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Underwater photo contest wants you to take your best shot

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1999-07-09

Looking to take your underwater photography skills to a higher level? Maybe you're an avid snorkeler with an eye for that “great shot,” who from time to time can capture a fantastic underwater image. If you think you have what it takes, get yourself over to the Kadena Marina and register for the "Kadena Marina Underwater Photo Contest," scheduled for July 17 and 18.

The event will judge photographs in three separate categories: novice, beginner, and advanced. The novice level is open to anyone, including snorkelers. Organizers Hans Estes and John Chandler explained that the novice category is designed to give everyone a chance to have fun in the water - no expensive cameras are necessary. The $25 entry fee will give you a choice of either two free "point and shoot" underwater cameras or two rolls of film to use during the contest. All divers who have just purchased an underwater camera for the first time, or who are just starting to learn about marine photography, are also encouraged to give their skills a try at the novice level.

Both the beginner and the advance categories require all entries to be certified in scuba diving. The beginner level is recommended for those who have little experience and perhaps has either rented a camera or owns their own equipment, while the advanced level is designed for divers who have experience in certain specialty areas of underwater photography.

To help contestants hopefully take that award-winning shot, Kadena Marina has arranged on both days of the contest for a boat to transport divers in the beginner and advanced categories to the Kerama Islands, well known for their stunning coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. The boat trip is free to anyone who has paid the $65 entry fee, and will include two dives. The entry fee also covers the cost of two rolls of ASA 100 film and developing.

"This is specifically designed with the purpose to get some of the snorkelers and beginners involved," explained Estes about the contest format, adding "We would especially like to thank Genesis for sponsoring the contest."

Prizes will be awarded for the top three photographs taken in each category at a ceremony on Friday, July 23 at the Schilling Recreation Center, starting at 7 p.m. A Genesis regulator system worth $500 will be awarded as the grand prize for the best overall photograph.

Contestants can also get some important tips during a free underwater photography clinic given by John Chandler at the Schilling Recreation Center the night before the contest, on July 16 at 7 p.m. Chandler, who teaches an "Underwater Photography Plus" class and an "Advance Photography" course every Monday night, is one of Okinawa's top underwater photographers (see Japan Update cover story; May 13-19 edition).

"The clinic is great for a person who has never bought a camera yet and wants to ask a lot of questions," said Chandler.

The "Kadena Marina Underwater Photo Contest" is open to all military and SOFA status personnel. The contest will begin at 7 a.m. on July 17, and all eligible contestants must register by July 16 at the Kadena Marina. Participants are allowed to use only two rolls of film, which must be turned in undeveloped by 6 p.m. on July 18. Photos can be taken at any location of choice within the scheduled two days.

For more information call 634-6036. For more information on classes offered by John Chandler, please call 645-6137.

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