Timor-Leste Dive Photo Competition 2010

Timor-Leste Dive Photo Competition organizers Sean Borrell (far left) and Daniel J. Groshong (far right), talk with the King of Malaysia, the Honorable Duli Yang Maha Mulia Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah (Centre) during the Malaysian Dive Expo 2010.

The Hummingfish Foundation helped to plan, organized and implemented Timor-Leste’s first Dive Photo Competition from October 10th to the 14th, 2010.  60 divers from more then 9 countries where in Timor-Leste to take place in the week-long event.

This was the first dive-tourism promotional event by Timor-Leste and as a result, there is a buzz in the diving world about Timor-Leste as the next hot dive-tourism destination.

Asian Diver Magazine, Daia Discovery, Dive Discovery Magazine & Korea’s Underwater World magazine are some of the few regional publications to publish the Dive Photo Competition results

Timor-Leste Dive Photo Contest Makes a Big Splash: Winners of five separate categories won a share in US$30,000 cash and many other prizes.

Event organiser Sean Ferguson-Borrell said of the contest; “This was a unique event featuring 10 dive sites in and around the capital of Timor-Leste, Dili. The photographers were able to capture some amazing shots which will form a national archive for future use by the government of Timor-Leste.”

October 14th, 2010_TIMOR-LESTE_Petamina pier Photographer: "EunJae Im"

The week-long dive photo competition finished out on Friday 15 October with a presentation at the Palacio Lahane. The contest consisted of four separate categories (clingers, crawlers, swimmers and dweller

s) as well as a portfolio category and a series of Presidential Awards for HE President José Ramos-Horta’s selected photographs. All of the prize winning photos are to be placed online at www.underwatertimorleste.com.

First place was won by Hendra Tan, with an iridescent white seahorse, in the swimmers category. Ronny Rengkung won first place with a photo capturing the intricate concentration of a local Timorese fisherman repairing his fishing net in the dwellers category. Dewi Wilaisono won crawlers for a picture of a shrimp. Im Eun Jae, a Korean, won first place for the clingers with a beige fan coral.

The art category was a late entry into the competition, and allowed the divers to introduce any sort of editing into their photos. Gorgeous compositions abounded in this category but the eventual winner was again Ronny Rengkung with a

ghostly nocturnal photo of a turtle looking up at the shadow of a local swimmer floating on the surface.

Finally the portfolio category allowed for a series of seven photos to be entered together. The winner of this category was Lim Kay Burn. From splendid stonefish, unreal close-ups of miniscule shrimp and a most amazing shot of a local spear-fisherman proudly displaying his catch for the savvy photographer.

Photography by Ina Varella Bradridege Dwellers

The President’s awards:
Ina Bradbridge was given the gong for the dwellers category with a shot of low tide shell-fish collectors.

Brian Francisco caught the president’s attention for the cr

awlers category for a multicoloured shrimp amongst effervescent soft coral.

Isaak da Costa Residencao won a presidential medal for his incredible work, which according to Ferguson-Borrell, was instrumental to the events smooth operation.

Finally Dan Groshong, previous editor of Timor-Leste’s first ever coffee table book, was recognised for his tireless work in promotion of the seas of timor-leste.

President Ramos-Horta closed the ceremony thanking the participants. “I hope that this has been a rewarding experience and that we will do even better next time around. I hope you will come again, the photographs that you took, we will look to use in different ways to advertise Timor-Leste.

“Timor-Leste together with five other countries ma

ke up the so-called coral triangle initiative. We are those responsible for an area of the some of the richest life in the world”

“More than 100 million people depend on the coral for their livelihood, we make a commitment to preserve the nature, to preserve the environm

ent, to preserve the habitat of all of these wonderful creatures.

“Thank you all for coming and to my staff, there are so many people, I extend my most sincere appreciation for your hard work and dedication. Enjoy your weekend in Dili. Thank you. God Bless you.”

Participants in the inaugural Timor-Leste Dive Photo Competition pose for a photograph near the pool of Timor Lodge, which was home to the historic event centre.

Developing Diving in Timor-Leste
Many of the divers also spoke about the potential for a growing dive industry here. Eun Jae noted “If you are the right kind of diver, there are still many sites that are undeveloped. If you can develop a site it will be great”

Stephanie, a support diver in the competition living in Hong Kong said “I think the marine life needs to be further explored”. Gil, an Englishman by birth but based in Borneo with Scubazoo, an underwater photo and production crew was also very excited for the future of diving in Timor-Leste. “We’ve only dived a very small selection of Timor-Leste itself, and what we’ve seen is amazing, everything you could look for.” He continued to say that “There are bound to be other sites where dive operators haven’t reached yet that will be even more interesting.”

Gil also noted that “All has been very accessible, within a couple of hours of Dili itself. What else lies out there is the unknown, very exciting”. What’s more, “the migratory route just near Dili has a great many whales passing by. We hope to get out and dive with them, though whether we can photograph them will be another story – they cruise past pretty quickly”.

Photographs of Timor-Leste by Kandis Semidang

The organiser of the event was keen to point out that “with interest comes risk, Timor-Leste is in an incredible position to show the region and the world that it has something untouched, unexplored and unbelievable – it will be up to the government that this natural resource is protected.”.

“The initial event was an overwhelming success, we had 33 photographers representing nine nations”. He noted that divers had told that “other places have similar diversity, but here you only need to go 5-10m down, and only 25 off the shore”. He told me “what amazed most of the photographers was that within 10 minutes of the capital (Dili), there was a world class muck dive”.

October 12th, 2010 - Timor-Leste. A Seahorse at the Tasi Tolu dive site in Timor-Leste. Photograph by Hendra Tan

Award winners

1st Prize Clingers        Im Eun Jae
2nd Prize Clingers       Kandis Semidang
3rd Prize Clingers        Peter Teagle

1st Prize Crawlers       Dewi Wilaisono
2nd Prize Crawlers      Gil Woolley
3rd Prize Crawlers       Ricky Rusli

1st Prize ART              Ronny Rengkung
2nd Prize ART            Ivan Choong
3rd Prize ART             Ricky Rusli

1st Prize Dwellers       Ronny Rengkung
2nd Prize Dwellers     Ricky Rusli
3d Prize Dwellers       Louisa Butler

1st Prize Swimmers    Hendra Tan
2nd Prize Swimmers   Dewi Wilaisono
3rd Prize Swimmers   Kandis Semidang

1st Prize Portfolio       Lim Kay Burn

2nd Prize Portfolio     Gil Woolley
3rd Prize Portfolio       Dave Baxter

President’s choice:
Swimmers                 Kandis Semidang
Dwellers                    Ina Varella Bradridege
Clingers                     Kandis Semidang
Crawlers                    Brian Francisco
Portfolio                     Kandis Semidang

Groshong on a dive in Timor-Leste


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2 Responses to Timor-Leste Dive Photo Competition 2010

  1. Andrew Groshong says:

    Cool Lion fish. Lots of action. Love it

  2. emel says:

    hi i am very happy when i met you in Timor-Leste, you are great person in my life, thank you for your help, Mr. Dan!emel