east side. We made our way out to beach and started to swim out. Some opted to swing out wide and head towards the point whilst others kept in close. I was starting to question our decision as the viz was pretty murky and there wasn’t much life around but as I got close to the point my fears were put to rest.  The visibility was increasing and I was greeted by some friendly photogenic resident sweep.

By this time we had all managed to come close together around the point. Better structure was to be found here with deeper ledges and a wider variety of marine life. I was easily distracted taking lots of close up shots of a few big sweep when I noticed I was in a group of divers and decided to hightail it out further south.

Covering sandy stretches the viz would increase out to at least 6 meters but upon hitting the reef silt in the water was stirred up and visibility dramatically decreased.

Not having much luck further out I headed back to the point and explored from the east side to the west side which got very shallow with poorer viz. Upon turning around and finding some nice kelp beds I realised that I had run out of battery and decided to head back in. A 6 hour comp with a 1.5 hour battery life….yeah :'(

Being the first to exit the water, I took a few happy snaps from around the point and marveled at how much it had cleaned up in just a couple hours. I reviewed my photos thinking that I had at least 7 or 8 species only to realise that when I thought I was taking all these really cool photo’s, I wasn’t taking any.

I fired up our trusty ‘side of the road’ BBQ and started cooking while the other divers exited and started to sort through their photos and here I took my best photo for the day.

Results for the day were:
1st: Gerard – 10 species – 100.00 points
2nd: Richard – 11 species – 93.54 points
3rd: Russell – 7 species – 75.80 points
4th: Scott – 10 species – 74.19 points
5th: Hayden – 2 species – 20.96 points

A big thank you to those who attended, it was a really great day and a fun way to enjoy the ocean. Be sure to check out our instagram page for some of the photo’s from the day.


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