Deep in the Red Sea
BY Dan Magazine DATE 12/03/2015
The fish were silent, but the cameras were clicking: the Eilat Red Sea underwater photography competition has been gathering momentum year by year, attracting dozens of photographers from around the world. The photography challenge and the Eilat experience that have no competition.
Late at night, dozens of photo-graphers dive into the Bay of Eilat’s frigid waters. Wearing wetsuits and armed with their cameras and lights, they are well-prepared for the scene that awaits them below the surface: many species of nocturnal fish are venturing out from their hiding places, and at this challenging moment, waiting patiently, are the photographers participating in the Eilat Red Sea underwater photography competition.
The Eilat Red Sea photography competition, which was recently held for the ninth consecutive year, attracts more and more photographers from Israel and around the world who come to take part in the “Olympics” of the underwater photography world. The creator and driving force behind this competition is veteran underwater pho-tographer David Pilosof, who in the past competed in sev-eral international competitions and brought the concept of underwater fashion and nude modeling to the world of underwater photography. “It was nice to win medals and trophies in the competitions I entered,” Pilo says, “but I always felt there was something missing. A cash prize that can help you go on another photography adventure.”
Indeed, the Eilat Red Sea competition managed to cement its status as the leader in the world of underwater photography thanks to the combination of the challeng-ing photographic experience in the Red Sea and the huge incentive to win – cash prizes totaling $80,000. This year’s 82 participants, who hailed from many different countries, including the USA, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, UK, and Japan, demonstrated their underwater photography skills while strictly adhering to the competition rules: not harm-ing the natural environment or touching wildlife, and not using a computer to process the images. But, with or with-out Photoshop, the photos submitted to the competition impressed the panel of Israeli and international judges, leaving Pilo, the founder of the competition, with a feeling of immense satisfaction: “The photos get better and more interesting every year, never failing to surprise.”
Local pride: two Israeli photographers are listed among the major prizewinners this year – the first prize of $10,000 was won by Mark Fuller from Kibbutz Grofit for his five excellent photographs, the $5,000 jury prize was awarded to Uri Magnus Dotan from Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael, and the third prize was given to Yuzuru Masuda from Japan, who competed in the underwater fashion cat-egory. His winning photograph will have pride of place on the cover of the competition album.
Eilat – An Ideal Diving Site
Eilat has become one of the world’s premier diving locations, and an idyllic site for both beginners and expe-rienced divers for several good reasons. According to iDive magazine: the diving sites are within swimming distance of the beach. The underwater landscapes are startlingly beautiful, while the stable weather conditions and clear water permit diving all year round. The most popular div-ing sites include: the Japanese Gardens – the biggest and most well-preserved diving site in Eilat, the North Shore – an impressive site that includes swimming between beautiful soft corals, the Tables and Caves sites that offer fascinat-ing diving experiences, and of course the Eel Garden
approximately 80 meters from the shoreline in shallow water lies a small sand dune where an impressive number of eels live, popping their heads up to the surface.
The excitement surrounding the competition has brought many tourists to the city who are eager to experi-ence the wonders of the Red Sea for themselves while diving in the calm and tranquil bay. Eilat is prepared to help everyone enjoy this underwater experience in any way they choose – through the diving clubs mostly located by the beautiful diving sites, a visit to the Underwater Observatory, the Jules Verne Explorer boat, the Dolphin Reef, and more.
The competition is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Municipality of Eilat, the Underwater Observatory, the Dolphin Reef and international sponsors.
Written by Dan Magazine