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


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


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.

Photosub Open Digital Images Competition 2017

Club members met on Saturday 18th November for the annual Open Digital Competition. The evening was hosted at Joss’s home in London and was attended by 25 members. After the usual socialising and excellent food (thanks to Joss’s usual culinary high standard), 39 images were projected. The winners had been pre-judged by Nick More. Nick has had a number of successes in recent underwater photographic competitions and produces high impact images. Unfortunately Nick could not attend but provided a set of notes which were read out at the meeting. Our thanks go to Nick for taking time to judge the competition.

Thank-you very much for asking me to judge the Photosub ‘Open Digital Images’ Competition 2017. I took the task seriously and judged according to my tastes in UW imaging. I was looking for technical excellence, of course, along with artistic merit, composition and overall ‘feel’ and impact of the entries. I revisited the images on 3 occasions, on 3 different days & I viewed the images on a large, high quality screen. I then made a shortlist and deliberated for long periods before deciding on the 3 placings, one highly commended,  as well as three commended images (in no particular order!) I wish I could have picked joint winners as it turned out I was torn between a wide-angle shot and a macro shot. Tough choice!


The results were as follows:

1st Place: Shoaling striped catfish by Pash Baker


Block busting frame filler. Eyes, stripes & whiskers. A common subject & composition but orchestrated very well. Good depth of field & even lighting allowing amazing eye contact from most if not all the catfish. Impressive!! – Just take a minute to look at each individual fish! A similar (not as good as) picture by David Doubilet recently garnered over 500,000 ‘likes’ on the Nat Geo Instagram feed. This was my favourite macro shot and & my favourite shot of the competition. A deserved winner.

2nd Place: Blue Spotted Ray by Mario Vitalini


I loved the technique to ‘spot-light’ this beautiful blue-spotted stingray to really allow it to take centre stage. The distant blue gives real depth and atmosphere to the picture, although I found the background a little dark. This is a shot that shows real technique & patience to approach a potentially very skittish creature. In fact, its wing tip, upturned suggests it’s just about to take flight. On deliberation, this was the best of the wide-angle shots and a very, very, very close runner-up.

3rd Place: Seahorse by Martyn Guess


Back-lit thorny sea-horse. The snooted back-lighting shows off of this iconic critters shape & texture as well as its stunning yellow colour against a black background. Very clever technique to eliminate the messy substrate they normally reside in & allowing the subject too really ‘pop’ in the frame. This image is simple in appearance but graphically very strong with it being instantly recognisable, the only slight detraction is that it’s turning ever so slightly away from the camera.

Highly Commended

Blue Shark by Jane Morgan


An intimate portrait of a Blue Shark showing great detail of its eye, teeth and ampullae of lorenzini. Lovely oily surface and a hint of green water complete the shot.


Ribbon Eel by Sue Guess

Open2017-JSue Guess image 1

Snoot-lit Ribbon eel. This shows great technique to isolate this charismatic critter from it often very distracting background. Good focus & timing to catch the peak of the action moment with its mouth open.

Blue Shark by Martyn Guess

Open2017-Jmguessphotosub 2017

Blue sharks are one of my favourite subjects. This is obviously shot in sunnier climes than Cornwall due to the presence of pilot fish. These really add to the shot. I love the almost metallic sheen of the shark against beautiful blue water and the surface gives perspective and along with the position of the animal within the frame, makes the shot.

Giant Moray Eel by Mario Vitalini


Superbly controlled, selective lighting on this head-on portrait of a moray eel really makes it appear as if it’s jumping off the screen. Good eye contact and gnarly texture make this a very engaging, it not slightly terrifying portrait. I love the dark chasm of its mouth agape with a hint of its vicious teeth on show. The author has turned an everyday animal found on most red-sea dive sites into an interesting and dramatic character, suitable for any horror movie. Excellent.

Photosub BBQ and Splash-in Competition Results 2017

Approximately 20 club members attended the 2017 Photosub Club BBQ which was hosted by Godfrey and Judith Bevan at their home in Battle, East Sussex. A warm sunny evening allowed members and guests to relax and enjoy the surroundings of the Bevan’s lovely garden. In addition Les Kemp and his wife Diane were invited as they now live in Battle. Some members will remember Les from the early Cranleigh Club days.

Following the success of recent years, images were eligible from 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 were 21 images submitted by 8 members.

In keeping with tradition we were joined by Rick Moye and his girlfriend Jayne. Rick is a local professional photographer specialising in landscape photgraphy. Rick judged the images in advance and provided his picks prior to the meeting so that a final results presentation could be prepared. Rick was very impressed by the overall standard and particularly surprised at the colour in the images; his expectation had been of very dull images, so congratulations to all participants.

Following a welcome from Chairperson Bob Soames, the images were projected followed by results announced in reverse order, including a number of Commended and Highly Commended images. Rick provided narrative comments against his selections.

So to the results:

  • 1st place Plane wreck and diver, taken at Vobster by Keith Lyall
  • 2nd place Split-shot of seal taken at Lundy, by Gill Marsh
  • 3rd place Brittle Star by Peter Ladell
  • Highly Commended Tompot Blenny taken at Swanage by Jo Horrocks
  • Commended Jellyfish, taken at Lundy by Martyn Guess
  • Commended Jellyfish, taken by Peter Tatton
  • Commended Seal, taken at Lundy by Gill Marsh

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

Thanks go to:

  • Godfrey and Judith Bevan for opening up their house for the event, and to their daughter Xanthe and partner Gavin for helping with the catering.
  • Godfrey for organising the judge.
  • Rick Moyes for judging the splash-in competition.
  • All who provided desserts.
  • All participants in the competition.
  • Pat for the loan of the projection screen.
  • Photosub committee members for their various roles in organising the evening.

Winning Images

First Place - Keith Lyall

First Place – Keith Lyall

Taken at Vobster in Somerset, the nose section of the plane sits at about 14 metres. 2 off camera strobes were located just behind the windscreens of the cockpit. The shot was taken in essentially natural light with just enough power to trigger the off camera strobes. Channel mixer adjustments we made in Photoshop to remove the typical greenness associated with UK wide angle shots.

2nd Place - Gill Marsh

2nd Place – Gill Marsh

3rd Place - Peter Ladell

3rd Place – Peter Ladell

Highly Commended Images

Highly Commended - Jo Horrocks

Highly Commended – Jo Horrocks

Commended Images

Commended - Martyn Guess

Commended – Martyn Guess

Commended - Gill Marsh

Commended – Gill Marsh

Commended - Peter Tatton

Commended – Peter Tatton


Kam Arya

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of friend, fellow diver and photographer Kam Arya. Kam had been battling with cancer for the past couple of years, but in typical Kam style downplayed his condition. Kam passed away on Saturday 1st July with his family around him, at the Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford.

Tributes received from those who knew Kam were in universal agreement that the world has lost a real gentle man and friend. This is summed up by the following email …

What very sad news about Kam. He was a real gentleman and always so humble. I had a feeling that he downplayed his condition when we last exchanged emails.


I have very fond memories of Kam when in Bali on one of Len’s trips. Kam was sharing a cabin with Bert, next door to myself and Carol.  As Kam had brought ‘good’ coffee with him, we persuaded him to make us a cup after dinner and joined them both in their cabin. There was lots of laughter and too many late nights!


I will be away and not able to be at Kam’s funeral, but will be thinking of him, his family and friends that day. A great loss of a lovely man.


Kam was always active whether through swimming, cycling or diving. For his 66th birthday he cycled across America on Route 66, an astounding 2400 miles … quite a feat. Always the optimist Kam had a positive view of life and made friends wherever he went. Kam greatly supported Photosub over the years and served on the committee as Club Treasurer and will be missed by all who knew him.


KamArya_003 KamArya_002 KamArya_001

Photosub Annual Meal – March 2017

The 2017 Photosub Annual Meal at the Farnham House Hotel was attended by 44 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 147 images across the 4 projected categories (GW-Macro 25, GW-Wide 27, BW-Macro 51 and BW-Wide 44) and 40 prints. Paul Colley, Chairman of BSoUP attended as the judge, accompanied by his wife Vinny.

Comments from Paul are:

Overall It was a great competition to judge, because the image standard was high, including the quality of post-processing. For those interested in process, it was one of gradual elimination: the first cut comprised all images that caught my eye from an artistic perspective and which did not have any obvious technical errors at point of capture or in post-processing; the second cut survived more detailed scrutiny and those which passed this stage received a commendation or higher. Subsequent stages were searches for originality of subject, viewpoint or technique and finer points of artistic presentation. Although this is where subjectivity tends to increase, I do use a formal framework for artistic evaluation. 

Technical Although the overall technical standard was impressive, some images had backscatter strong enough to detract (some is natural and acceptable). A few had been cropped to an extent that image quality might have been degraded. And some wide angle images suffered from blown highlights. There were a couple with soft focus or inadequate depth of field. Finally, there were some lighting errors, particularly in wide angle images, which made it too obvious that artificial light was in play. Some images had been over-manipulated, most commonly by heavy boosting of dark tones, which removed too many subtle shadow details in an attempt to improve the overall contrast. Aligning contrast with artistic intent can be a fine line to tread in post-processing.

Artistic Some images had critical amputations of subjects or peripheral objects of high visual weight at the frame edges, which tended to pull the eye off the principal subjects. Viewpoints were generally well chosen and I was impressed with the variety, but in some cases receding subjects or lack of eye contact weakened viewer engagement. A few shots were leaning towards side-on ID style photos which, if not countered by strong dynamics, such as a striking colours, patterns or diagonals, tended to look a bit two-dimensional. 

The results are as follows:

Green Water Macro/Closeup


Image 09 (Nudi) First Place – Rob White Viewpoint and lighting give this image a colour and glow that makes shows the subject off to maximum extent. Its habitat is included, but not distracting. There is a light blue glow behind the nudi; either a backlight or a reflection from front light. But the subject was so strongly rendered that I only saw the potential distraction after my third view, so considered it not to be one! A really beautiful image.


 Image 02 (Hermit Crab) Second Place – Jane Morgan Very well framed against a pretty background, this crab looks relaxed but still has attitude and it engages the viewer strongly. From a technical perspective, it’s flawless. The feeler crossing the eye is a very minor compositional distraction, but overall a great capture of a cool critter in its environment, reinforced by the pinks inside the shell.


Image 18 (Tompot Blenny) Third Place – Peter Ladell Although side on and not fully engaging the viewer, the combination of good framing and lighting provides striking colour and enough habitat detail to make this image work well. It’s razor sharp and colourful at the critical points, so the viewer gets pulled in to the subject.

Green Water Macro/Closeup Highly Commended


Image 04 (Velvet Swimmer Crab) – Keith Lyall It’s a busy background, but the lighting and post processing are well controlled to let this crab create its presence. The timing to capture offset claws adds dynamism and this subject always pulls your eyes to his if you get the focus and lighting correct, which the photographer has.


Image 12 (Nudi) – Peter Ladell Lighting, viewpoint and depth of field make the subject positively leap out at you. I think diagonals coming right out of a corner have less impact than those which are offset (landscape photographers will tell you why). And I felt that having one rhinophore out of focus detracted slightly. But well worthy of a highly recommended award.

Green Water Macro/Close Up Commended


Image 19 (Crayfish) – Chris McTernan The central but diagonal composition increases the impact of the crayfish facing up to the viewer and it’s a sharp image. I thought that the lighting was not quite right, but could have been corrected in post processing by pulling back some highlights top right; the eye finds too much detail there too easily. But a good portrait of a creature with attitude.


Image 25 (Nudi) -Cat Briggs This is a subtle and effective composition to show a creature in its habitat. There are lots of curves that lead you in to the brightly coloured and well lit subject. The placement along the lower third works well and helps to ground and balance the image, although I thought it might have been stronger still by using either a classic thirds intersection or a dead centre lower third. It seems to sit between the two, but it’s a minor point; I think this is a great image.

Green Water Wide Angle


Image 04 (Blue Sharks) First Place – Pash Baker The light has worked in this image to set a lovely background for two contra-rotating sharks, each showing a sinuous sweep of body and tail. It’s the kind of image I would hang on my wall and certainly one that makes me want to be in the ocean.


Image 22 (Seal Split Level) Second Place – Gill Marsh The photographer has worked hard to capture interest above and below water, creating a very strong image. The seal’s eyes do not pop out strongly at first and the creature looks a bit wary, but the overall impression is of a beautiful scene that you want to be part of. Top marks for getting this technically-difficult image well executed in tough conditions.


Image 03 (Seal and Diver) Third Place – Nick Blake Although I did not like the diver’s fin being exaggerated so much by the forced perspective of a wide angle lens, the seal’s position and expression is so strong that you cannot help but be drawn in to this image. It tells a story about our photography too. Well lit and nicely timed; a super image.

Green Water Wide Angle Highly Commended


Image 18 (Blue Sharks) – Rob White Although this image lacks a bit of contrast due to the subdued and very diffuse natural light (presumably due to cloud), it is superbly timed to catch the contra-rotation of the sharks, which both have exquisite, dynamic postures. If luck (and light) had been with the photographer, it could have been a stunner.

Green Water Wide Angle Commended


Image 09 (Young Seal) – Gill Marsh The low framing and forced diagonal help this composition, which is well lit. The seal’s eyes do not fully engage the viewer, but there is enough facial interest, especially the teeth, and a few bubbles just burped by the baby seal, to keep people interested.


Image 14 (Compass Jelly) – Rob White The very deliberate choice of viewpoint exploits strong backlight, which really strengthens this image. I would love to have seen it against pure blue; the edge of Snell’s window to the left needed to be stronger or not there at all. As it stands, that and the backscatter ended up as a distraction. But the combination of yellow on blue and strong light makes this image grab the viewer’s attention.


Image 20 (Blue Shark) – Pash Baker The light ripples, a fin cutting the surface and the reflection are all strong compositional elements. There are some minor distractions: a lot of backscatter, a very tight framing bottom left and a perspective forced by the lens that is tending towards the ‘tadpole effect’ when this close in. Nevertheless, it’s a strong image and commended.

Blue Water Macro/Closeup


Image 39 (Goby with parasites on whip coral) First Place – Anthony Holley The orange-on-black, diagonal composition and tack sharp focus with a generous depth of field give this image lots of initial punch. The parasites bring additional interest and a story stronger than many others of this type in circulation. Simple, but very effective use of colour and subject to create high visual impact.


Image 32 (Crab on soft coral) Second Place – Bob Soames Good lighting, perfect depth of field and a square crop all help the crab to pop from its background context, yet still allow enough of the coral to help tell the story. The light against dark heightens the natural contrast and the image is razor sharp. I like the inclusion of a small strip of (dark) water column to the right, which reinforces the dynamics of the image. A well executed picture that was close to the winner in overall impact.


Image 49 (Scallop eyes) Third Place – Peter Ladell There is a strong abstract feel to this image with a sharp focus that brings out the eyes, texture and colours where it matters. I might have reduced the highlights at the edges and perhaps tried a stronger diagonal composition too, but it was great to see something different and with a close viewpoint that drew the viewer right in.

Blue Water Macro/Closeup Highly Commended


Image 9 (Moray) – Cat Briggs Differential lighting, viewpoint and post processing worked very well to make this subject engage strongly with the viewer. It’s a simple but effective picture with the key elements in sharp focus. The foreground symmetry suits the central framing and strengthens the composition. I wondered whether the processing could have left in some subtle hints of the creature’s lair for context, but it’s a minor subjective point. A strong image.


Image 29 (Purple Rhinopia 2) – Martyn Guess The foreground context is more subtle in this image than the previous one of a similar subject, so I immediately felt the full impact of the colour and patterns that comprise this very interesting subject. It is a side-on image, but arguably the subject merits this viewpoint to show the colour and patterns to good effect.


Image 33 (Shrimp on Crinoid) – Mario Vitalini This is a classic thirds composition that exploits good lighting, a great background and a colourful subject looking into the frame; all to wonderful effect. It was the image that first caught my eye when I opened the files. It appears slightly less sharp than those that made the top three, but has high impact.


Image 36 (Cleaner shrimp on Moray) – Martyn Guess At first pass, this image felt a little messy, because the moray’s eyes are out of focus. However, the shrimp is sharp and the moray here is a secondary subject. What works exceptionally well is a nostril being bent down by the shrimp and an apparent lip-curling grimace from the moray. I felt his pain at having his nose tweaked and this image made me laugh. A really good behaviour shot.

Blue Water Macro/Closeup Commended Images


Image 05 (Nudi) – Bob Soames A very striking image from a great viewpoint. The colour and pin-sharp rhinophores engage the viewer. I felt that the elements leaving the frame were sufficiently in focus to pull the eye to the edges, but I liked the overall image.


Image 10 (Nudi) – Bob Soames The viewpoint, depth of field and well-controlled light picking out the colour all help to isolate the subject. A super composition.


Image 26 (Shrimps in a sponge) – Keith Lyall Great engagement with good lighting and focus on the subjects to pick out the fine detail and colour, whilst retaining the overall context. The snoot or post-processing dark vignette was for me a little heavy and gave image a slightly artificial feel. But the subjects pop and it is technically well executed.


Image 30 (Damselfish tending eggs) – Gill Marsh A fine behaviour shot in sharp detail at the peak of the action. Very good composition too, with the diagonal egg-bearing structure crossing the frame edges at the right places. The colours, for some reason, are a bit muted and this is one image that could have stood a little more use of darks and shadows to really accentuate the subject. But a great capture.


Image 38 (Catfish school) – Pash Baker I loved this image and was pleased to see use of a creative technique to try and accentuate movement. The school nicely runs right to the frame edges and the light picks out the important little details like the whiskers. I also liked the diagonal composition.


Image 40 (Purple Rhinopia 1) – Sue Guess The photographer nicely isolated a very cool subject with good lighting to reveal the dominant aspects of the composition; shape and colour. The green foreground is part of the context, but a little distracting and it might have benefited from some subtle (additional?) reduction of competing contrasts in that bottom part of the frame.

Blue Water Wide Angle


Image 34 (Hard Coral) First Place – Rob White Whilst the second and third place images were higher impact through the use of colour, they were both achieved through conventional approaches. What grabbed me about the image that I placed first was its simplicity and relative originality. Not many people try it, but I’m guessing it’s a night or dusk wide angle that helps to isolate the beauty of a natural feature. The overhead viewpoint is well chosen to let shadows cast by the strobes define the shapes of individual corals. With some subtle hints of colour, it’s a peaceful image and almost abstract. The framing at the bottom is a bit tight, but I give high marks for originality of approach to achieve a striking image.


Image 31 (Diver in Cenote) Second Place – Nick Blake A very high impact simple image exploiting natural light to beautiful effect. Tack sharp, a strong frame-within-frame and a sense of scale and place with lots of mood. An image I want to have on my wall.


Image 19 (Red Sea Split) Third Place – Rob White Well controlled dynamic range and depth of field to create an iconic Red Sea picture telling the story of beautiful coral gardens below rock and sand. Really well captured colours.

Blue Water Wide Angle Highly Commended


Image 04 (Diver in Cave) – Mario Vitalini Simple, but atmospheric, this image exploits natural light to great effect. The diver is beautifully framed and his torch beam gives nice positional contrast to the light beams streaming from above. Excellent use of light.


Image 18 (Reef Shark) – Martyn Guess Great technique to bring movement into this image and it’s well lit with the vital bits sharp. I could not decide whether the wreck blurring at the bottom added or detracted. It’s part of the real context, but I had to dwell on it to work out what it was and so wondered whether a completely clean background (more upward angle from a lower viewpoint) might have allowed the viewer to feast eyes on the beautifully captured main subject. A strong image.


Image 40 (Hammerhead and Friends) – Martyn Guess A very graphic high impact shot. Eyes, snout and teeth are all there and the light uses shadow to both isolate the subject and emphasise myriad detail in this charismatic big animal. The secondary subjects (small jacks and remora) make it an even stronger image.


Image 43 (Oceanic White Tip Head On) – Pash Baker These are hard-to-get images. I’m not sure if it’s a pseudo wide angle using a long lens or a cropped wide angle, but the result has impact. The pectorals and dorsal make a classic Mercedes shape and I like the tail sweeping out left to add movement, reinforced by the trajectory of the pilot fish. Getting some light on the snout picked out face detail. It’s unlucky that the bottom right pilot fish merged with the pectoral. Good work.

Blue Water Wide Angle Commended


Image 03 (Anemone & Fish) – Gill Marsh This type of image is quite common, but still well executed with accurate framing, focus and lighting to give a lot of colour and impact. Nicely done.


Image 05 (Schooling Jacks and Diver) – Martyn GuessThis is a very well framed and timed shot. The contra- rotation of diver and fish keep it tightly composed, with the diver adding both sense of scale and part of the story. It’s very well lit and I only wondered if the highlights on the right hand side and around the edges could have been reduced just a bit to really centre the viewer’s eye on the action; my eye did wander to the brighter edges. A lovely image only a whisker off the final cut.


Image 13 (Oceanic White Tip and Pilot Fish) – Pash Baker I like the more distant viewpoint here that brings in a sense of the upper open ocean that defines the habitat of this pelagic species. But it was also close enough to get some light coming into the camera sensor from the shark and the pilot fish, telling the story with colour and detail. A good image of a predator in its habitat.


Image 26 (Dolphin) – Gill Marsh There’s quite a bit of noise in this image, but the timing and framing is spot on. The diagonal adds a dynamic, as does the downward tail beat creating the puff of sand. There is a lovely sense of depth perspective created by the animal and its shadow. If post processing rules had allowed, I would have toned down the shadow on the right hand edge of the frame about one third up from the bottom; it’s a minor distraction. If this was shot in portrait, full marks. If it was a crop from horizontal, it might explain the noise and loss of detail, but the image has impact.


Image 30 (Manta Train) – Mario Vitalini The water column through which the photographer shot this image both adds and detracts. It adds aerial (depth) perspective, reinforcing the reducing relative size of the mantas, but also strips out some detail, slightly reducing the contrast. But the moment is captured and I loved the train looming out of the distance, with lots of dynamics from wing positions and overall shape of the train. A most enjoyable image. I wanted to be there.


Image 35 (Turtle and Remoras) – Mario Vitalini A super image that catches a not-so-common separation of one remora from its turtle host and with almost perfect timing. The diverging lines set against pure blue, with the surface in sight and the hint of yellow and orange adds colour contrast to already- well-defined shapes. Seeing the upper parts of the remora and lower parts of the turtle adds to the perspective and dynamics of the image. If only the outer turtle wing had been lower…that little bit of luck could have turned this great shot into an absolutely fabulous one.


First Place (Wreck of the Ulysses) – Peter Tatton


Second Place (Squid) – Gill Marsh


Third Place (Cardinal fish & Eggs) – Gill Marsh


Prints Commended

Ocean Whitetip – Pash Baker

Clownfish – Wendy Eve

Dolphin – Mario Vitalini

Aircraft Wreck – Mario Vitalini

Clownfish – Martyn Guess

Seal – Jane Morgan

Moray – Cat Briggs

Dolphins – Ken Sullivan

Frogfish – Martha Tressler

Jellyfish Selfie – Anthony Holley

Clownfish – Cat Briggs

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.

Following the sudden death of Len Deeley in 2016, the committee decided that the first recipient should be Len & Pat Deeley to recognise the unwavering and steadfast support provided to the club since its inception. The trophy was presented to Pat Deeley by Paul Colley, Pash Baker (left) and Jo Horrocks (right).


Awards Presentation


Rob White & Paul Colley (Green Water Macro Winner)


Jane Morgan & Paul Colley (Green Water Macro 2nd Place)


Peter Ladell & Paul Colley (Green Water Macro 3rd Place)


Pash Baker & Paul Colley (Green Water Wide Winner)


Gill Marsh & Paul Colley (Green Water Wide 2nd Place)

Nick Blake, Green Water Wide 3rd place was unable to attend the meal


Anthony Holley & Paul Colley (Blue Water Macro Winner)


Bob Soames & Paul Colley (Blue Water Macro 2nd Place)


Peter Ladell & Paul Colley (Blue Water Macro 3rd Place)


Rob White & Paul Colley (Blue Water Wide Winner & 3rd Place)

Nick Blake, Blue Water Wide 2nd place was unable to attend the meal


Peter Tatton & Paul Colley (Print Winner)


Gill Marsh & Paul Colley (Print 2nd & 3rd Places)


Our thanks to Paul Colley for judging the competition, and to his wife Vinny for attending the meal and competition evening.

These events cannot run without the help of a number of club members. Thanks to Bob Soames for acting as master of ceremonies, Keith Lyall for organising and running the competition, Pat Deeley for providing the balloons and table place tags, Bert Lee for providing the display stands (assembled with the assistance of Ken Sullivan, Mike Maloney and Chris McTernan), to Sue Guess for laying out the prints, Jo Horrocks for setting up the trophy table, Rob White for helping with final projection setup, Peter Ladell for taking the winners photographs, and to Martha for arranging the tables and doing the other logistical stuff in the background that people are not aware of.


Photosub AGM – 2016

The Photosub 2016 AGM & Social Meeting was held at Martha and Anthony’s home near Southampton.  There were 14 of of us in total, enjoying some lovely food and puds, recent images and a slightly longer than usual AGM – we had a bit more to cover than usual.

Some great projected images were provided by Martha, Anthony, Joss and Cat Briggs, a visitor to Photosub and hopefully soon to be a new member.  It’s hard for me to put my finger on exactly what happened, but as the evening moved on, so the meeting evolved into a somewhat boisterous, rebellious and irreverent affair.   Wholly enjoyable, and a great evening!

My thanks, as ever, to everybody for coming along and to those that brought images to share.  Particularly thanks go to Martha and Anthony for hosting the evening for us and for feeding us so well (with the help of some unnamed pudding providers).

The key points from the AGM were:

  • It was agreed that subscriptions for full members remain at £15, and we have added a second membership category of Social Member at £8.  This is for people who were diving members but can no longer dive.   This is because about half the club’s outgoings are for meeting costs and this was agreed as a fair arrangement. 2017 subscriptions are now due.  Electronic payment to the Photosub bank account if possible please (HSBC; account # 61212605; sort code 40-27-07).

  • It was agreed that the Splash-In has a competition period of approximately four weeks, as it did in 2016, 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 2017 the competition period will be the month of July with a deadline for images to reach Keith by midnight 31 July.

  • As part of the Splash-in event, Pat will be scattering some of Len’s ashes at Selsey on Sunday 23 July.  We hope as many club members as possible can be there.  Timing and details to be arranged.

Other 2017 plans:

  • Godfrey and Judith will host the BBQ on 12 August
  • Roger and Wendy will host the May meeting, date tba
  • Joss will host the November meeting, date tba

And a reminder to let Bob Soames have menu choices for the annual dinner on 18 March and send payment to the Photosub bank account, letting Kam know.

Photosub Open Digital Images Competition 2016

Club members met on Saturday 19th November for the annual Open Digital Competition. The evening was hosted at Martyn and Sue Guess’s house, near Cranleigh, and attended by 25 members. Congratulations to all who navigated successfully to the venue, and for braving the inclement weather.

After the usual socialising and excellent food (thanks to Sue), 32 images were projected. The winners had been pre-judged by Simon Rogerson, Editor of SCUBA magazine. Unfortunately Simon could not attend but provided a set of notes which were read out at the meeting.

Thanks to all at Photosub for entrusting me with the task of judging your competition. Sorry I can’t join you tonight; anyone unhappy with my decisions will have to hurl your buns at me from longer distance than usual. There were plenty of lovely photos this year, and I did agonise over the placings before making my final choice. Take-home lessons? Beware of oversharpening, watch out for digital noise and if you’re entering a relatively common or ‘easy’ subject, the key to success is originality. Well, that’s enough pontificating from me. Have a great evening and if you didn’t win or get mentioned, don’t worry about it. Competitions are silly things… almost as silly as judges. Big love, and have a great Christmas.

The results were as follows:

1st Place:  Rhinopias by Martin Guess


This is an object lesson in backlighting – a dramatic subject approached from the optimal angle and highlighted with multi-directional light. Some of the success of the image is simply finding the subject and this strong angle, but I have to say the execution is faultless, especially with the backlighting illuminating the ridge of the fins. I may be wrong, but I think there is a touch of front lighting here, all that is required to show off the amazing colouring. 

2nd Place:  Cleaner shrimp on moray eel by Joss Woolf


The flowing form of the eel’s head compliments the cleaners as they dance across its neck. The precision of the lighting and the elegant, natural composition made this a close contender. It’s impossible to get every detail in focus, but the softness of the eel’s eye was, for me, a slight imperfection that detracted from the overall effect.

3rd Place: Grey Seal by Gill Marsh


A popular subject, quality and originality is key to competition images of grey seals. In this case, it’s all down to the photographer’s success in capturing a wonderful mid-water pose. I wasn’t sure about the black and white, but it does have the effect of concentrating your attention on the subject. Always ask yourself: why does an image merit the B&W treatment… does it really reveal more about the subject?


Seahorse by Martyn Guess


A subtle and intimate portrait, with muted directional lighting. Shows similar photographic precision to that of the winner, but it’s been done so much the effect is diminished.

Squirrelfish and sponge by Joss Woolf


With its strikingly original lighting, I found its skewed symmetry memorable, but slightly disconcerting.

Hammerheads by Pash Baker


From the hue of the water and the lack of parasites on the sharks, I’m guessing this is Red Sea, where getting any sort of a photo of a hammerhead is an achievement. The image is sharp and nicely balanced, but what a shame the sharks can’t be persuaded to swim in a more attractive formation!

The Len Deeley Trophy


In memory of Len Deeley, founder and driving force behind the Photosub club, Pash Baker and Jo Horrocks have created a trophy which will be presented on an annual basis. The basis for the award has not yet been decided, but ideas so far include “valuable contribution towards the club”, “photo of the year”, or a criteria which could change on a year by year basis. Ideas from members are welcome and should be sent to the current chair, Bob Soames.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all those who took part for making it such a successful competition; to Simon for taking the time to judge the images, to Martyn and Sue for their hospitality, and to various others who helped leading up to and during the evening.