Photosub Annual Competition 2020 – Results

Under normal circumstances, the Photosub Annual Competition entries would have been projected at the club annual meal in March, the results announced and the trophies presented during the evening. However given the unique and unprecedented events of 2020, both the original meal date in March and the revised date in September were cancelled in line with government guidelines. 

Consequently an online virtual meeting was held on Sat 21st November attended by 22 club members. This competition comprised 4 categories:

  • Green Water Macro/Close Up
  • Green Water Wide
  • Blue Water Macro/Close Up
  • Blue Water Wide

The print competition category which is judged on the evening based on members prints was removed as not being practical. A total of 132 images were submitted from 16 members.

Our honoured judge was JP Trenque, who is well known to many members as a past Chairperson of BSOUP and a previous Photosub Competition secretary. JP is an award winning underwater photographer, although has not been able to dive recently due to family and work commitments. However judging the images has rekindled JP’s urge to get wet again and hopefully we will see more of him and his images in the future.

The competition results are as follows accompanied by judges comments:

Green Water Macro/Closeup

1st Place – Martyn Guess
That’s a bit saucy!  Beautiful clean shot of the mating nudis. Great light and composition. I chose it as my winner over the tompot blenny simply because I have a lot of tompot blenny images, but very few of mating nudibranchs in the UK.

2nd Place – Jo Horrocks

There were quite a few pictures of tompot blennies and it was difficult to choose my favourite one. The obvious reason I preferred this one is the eye contact. There is so much cheekiness in this picture. But it’s also an image where the foreground, although blurred adds to the image. And more importantly, the bokeh in the background. The softness on the caudal and pectoral fins make it a much stronger shot. This could easily have been the winner.

3rd Place – Cat Briggs

This crab is just so cute. And the anemone behind it shows that there can be a lot of colours in temperate waters. A little bit more light on the anemone would probably have made this image a runner-up.

Highly Commended – Keith Lyall

Great wrasse portrait. Very nice lighting 

Highly Commended –  Keith Lyall

Another very nice UK nudibranch. 

Commended – Pash Baker

This octopus scores highly on the cuteness factor. It’s just a little bit too dark, unfortunately.

Commended – Rob White

Nice clean shot and very colourful. I turned the picture around and thought the peacock worm would have looked better as a landscape

Green Water Wide Angle

1st Place – Gill Marsh

This is very Charliehoodesque ! Bang on the dome. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Charlie had something to do with this! Cracking “in your face”, “nose on the dome” shot. With great interaction. 

2nd Place – Mario Vitalini

The fin movement gives this shark such an elegance. It’s a very arty shot and probably would have been my winner if the sun rays at the top had been a little bit more pronounced.

3rd Place – Rob White

Beautiful lighting. I like the use of the diagonal, enhanced by the sun rays in the top left. In this image, I feel like I’m floating in midwater with the compass jellyfish

Highly Commended – Martyn Guess

This pup just wants to play! It’s a great shot could easily have been in the top 3. 

Highly Commended – Martyn Guess

I like this pike. The movement is well captured. This could also easily have been one of my top 3. Why the use of monochrome?

Commended – Carole Mapstone

This shows what UK diving is mostly about. A good ol’ rusty wreck with plenty of life on it. A club diver’s dream. Great colour of the water and great lighting. I would have used the rule of thirds a bit more in this image, maybe cropping it a bit so that the pillar in the middle and the blenny aren’t so central.

Commended – Keith Lyall

That’s a very interesting shot. I like the diver with the torch. I would have added a little bit of contrast to make the blacks blacker.

Blue Water Macro/Closeup

1st Place – Martyn Guess

To me, that’s simply stunning. It’s one of the best images of commensal emperor shrimp and nudibranch I’ve seen and I would love to have an image like this one. It’s clean, simple and immediately tells a story about the symbiotic relationship. The shrimp’s eyes and elbows in the same plan as the nudi’s gills pack a lot of interesting features in the small focus window.

2nd Place – Keith Lyall

This scores 10/10 for cuteness! I remember years ago, I think it was at the Alternatives in Sharm, spending a long time at dusk watching an octopus gather shells around him and “lock-up” for the night. I found this fascinating.  Another day, still at the Alternatives with Linda Pitkin, we put our cameras down, watched and played with another octopus for ages. His curiosity won over his shyness and he interacted with us. It was one of those moments that stay with you forever. The strong composition and the very nice lighting make this a very strong image. Rather than being an octopus portrait, it tells a story. One can see the shells are used as a shelter but this tiny octopus seems very relaxed and peaceful. It’s almost as if it opens his door to the viewer.

3rd Place – Rob White

It’s probably obvious now, but I love an image that tells a story! And there is so much to talk about when I see a fish in a discarded bottle. Litter or second life? Although I should stay away from anthropomorphism, one could dwell on the fish’s expression. I love the lighting through the glass. I cropped the image slightly to see if bigger would work better but I think the dark background works very well as it is. The focus is spot on. It’s a cracking shot.

Highly Commend – Cat Briggs

That’s a very nice portrait and I love the bokeh in this image. The colours are very pleasing, and the expression the lizard fish’s mouth makes it a strong image.

Highly Commended – Mario Vitalini

Another beautiful portrait. Great composition and nice eye contact. Pushing the exposure ever so slightly might have made it a more striking shot, but this is a photo I certainly would have loved to take.

Commended – Mike Davidge

  like this image because I’ve always struggled to get a picture of an ornate ghost pipefish without burning the highlights. It’s a very nice clean shot but I would just have liked to see more context around the animal rather than a close crop.

Commended – Mike Davidge

Cardinalfish with eggs are great subjects. I love the lighting on this image and the fact that the aperture was left just open enough so that the background isn’t completely black. As the caudal fin was slightly cropped, I think a tighter crop would have made the image more “in your face”.

Blue Water Wide Angle

1st Place – Martyn Guess

I love the movement in this picture. Is it all done in camera with slow shutter speed and rear curtain sync? The expression on the shark is great too. I try not to get too tempted by anthropomorphism but sometimes, it’s just too tempting!

2nd Place – Gill Marsh

This image reminds me of why I’m missing diving so much. I used to love bobbing around on the surface or just below at the end of dives and take taking pictures of the top of the reef. That’s the kind of image that makes people want to protect the marine environment. It’s a very simple shot, full of colours and just makes you want to be there. I love it.

3rd Place – Keith Lyall

I had overlooked this image the first time I went through the slideshow because it didn’t have the striking colours that other pictures had. However, that’s another shot that makes me want to be there. I love schooling fish and they’ve given me good results in competitions in the past. I love the serenity of this image. It feels like I’m back on a trip to Sipadan or somewhere. We quite often try to avoid exhaled bubbles in our images, but here, I think they add to the image.

Highly Commended – Pash Baker

It’s a technically great shot of the turtle going through Snell’s window. The lighting is beautiful and the subject is very engaging. The only reason it didn’t end up in the top 3 is the diver and bubbles in the background which distracted me a bit from this otherwise beautiful image.

Highly Commended – Mike Davidge

This oceanic white tip reminds me of a great image Len Deeley had taken, which had quite a lot of success in competitions. It’s a great classic portrait, which is beautifully lit. I marked it down slightly because I think it’s over-sharpened. I think a slightly softer image would have been stronger. 

Commended – Joss Woolf

This is such an atmospheric shot. I like the light on the batfish. I tiny bit more light on the soft corals would have made it a lot more striking.

Commended – Pash Baker

Whales are definitely on my bucket list! I like the composition and the effort to get the animal in the centre of the sun rays. I think his image would have benefitted from more contrast and maybe even being turned into a black and white monochrome.

Thanks

Our thanks to JP Trenque for judging the competition, and for attending the virtual meeting to present his judging comments. 

These events do not run successfully without the help of a number of club members. Thanks to Martyn Guess for managing the organisation of the albeit aborted evenings, Roger Eve for providing all event communication, Keith Lyall for organising and running the competition, and Martha for setting up and hosting the virtual meeting.

Thanks to all who who entered and congratulations to all winners.

Photosub Show’n’Tell 2020

In light of the 2020 Covid-19 social distancing measures, the Photosub Club members have been keeping in contact through video conferencing. On Saturday 18th July, 24 members attended a virtual meeting for a general catch-up and to present a series of images, both underwater and topside.

12 members provided images which were presented during the meeting. Club Chairperson Martyn Guess led the meeting with each photographer presenting their images and answering questions from other club members.

There were a varied collection of images including underwater images from the film days. In addition Anthony Holley provided a short video of trout taken by putting his iPhone into the river at Mottisfont. Martyn presented a short presentation on his use of a trioplan lens to create interesting bokeh backgrounds.

Thanks to:

  • Martyn Guess for running the evening
  • Martha Tressler for setting up the video call
  • Roger Eve for providing meeting arrangement details
  • Keith Lyall for creating the slideshow
  • Jo Horrocks, Martyn Guess, Roger Eve, Wendy Eve, Joss Woolf, Peter Tatton, Keith Lyall, George Mitchell, Dario Navaro, Martha Tressler, Anthony Holley & Mike Davidge for providing images

Photosub AGM 2020

The 2020 Photosub AGM was very different due to the current COVID19 lockdown. Using video technology a virtual AGM was held from club members various houses. 20 club members attended the meeting held on Wed 15th April. This meeting had already been delayed from earlier in the year due to winter storms. 

Key points from the AGM were:

Chairmans Report

There were 4 social events during the year, all well attended and also the usual 3 competitions which once again were very well supported with some excellent quality images.

  • The 2019 dinner was once again held at the Farnham House Hotel. 33 club members and partners attended. There was an excellent entry from members with a total of 134 images across all of the categories from 17 club members and 20 prints. Our Judge for the competition was Kirsty Andrews from the Bristol Group who attended the dinner. Kirsty is a very keen UK diver/photographer and is now doing more overseas trips as well.
  • Thanks to Martha and Anthony for opening up their house for our June meeting. Those that attended had an enjoyable evening.
  • The Splash-In Competition and summer BBQ was once again held at Jo and Keith’s House in Cranleigh in September with 28 Members attended. The Splash – in entries were judged by Emma Stokes who is a professional Landscape and Wedding photographer.
  • The November meeting and Photosub Annual Open Competition was very kindly hosted by Pat Deeley. It was a very pleasant social gathering with 33 people attending. There were 44 images from 15 members projected and pre-judged by Paul Statham and Pat Williams.

Thanks to all those who attend our events and participate, and for taking such great photographs. Also, for entering our competitions and perhaps most importantly for being so friendly and sociable. My special thanks go also to your committee members who do such unsung work behind the scenes and keep the club functioning.

Treasurer’s Report

It was proposed that subs remain at £15 for diving members and £8 for non-diving members. The meeting agreed this. Subs are now due and those that have already paid were thanked.

Election of Officers

The current officers were willing to be re-elected and as no others came forward the meeting unanimously, and with relief, agreed to the following:

  • Chair – Martyn Guess
  • Treasurer – Martha Tressler\
  • Hon Secretary – Roger Eve
  • Competition Secretary and Webmaster – Keith Lyall
  • Committee Member – Bert Lee

2020 Activities

Annual Dinner: This was postponed and rescheduled to 16th October. 

Other Meetings: It might be possible to have an online meeting with photo presentations during May/June. We would hopefully be able to hold a BBQ in late August. If any members would be willing to host a meeting please contact a member of the committee. A date and venue would be explored by the committee. With the dinner in October there would not be a November meeting. We would expect to be able to hold our usual January meeting.

AOB

Keith Lyall (Competition Secretary) proposed a change to the exclusions clauses for the Autumn Competition and the Prints & Digital Competition (Annual). Current wording stated

Exclusions: Photos that have previously come first, second, or third in any national or international competition cannot be used. Photos that have achieved first, second, or third in any national or international portfolio competition can be used. Entries that have come first in any Photosub competitions are not eligible.

To encourage more diversity in competition entries Keith proposed that entries that have come first, second or third in any Photosub competitions are not eligible As recently there have been a number of repeat entries using placed images. The motion was approved overwhelmingly. The new wording will read

Exclusions: Photos that have previously come first, second, or third in any national or international competition cannot be used. Photos that have achieved first, second, or third in any national or international portfolio competition can be used. Entries that have come first, second or third in any Photosub competitions are not eligible.

There being no other Business the meeting was closed at 2100 BST.

Thanks to all who joined the meeting, to Martha for investigating and setting up the video conference and to Martyn for chairing the meeting.

Photosub Open 2019

Club members met on Saturday 16th November for the annual Open Competition. This final competition of the year pits blue water against green water, macro against wide angle. The evening was hosted at Pat Deeley’s home and was attended by 33 club members.

After the usual socialising and excellent food, 44 images from 15 members were projected. The winners had been pre-judged by Paul Statham and Pat Williams who were able to attend the meeting. Our thanks go to Pat and Paul for taking time to judge the competition and providing comments on all images, and to Pat for hosting the evening.

The winning images are as follows with judges comments in italics:

As joint judges, we each considered all entries and formed a shortlist.   We then combined our shortlists before discussing what had attracted us to them and deciding on results.  It was a very difficult choice as the original shortlist had 17 photographs and inevitably personal preferences come into play.

1st Place:  Nick Blake

A stunning image, with interesting features all over the frame combining into a coherent whole.  The positioning of the diver relative to the reflection and light rays draws the eye and gives the impression of effortless flight.

2nd Place:  Rob White

The viewer is drawn into this image by the eye contact with the fish and the models perfect positioning and focus.  Models’ eyes can sometimes look unnatural and posed in photographs but here it is as if the photographer is not there and the model is enjoying the peaceful interaction with the bumphead.

It is interesting that the photograph may not be technically perfect, with only one fish eye fully visible and the diver’s bubbles rising, but the composition, colour and exposure overcome any minor issues.

3rd Place: Nick Blake

While this kind of shot of a stingray is fairly common, what distinguished it for us was the angle from which the shot was taken. It almost looks as though the photographer dug a hole in the sand to get below the subject!  The curve of the ray’s wing is pleasing as is the reflection on the surface and the dappled light on the sand. 

Highly Commended

Peter Tatton

We loved the “graininess” of the photograph as well as the amazing subject.  We loved the way the baby is nuzzling against its mother.  Technically very accomplished as the dolphins must have been moving at speed.

Pash Baker

Appears technically perfect in terms of focus and depth of field shooting such a tiny subject with super-macro.

Rob White

Would have been placed by one of the judges despite being a relatively simple subject.  The colour and lighting are perfect.

Pash Baker

Impressive shot with good exposure.  Brightness in top right corner slightly distracting.   Again, technically very good as the subject must have been moving quickly.

Commended

Martyn Guess

Beautiful shot of photogenic subject with good colour, surface interest and feeling of motion.  Difficult given the angle but having two eyes in view would have made this even better.

Nick Blake

We loved the composition of this shot with the seal leading the eye backwards and a good sense of the environment.

Random thoughts

Jo Horrocks

This is personal preference but we found the (apparently) distorted pier leg on the left hand side very distracting.  If this had been cropped out, this photograph would probably have been placed as it shows great interaction between the fish and the photographer with great colour and surface interest.

Sue Guess

Wendy Eve

We assume these are of the same subject as boxer crabs carrying eggs are pretty rare.  Photo 10 (snooted) is obviously impressive to capture what is usually a small, skittish subject in this way but is almost hoisted by its own petard in that the snooted light is not consistent across the anemones!  Photo 31 on the other hand provides interest between the background and the markings on the crab but raises the slight concern that the subject has been moved by a helpful dive guide.  We have all been in this situation but nonetheless it left us feeling uncomfortable.

Photosub BBQ and Splash-in Competition Results 2019

28 club members attended the 2019 Photosub Club BBQ hosted by Keith & Jo at their home in Cranleigh, Surrey. In addition to the BBQ and socialising, the evening also included the results of the 2019 Photosub Splash-in. 

Images are eligible any time in July and could be taken anywhere in the UK or Ireland. This allowed for more members to participate and help get around the usual issue of the British weather preventing diving. There was a good turn out with 30 images submitted by 10 members.

In keeping with tradition we were joined by a non diving judge, Emma Stokes. Emma is a professional photographer specialising in landscape photography, wedding photography and running photography 121 courses (Emma Stokes Photography). Emma judged the images in advance and provided her picks prior to the meeting so that a final results presentation could be prepared.

Emma provided an overview of the images and her approach to judging:

Firstly, I would just like to say how impressed I was with the variety and quality of photographs taken.  I for one had never imagined such colourful species were living around our coast.  It’s a great insight into our local underwater world and I feel honoured to have been asked to judge the competition, so thank you.  I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through them.

As a landscape and nature photographer I find I am drawn to close up detail as much as the bigger picture.  I was particularly drawn to the story telling elements of the images, especially where it seemed that the subject seems to be engaging with the viewer.  Equally though I was drawn to those in which the creatures were photographed in their natural surroundings encouraging the viewer to look over the whole image. Composition, tones and light are to me the finishing touches and can make a photo really stand out when everything else is equal.

With this in mind I have carefully selected the first, second and third place and some extremely close highly commended and commended images.  I could have chosen many more!  It should be noted that it was extremely difficult to separate some of these placements and all entrants should be extremely proud of their work. What a very talented bunch of photographers!

Following a welcome from Chairperson Martyn Guess, the images were projected. After last years success, we again projected the images outdoors. The projection was followed by results announced in reverse order, including a number of Highly Commended and Commended images. 

So to the results:

  • 1st place Leeches Spider Crab by Cat Briggs
  • 2nd place Crab hiding in Jewell Anemones by Peter Ladell
  • 3rd place Seal by Nick Blake

Congratulations to the winners and thanks all that participated. 

Thanks go to:

  • Keith and Jo for hosting the event.
  • Emma Stokes for judging the competition (and helping with the washing and food layout).
  • All participants in the competition.
  • Sue, Carole, Pash, Martha, Pat, Jeanette and Wendy for providing desserts.
  • Rob and Pash for the washing up/drying, and helping with cooking the food.
  • Photosub committee members for their various roles in organising the evening

The winning images are as follows, with Emma’s comments:

1st Place – Cat Briggs

The winning image for me was this eye-catching photo of this little creature (crab?) looking straight into the camera.  There is something quite mesmerising about its inquisitive gaze and it really draws you into the photo.  This is added to by the bold centrally placed composition which really does make you take notice.  The vibrancy of the colours adds to the overall impact of the image and the floating anemone adds a graceful contrast to the scaly nature of the little crustacean.  I love the intimacy of its positioning within the anemone, a fine example of this creature in its environment.  Altogether it is a wonderful example of the beauty found within the UK waters. Congratulations on such a striking photo.

2nd Place – Peter Ladell

This photograph is such a visual treat and I love the fact that it is filled from corner to corner with colours and texture.   The well-positioned crab hiding among the anenomes gives the viewer a true feel for life under the sea and for me it was a treat to see such a colourful scene from UK waters.  It really is an excellent example of this sea creature in its environment and the photographer should be proud.

3rd Place – Nick Blake

Third place goes to this wonderful photograph of this inquisitive and playful seal.  It really is a great capture of this lovely native mammal.  It’s not very often we have the pleasure of seeing this amazing creature up close, so it is a treat to look at.  The dappled light upon the seal’s fur seems to mirror its mottled tones and it looks as though it has stopped mid-swim to look at the camera. The photographer has really captured the intelligence and the fun character of this friendly mammal. 

Highly Commended

Jo Horrocks

It took me a while to notice the crab in this picture as if the crab has become part of the camouflage of this amazing creature.  The subtle tones and close up detail of this unusual animal made it stand out and I love how It looks strangely peaceful despite being mid-feast. The photographer has really captured the striking colours of this beautiful creature which contrast with the harsh reality of nature under the sea.

Peter Tatton

This anemone stood out for me due to its vibrant colours, textures and the outstanding exposure and sharpness of the image.  The anemone looks like it is illuminated from within, but what really makes the image is the carpet of small starfish covering the floor as far as the eye can see.    What an unusual sight, again a wonderful display of stark contrasts and textures within one small area in UK waters.  It is a fantastic example of the amazing underwater world we have close to home, congratulations.

Commended

Keith Lyall

This flash of colour is quite something against the dark background.  It is quite a surreal photograph which instantly appealed to the abstract photographer in me.  There is nothing subtle about it and I love the angle of the fish and the way it is peering into the camera.

Cat Briggs

There was a lot about this photo I liked.  At a glance, the overall composition works well even without taking into account the beautiful foreground detail and provides compositional balance to the photo.  The sea urchins and anenomes provide some excellent foreground detail and colour and the last thing my eye rested on was the blue and green fish at the bottom of the photo swimming towards the camera.  All in all a wonderful photo!

Daniel Taylor

This is a superb portrait of a Blenny.  It seems a popular subject to photograph and quite rightly so. The lighting, composition and understated capture of this little fish caught my eye.  It is very well exposed with the fish lit against the dark background and the way it is resting on the sea floor as if staying out of harm’s way added to the overall essence of the photo.  

Photosub Annual Meal – March 2019

The 2019 Photosub Annual Meal was held at the Farnham House Hotel and was attended by 33 club members and partners. As always it was a very social affair, one of the key goals of the club.

Following a fine meal and drinks the annual competition was projected. This competition comprises 5 categories:

  • Green Water Macro/Close Up
  • Green Water Wide
  • Blue Water Macro/Close Up
  • Blue Water Wide
  • Prints

There was a good turnout with 134 images from 17 club members, a record for the number of different members participating. The 134 images were distributed across the 4 projected categories (GW-Macro 21, GW-Wide 30, BW-Macro 36 and BW-Wide 47) with a total of 20 prints.

Kirsty Andrews of the Bristol Underwater Photography Group attended as the guest judge. Club Chair Martyn Guess welcomed Kirsty to the event…

After discovering diving in Thailand followed by several years with Leeds University Dive Club, Kirsty used a compact camera when working as a dive guide in Croatia in 2006. However the passion really took hold when she  joined the Bristol Underwater Photography Group about 6 years ago upgrading to a DSLR. On average Kirsty does about 100 dives a year, roughly half of which are in the UK. 

Being Bristol-based her local stomping grounds are Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, but she particularly loves various sites around Scotland and does a couple of pilgrimages North each year.  Further afield she has recently discovered the delights of the Lembeh Strait and is planning trips to the Red Sea, South Africa and Canada soon.

Kirsty likes characterful portraits of marine wildlife to show off the beauty of UK seas and she appreciates shots that do that too.

An accomplished underwater photographer, Kirsty has received numerous awards including UPY British Macro winner in 2017, images recognised in UPY in 2018 and 2019, and a BIUPC winner in Wide Angle (2017) and Mankind in the Sea (2018) categories.  She has had 3 Highly Commended images in the BWPA in 2018 and won the BSoUP Best of British portfolio twice, in 2018 and 2016.

The competition results are as follows:

Green Water Macro/Closeup

1st Place – Gill Marsh

2nd Place – Joss Woolf

3rd Place – Cat Briggs

Highly Commended – Pash Baker

Highly Commended – Rob White

Commended – Gill Marsh

Commended – Keith Lyall

Green Water Wide Angle

1st Place – Rob White

2nd Place – Martyn Guess

3rd Place – Nick Blake

Highly Commended – Mario Vitalini

Highly Commended – Nick Blake

Commended – Cat Briggs

Commended – Gill Marsh

Commended – Rob White

Blue Water Macro/Closeup

1st Place – Keith Lyall

2nd Place – Martyn Guess

3rd Place – Rob White

Highly Commend – Anthony Holley

Highly Commended – Mario Vitalini

Commended – Mario Vitalini

Commended – Rob White

Blue Water Wide Angle

1st Place – Rob White

2nd Place – Mario Vitalini

3rd Place – Martyn Guess

Highly Commended – Nick Blake

Highly Commended – Mario Vitalini

Commended – Georgette Douwma

Commended – Pash Baker

Print Competition

1st Place – Martyn Guess

2nd Place – Martyn Guess

3rd Place – Peter Tatton

Commended – Gill Marsh

The Len Deeley Trophy

Following the death of club founder and driving force Len Deeley, a new trophy was created by Pash Baker and Jo Horrocks in memory of Len. This trophy will be presented on an annual basis at the annual dinner. It will be classed as a “floating trophy” and while on some occasions it will be presented based on a competitive basis defined by the committee, on others it will be presented to a club member who has supported the club and promoted its aims and goals.

Club Chair Martyn Guess introduced this years recipient …

When we discussed who to award the Len Deeley Trophy to this year it was a very quick and unanimous decision by the Photosub Committee and Pat.The recipient is one of the founding members of Photosub, a committee member and former treasurer and a stalwart supporter of the club. He was recognised by many as Len’s right hand man and behind the scenes has helped to organise many meetings and trips over the years without many of the members even being aware.

I asked a few of the members for quotes and stories and the one that stood out for me was Ken’s comment “He just gets on with the job!”. Another anonymous member said “If it is going to happen to anyone – it is normally him.

He was recognised as one of the few who would take both a full stills rig and a video rig on the same dive until he was stopped by Len!  – This was on the basis that he needed to learn how to use at least one of them!

Our award this year for his service and dedication to Photosub is none other than our unsung hero Bert Lee.

Bert has had many success’s over the years in annual competitions, winning many and even coming first and second at the annual splash in 1994. He is custodian of the prints display stands which were hand made by him. You don’t even have to ask they just appear at these events.

Famed for once leaving his rug sack with camera on the Plymouth Ferry after a splash in, blaming everyone else for taking it, only to have it returned by the skipper the following day! He also half destroyed a plant and display stand at a check in counter in Manado when he turned around sharply still wearing his large rug sack and had to be picked up to his feet from the adjoining coffee shop by some of the members here tonight. Bert still dives having travelled with Ken in the recent past to Socorro and Nabucco Island and as Ken told me Bert is still very much part of his diving family.

Everyone I have spoken to about you Bert have memorable stories of trips with you over the years but above all else they share a common gratitude for your friendship. So, with our thanks for all of your help with the club over the years Bert, please come up and accept the Len Deeley Trophy.

Pat presents the Len Deeley Trophy to Bert Lee

Photosub Award Winners

Photosub Winners (L-R): Rob White, Keith Lyall, Martyn Guess, Mario Vitalini, Cat Briggs, Pater Tatton, Joss Woolf, Gill Marsh, Kirsty Andrews (Judge), Bert Lee

Thanks

Our thanks to Kirsty Andrews for judging the competition, and for attending the meal and competition evening. 

These events do not run successfully without the help of a number of club members. Thanks to Martyn Guess for managing the organisation of the evening, liaising with the hotel, and acting as master of ceremonies, Keith Lyall for running the competition, Sue Guess for providing the balloons, Pat Deeley for creating the table place tags and presenting the Len Deeley trophy, Roger Eve for event admin and corresponding with members, Bert Lee for providing the display stands (and Bob and Chris for helping with the setup), Sue Guess and Jo Horrocks for setting up the trophy table, and to Martha for handling general logistics and finances.

Thanks to all who who entered and congratulations to all winners.

Photosub Open Competition 2018

Club members met on Saturday 17th November for the annual Open Competition. This final competition of the year pits blue water against green water, macro against wide angle. The evening was hosted at Martyn & Sue Guess’s home and was attended by 20 club members and a couple of guests.

After the usual socialising and excellent food, 33 images from 11 members were projected. The winners had been pre-judged by Jason Gregory. Jason is a keen UK diver and underwater photographer. Unfortunately Jason could not attend but provided a set of notes which were read out at the meeting. Our thanks go to Jason for taking time to judge the competition and providing comments on all images, and to Sue and Martyn Guess for hosting the evening.

I received 33 very high-quality images – my goodness you have given me a tough task! Great to see lots of ‘green water’ images among the classic tropical subjects. As we all know very well, there really is no accounting for taste – ‘in the eye of the beholder’ and all that. I have a bias towards how difficult I think the image was to take, and, as a diver most interested in UK locations, I also favour images that are, or appear to be from the UK or other temperate seas.

All of the images are very good quality which gave me a very difficult task choosing ‘winners’. In my final choosing I selected on the basis of the overall visual impact of the images. I have chosen ‘best 5’ and provided comments on all images.

Many thanks for asking me to judge this competition. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the images and offering comments. Unfortunately, its unlikely I will be able to deliver my thoughts personally. Please give my apologies.

The winning images are as follows with judges comments in italics:

1st Place: Frogfish in wide-angle landscape by Cat Briggs

Amazing lighting, the whole complicated scene is perfectly illuminated with the ambient light from the surface also perfectly captured. The shape of the sponges seems to form a shape that ties in with the structure above, and in turn provides a stage for the frogfish. Amazing content, colour, textures and forms, even small fishes arcing around the top of the frame get in to the scene. A treasure trove of a subject and photographed to the level of expertise it deserves.

2nd Place: Shrimp and Nudibranch by Martyn Guess

Snooting out (or by other means) the background may not be to everyone’s taste, but the result here is a stage spotlight on to a pair of creatures in almost theatrical garb, and both facing the crowd. It’s a stunning tropical two-for-one.

3rd Place: Scorpionfish by Jo Horrocks

Apart from a clear diagonal, this serendipitous encounter obeys no compositional rules. But, the confident hang-out of the golden scorpion fish results in a treat of colour and expression. We see natural colours and pin-sharp focus on the eye. Even the decaying weed supports dots of tiny mollusc interest. A moment well spotted and preserved.

Highly Commended

Hydroid and Amphipod by Rob White

A fascinating look into the hidden world of marine life at the super-macro level. What I assume to be a solitary hydroid, that has tiny, almost hidden, amphipod passengers. Photographic skill and marine life knowledge coming together to create a beautiful image that contains and reveals unexpected secrets.

Tube Worm by Georgette Douwma

Dainty dandelion fluffy swirls, pink forms with cyan & mint ambiance and an eye-catching vortex centre. Those familiar with these animals know how easily disturbed and lost from view. Delightful abstract prettiness.

Photosub BBQ and Splash-in Competition Results 2018

25 club members attended the 2018 Photosub Club BBQ hosted by Keith & Jo at their home in Cranleigh, Surrey. In addition to the BBQ and socialising, the evening also included the results of the 2018 Photosub Splash-in. 

Images are eligible any time in July and could be taken anywhere in the UK or Ireland. This allowed for more members to participate and help get around the usual issue of the British weather preventing diving. There was a good turn out with 31 images submitted by 11 members.

In keeping with tradition we were joined by Penny & Spike Piddock. Penny Piddock (DPAGB EFIAP) is the Chair of Dorchester Camera Club and a non-diving member of BSOUP, as well as a Western Counties Photographic Federation approved Judge. Penny lives in Weymouth within sight of the sea and has always been interested in the marine environment from rock pools to the deep ocean. Her photographic interest covers most genres but Penny a particular interest in Nature and People. Penny judged the images in advance and provided her picks prior to the meeting so that a final results presentation could be prepared.

Penny’s provided a view as how she judges images …

As with any competition for art subjects as much as the judge tries to be objective there is always going to be an element of subjectivity & a reluctance to give all the awards to equally good very similar images. This is always a problem where a group of people take photos in similar conditions of the same subjects. I have looked for pictures with good technical content but most important is the sense of originality & pictorialism. The photographer should put something of themselves into the image & present it well.

If they can show me something different & make me want to look at it several times I think it probably works as an image for others. We all think our own are good, otherwise we wouldn’t bother to submit them but we are seeing them from our own experience of the occasion & the memories that go with them.

I like to look at them all fairly quickly in the first instance then think of the ones that are so memorable I can still see them in my mind’s eye. Having the images in advance makes this possible and also the opportunity to look with a more critical eye after a day or two.

All the submitted pictures have something to commend them but I have to make choices and rate one against another. Only one person ever agrees 100% with the judge and he or she may well disagree with the comments.

I know it is not good form to tinker with another person’s image unless requested to do so but for some of these I think showing you is probably better than words. I hope you don’t mind. It is only my opinion and please feel free to ignore it & go with your own preferences.

There is very little difference between my chosen images in fact it was difficult enough to choose a  short list.  My top three stood out to me from the first viewing. Well done to the awarded images & hard luck to those who have missed out this time. I have followed a practice I use with competitions where I am not limited to 123 & a couple of Highly Commended and given Highly Commended to all my ‘held back’ pictures to give due credit to the photographers.

Following a welcome from Chairperson Martyn Guess, the images were projected. This year we tried projecting the images outdoors which was highly successful rather than members have to cram into a room. The projection was followed by results announced in reverse order, including a number of Highly Commended images. 

So to the results:

  • 1st place Lundy seal taken by Keith Lyall
  • 2nd place Jellyfish and sunburst taken at Lundy, by Nick Blake
  • 3rd place Smoothhound taken by Cat Briggs

Congratulations to the winners and thanks all that participated. Images are below …

Thanks go to:

  • Keith and Jo for hosting the event.
  • Penny Piddock for judging the competition.
  • All participants in the competition.
  • Gill, Bert, Sue and Wendy for providing desserts.
  • Rob and Pash for a great job washing up and drying.
  • Photosub committee members for their various roles in organising the evening

Winning Images

Included are narrative comments from Penny for placed images.

1st Place – Keith Lyall

Another delightful seal in its environment. Good use of mono & the seal trainer has worked his or her magic again with the apparent farewell wave to the viewer. Very sympathetic processing and excellent camera work. For me among so many excellent shots this one ticked all the boxes with a strong narrative and pictorialism combined with photographic excellence.

2nd Place – Nick Blake

Graphic shot with a super pictorial quality. I particularly enjoyed the composition and the way it fills the frame with no background distractions with the backlit tendrils. There is a black line around the body that defines it. Can anyone else see the face of Shakespeare peeping through from the back? It was a good choice to use it as to mono shot making thus enhancing the graphic quality.

3rd Place – Cat Briggs

I’m prepared to be corrected but this looks to me like a smooth-hound and is a very fine example that could be used to illustrate the fish. Perfectly situated in the frame perfectly exposed and composed so we are drawn towards the eye. Good use of wide angle. Colour looks just right. The fore-ground definition to show a bit of scale and fading off in the background is well controlled..
Nothing to distract from the fish in its location.

Highly Commended (in no particular order)

Daniel Taylor

Poser. Does the photographer give them lessons in posing? The framing by the ray sets it off perfectly against the background. The backlit whiskers shows them up well and the colour is good. Camera craft and subject knowledge very evident.

Jelly with a strong pictorial effect. The almost mono image has a translucence about it is very attractive against the dark background with the rays gently setting it off. Good use of light.

Peter Ladell

This Lion’s Mane jelly is a very fine specimen. That small fish is living very dangerously and I think although small it does add to the image particularly as it is against the plain background. The photographer has chosen the exposure well and the use of the white key line shows it has been a considered composition. I like the way the light is coming in from the top left. Excellent detail.

Beautiful colours on the Ballan Wrasse resting on the Dead Mans Fingers show the environment well. I like the position you have chosen so we can also see the holdfasts of the kelp.

Martyn Guess

Another photographer with a good eye for a pictorial image.  Good colour combinations and rays set it off well and composition is perfect.

Another lovely mono showing the effect of having a lighter subject against a dark background. This is a successful image with a strong centre of interest and a good feeling of movement. There is no doubt what we are expected to look at but at the same time we have enough detail in the background to show the environment.

Nick Blake

The sense of scale is what drew me to this one, The cave/canyon looks huge. The rays lighting the diver are important. The natural framing by the cave walls & the recession of shades through the cave adds interest.

Looks like a back-lit echinoderm bobbing along & in this case very pictorial image with a graphic shape very well observed and produced. Whatever it is what I am judging is the finished product, which I like for its simplicity.

Gill Marsh

It is a super graphic shot very different from the mono earlier but with an equally strong sense of pictorialism. The green & white work well together unnatural but in this instance appropriate for the artistic interpretation.

Jo Horrocks

A striking Mono portrait as a change from the more pictorial images. A pleasing composition and good eye contact. The whiskers are in the perfect place and you get the feeling it is going to reach out & touch you. Lovely shot.

This compass Jelly looks as if it is intent on capturing prey with all the fringing showing. The radial pattern of brown markings and the shape it forms is very attractive. For this image I don’t think it is important to have a straight surface line. The angle is a valuable for the composition.

Photosub Annual Meal – April 2018

The 2018 Photosub Annual Meal at the newly refurbished Farnham House Hotel was attended by 33 club members and partners. As always it was a very social affair, one of the key goals of the club.

Following a fine meal and drinks the annual competition was projected. This competition comprises 5 categories:

  • Green Water Macro/Close Up
  • Green Water Wide
  • Blue Water Macro/Close Up
  • Blue Water Wide
  • Prints

There was a good turnout with 121 images across the 4 projected categories (GW-Macro 19, GW-Wide 27, BW-Macro 43 and BW-Wide 32) and a total of 20 prints. The standard of images was very high and shows the development and passion of club members.

Charles Erb of the Bristol Underwater Photography Group attended as the guest judge, accompanied by his wife Niki. Club Chair Martyn Guess welcomed Charles and Nicki to the club meal …

Welcome Charles to Photosub and thanks to you and Niki for coming tonight and for judging our competition.

 Charles has been taking photographs since he was 10. He has been diving for over 30 years but had to wait for a while before he could afford an underwater camera rig. He has been taking images under water for around 20 years, starting as many did with a 35mm film camera and all the restrictions that imposed. Having embraced the Digital world he now uses a Nikon D500.

He is primarily a UK diver, a member of the Worcester branch of BSAC and a member of the  talented bunch of underwater photographers who make up the Bristol group. He regularly takes off in his  camper van along with his regular dive buddy Trevor Rees and also people like Rob Bailey and Kirstie Andrews to various places around the UK including the wonderful Scottish lochs. Charles believes passionately that divers and photographers have a duty to protect and promote the beauty and fragility of the marine world.

Charles had his 1,000thdive last year at Marsa Shagra in Egypt, a prize he won by winning the overall award at the British And Irish Championships 2015 run by BSOUP. His winning image was an in -camera composite taken in Loch Long SW Scotland. Charles has a passion for skeleton shrimp amongst other subjects having recently written about them following a dive in Loch Creran. Charles also co writes  a monthly photography column in Scuba magazine and gives talks to camera and dive clubs His photographic work regularly appears in the UK diving press.

Charles responded to the evening and competition …

It has been my pleasure and no small responsibility to judge the work of the Photosub underwater photography group as guest of honour at their annual dinner. It was my task to pick out winners in advance from the four digital categories and on the evening from the print competition. As a photographer it was humbling to pick out winners from such a high standard of work, but also a valuable experience to objectively critique the work of others. Thank you, Photosub, it was a pleasure to be the guest of such an active, passionate and talented group of underwater photographers !

The results are as follows:

Green Water Macro/Closeup

First Place - Keith Lyall

First Place – Keith Lyall

2nd Place - Gill Marsh

2nd Place – Gill Marsh

3rd Place - Pash Baker

3rd Place – Pash Baker

Commended - Cat Briggs

Commended – Cat Briggs

Green Water Wide Angle

1st Place - Rob White

1st Place – Rob White

2nd Place - Gill Marsh

2nd Place – Gill Marsh

3rd Place - Cat Briggs

3rd Place – Cat Briggs

Highly Commended - Pash Baker

Highly Commended – Pash Baker

Blue Water Macro/Closeup

1st Place - Martyn Guess

1st Place – Martyn Guess

2nd Place - Sue Guess

2nd Place – Sue Guess

3rd Place - Martyn Guess

3rd Place – Martyn Guess

Highly Commended - Keith Lyall

Highly Commended – Keith Lyall

Highly Commended - Jo Horrocks

Highly Commended – Jo Horrocks

Blue Water Wide Angle

1st Place - Gill Marsh

1st Place – Gill Marsh

2nd Place - Martyn Guess

2nd Place – Martyn Guess

3rd Place - Rob White

3rd Place – Rob White

Highly Commended - Keith Lyall

Highly Commended – Keith Lyall

Prints

1st - Martyn Guess

1st Place – Martyn Guess

2nd Place - Chris McTernan

2nd Place – Chris McTernan

3rd Place - Cat Briggs

3rd Place – Cat Briggs

Commended - Gill Marsh

Commended – Gill Marsh

Photosub Award Winners

Photosub Annual Competition Award Recipients

Photosub Annual Competition Award Recipients (L to R): Pash Baker, Rob White, Cat Briggs, Chris McTernan, Charles Erb (Judge), Gill Marsh, Sue Guess, Keith Lyall, Martyn Guess

The Len Deeley Trophy

Following the death of club founder and driving force Len Deeley, a new trophy was created by Pash Baker and Jo Horrocks in memory of Len. This trophy will be presented on an annual basis at the annual dinner. It will be classed as a “floating trophy” and while on some occasions it will be presented based on a competitive basis defined by the committee, on others it will be presented to a club member who has supported the club and promoted its aims and goals.

Club Chair Martyn Guess introduced this years recipient …

The committee of Photosub and Pat Deeley agreed unanimously  that the Len Deeley trophy should be awarded this year to someone who has served the club particularly well over the difficult period since Len’s untimely and unexpected passing.

Our winner this year stepped into the huge void that was created and did a fantastic job of both chairing the club at a difficult time and finishing off the organisation of the exhibition  held in the guildhall in Guildford to celebrate Photosub’s 25 year anniversary. An exhibition which truly demonstrated the photographic talent in this club and was particularly well received by friends and the public at large.

 When you think back Len did nearly all the organisation of the meetings, the annual dinner, the splash ins and since he died  our winner has helped to create a club that is now administered by a selection of committee members with differing responsibilities that all combine to run things for the benefit of the members This years recipient is Bob Soames.

The trophy was presented to Bob Soames by Pat Deeley.

Presentation of the Len Deeley Trophy by Pat Deeley to Bob Soames

Presentation of the Len Deeley Trophy by Pat Deeley to Bob Soames

Thanks

Our thanks to Charles Erb for judging the competition, and to his wife Niki for attending the meal and competition evening. 

These events do not run successfully without the help of a number of club members. Thanks to Martyn Guess for managing the organisation of the evening, liaising with the hotel, and acting as master of ceremonies, Keith Lyall for running the competition, Sue Guess for providing the balloons, Pat Deeley for creating the table place tags and presenting the Len Deeley trophy, Roger Eve for event admin and corresponding with members, Bert Lee for providing the display stands, Sue Guess and Jo Horrocks for setting up the trophy table, and to Martha for handling general logistics and finances.

Thanks to all who who entered and congratulations to all winners.

Photosub AGM – 2017

The Photosub 2017 AGM & Social Meeting was held at Pat Deeleys home.  There was a good turnout with 20 members attending. The AGM was held at the start of the evening, followed by a fantastic chilli (thanks Mario) and a variety of puddings. The evening concluded with projecting images from a number of club members (Martha, Anthony, Joss, Dario, Maria, Georgette, Jo and Keith)

My thanks, as ever, to everybody for coming along and to those that brought images to share. Particular thanks go to Pat for hosting the evening, ably assisted by Mario and Ann, and to those who provided the puddings.

The key points from the AGM were:

  • It was agreed that subscriptions for Full Members remain at £15, and for Social Members (non diving) at £8. 2018 subscriptions are now due.  Electronic payment to the Photosub bank account if possible please (HSBC; account # 61212605; sort code 40-27-07). Please let Martha know of any payments.
  • It was agreed that the Splash-In competition period remains at approximately four weeks, as it did in 2016 and 2017, timed to allow images to be judged for the BBQ meeting.  The area to be dived will remain anywhere in UK or Irish waters.  For 2018 the competition period will be the month of July with a deadline for images to reach Keith by midnight 31 July.
  • 2018 Committee Members
    • Chair – Martyn Guess
    • Secretary – Roger Eve
    • Treasurer – Martha Tressler
    • Competition Secretary – Keith Lyall
    • Committee Member – Bert Lee

Keith Lyall will continue to manage the club website

Thanks go to the outgoing Chair, Bob Soames for steering the club through a difficult time with the deaths of Len Deeley and Kam Arya, and for his drive and enthusiasm in ensuring the success of the Photosub 25th Anniversary exhibition.

  • Club Constitution – The Committee was required to provide a Photosub Constitution in order to update the club bank account with HSBC. This was drafted from the BSOUP constitution. The constitution was agreed by the AGM. It was discussed that should the Photosub club ever fold, that any club assets could be donated to a charity organisation. Any final agreement would be made at the time of club dissolution.

2018 Events

  • Club Annual Meal – Farnham House Hotel (Sat 7th April 2018). 
    • Meal choices and payment details will be sent out in the near future.
    • Keith will provide initial details for the competition entries in the near future.
    • The guest judge is Charles Erb. 
  • Spring Meeting – Georgette Douwma (date tba)
  • BBQ Meeting & Splash-in Results – Keith & Jo (Sat 11th August 2018)
  • Autumn Meeting – Grant Pearman OR Pash & Rob (November time, hosts and date tba)

2018 Diving Opportunities

To provide more opportunity for people to dive together is was suggested that:

  • Anyone organising a trip can advertise to members by contacting one of the committee so a club wide email can be sent.
  • Individuals planning to dive would not necessarily organise a group boat, but could post details of bookings they have made and leave it for individuals to book onto the same boat.