You don’t need to look very hard to see the talent that exists in the yachting industry. About 42 talented crewmembers around the world sent more than 160 photos and 8 videos for the 2022 Burgess Crew Photographer and Videographer of the Year in association with Dockwalk competition. The judges from BlueiProd, Burgess, and Dockwalk were faced with a difficult task to select winners, who were announced at the Monaco Yacht Show.
The winning photo is Commander by Chef Mellisa Altenburger, and the winning video is Bahamas will always be my favourite by Deckhand Riaan Robberts (which can be watched on our Instagram @dockwalk). Both winners will receive an Insta 360 ONE X2 Action camera, a Lost and Found Crew NFT membership, and features across Burgess, Dockwalk, and Boat International channels.
Crew were asked to share their interpretation of “Everyday Extraordinary” — whether it was a candid moment with crewmates, a snapshot of marine life, or a gorgeous view.
Every time that Chef Altenburger is in the water, she says that is everyday extraordinary. “You never know what the ocean will present to you on the day, and I’ve been very lucky with my experiences in the water so far,” says Altenburger, chef of M/Y Special K.
On choosing the winning photo, she says, “It was an easy choice; I always go with the photo [that] makes me feel alive at the time. This one has tranquility, depth, and power all in one. A photo points both ways in expressing your subject and expressing yourself.”
She and her fellow crewmembers enjoy spending their days off freediving and luckily have a playground of wrecks outside the marina where they are based in Nassau, The Bahamas. When the conditions are great, like they were on the day the photo was captured, they can spend hours in the water.
“I’m over the moon. This has been such an amazing experience so far,” Altenburger says. “I had no idea I would win as there are so many great photographers out there in the industry. It feels great to have something I’m so passionate about come to life.”
After seeing the adventures of a friend in the industry, Altenburger decided she needed to be closer to the ocean, after living near it for most of her life. She started her yachting career as a nanny/stew in Antibes in 2013 and is still on that boat today — transitioning through a few roles on board, including sole stew and cook stew/freedive and scuba instructor.
When she got certified for her open water in 2014, she started taking underwater photos with a GoPro and bought her Canon camera secondhand from a surf photographer in 2018. Even though she has the gear, she feels she still has so much to learn from taking photos to editing, which is what keeps it interesting to her.
For Robberts and his winning video, he started scanning through all this footage, which was just over 270 videos taken throughout his yachting career, when he found out about the competition. While there were heaps of New England footage and videos better than those he included, he decided The Bahamas was “the win” for him.
“I do the charter videos for our charter guests as a surprise gift at the end of the trip, and I always find myself flying extra afterwards to capture more moments and that’s where this video was created,” he explains. “It’s my most important surreal moments. To capture these moments and process it through the editing is such a rush! I will keep on doing it for the rest of my life!”
The M/Y Fore Aces deckhand went into the editing process with a vision in mind, making the music choice easy as well. He knew he wanted to start the video off slow, building up with a lot of speed and then slowing back down again. The moments in the winning video came from his first visit to The Bahamas. The yacht spent five months in The Bahamas, and even though five months sounds like a long time, Robberts says, in The Bahamas, it’s anything but ordinary.
“We often find ourselves bored or so distracted that we don’t look around us enough to appreciate the beauty,” he says. “Luckily, I got the camera and drone to look back and just appreciate it more.”
Ever since his uncle introduced him to the yachting world at 16, Robberts dreamed of being in the industry and began his extensive research to convince his parents it was better than studying if he made a career out of it. He has now been on yachts as a sole deckhand for a year and a half and is currently working on his OOW.
While Robberts hasn’t done any courses or received any editing training, it’s a hobby he loves to do in his free time. Yachting also introduced him to videography and photography with his inspiration starting with creator Jared Watney, who he still watches to learn and build experience from.
“It was so unexpected! There are so many great videos out there. Way better than mine because I am still a greenie with both yachting and videography,” Robberts says. “I’m so thankful and it was the perfect gift while I’m on holiday and it was my 21st.”
For the runner ups, people voted on Instagram from the judges’ shortlist. Through more than 60 comments for the photo, the fan favorite was Cloud9 is electric! by Märt Teras. The video runner up from more than 180 comments is Half the Globe by Dylan Viljoen. Both will receive a £100 Amazon voucher.