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 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.

Photosub 25th Anniversary Exhibition (Update)

To commemorate 25 years of Photosub, the club successfully held an underwater photography exhibition at “The Brew House”, Guildford. Underwater images from many club members were on display, and feedback from the public and staff has been very positive. 

A big thank you to all who prepared and provided images. Thanks to Martha, Anthony, Kam and Bob for setting up the exhibition. A particular thanks and recognition needs to go to Bob Soames who worked tirelessly to bring the exhibition to life. Bob took over from the initial preparatory work of Len Deeley and provided considerable effort and organisation to ensure the exhibition was successful.

Below are a few images from the exhibition room, and in particular the fitting tribute to Len Deeley.

Len Deeley

Len Deeley

A selection of Len's image on display at the 25th Anniversary Exhibition

A selection of Len’s image on display at the 25th Anniversary Exhibition

A few panoramic shots from the exhibition room are below …

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A Guest Book was available in the exhibition room for feedback and comments. The following comments were left by club members and other visitors.












Photosub 25th Anniversary Exhibition (2016)

To commemorate 25 years of Photosub, the club is holding an underwater photography exhibition from Sat 17th September to Sat 1st October 2016 at “The Brew House”, Guildford. Underwater images from many club members will be on display. Entry is free and there is a cafe on site for refreshments.

Times: Mon to Sat 10.00am-4.45pm, Sun 11.00am-3.45pm

Location: The Brew House, Guildford House, 155 High Street, Guildford GU1 3AJ

Tele: 01483 444 751



Photosub BBQ and Splash-in Competition Results 2016

A most enjoyable evening was had last night by about 35 club members and guests at the Photosub BBQ, which was hosted by Keith and Jo. The weather was dry and sunny, the food was great and it was an opportunity to meet up with friends. So special thanks to Keith and Jo, with grateful help from Pash, Rob, Jan and Linda.

This year rather than a splash-in weekend, images were allowed from any time in July, up to and including Sunday 24th of July; in addition images could be taken anywhere in the UK. This allowed for more members to participate and help get around the usual issue of the British weather preventing diving. Initially Peter Tatton was looking to have made a clean sweep of prizes as the only entry, but in the end we had 7 members contributing 21 images.

In keeping with tradition we had a well respected non-diving photographer to judge the competition. We were joined by Tony Riley and his partner Maggie. Tony judged the images in advance and provided the results prior to the meeting so that a results presentation could be prepared. Following an introduction from Bob Soames, the current Photosub Chairperson, all images were projected followed by results announced in reverse order, including a number of Commended and Highly Commended images. Tony provided narrative comments as to his selections and also showed screenshots of some processing as to how he thought some images could be improved.
So the results:
  • 1st place Tompot Blenny, taken under Selsey Lifeboat Station, by Pash Baker
  • 2nd place Leeches Spidercrab taken under Selsey Lifeboat Station, by Jo Horrocks
  • 3rd place Farne Island Seals by Peter Ladell
  • Highly Commended Goby taken at Swanage by Bob Soames
  • Highly Commended Jellyfish tentacles by Peter Ladell
  • Highly Commended Black Goby taken under Selsey Lifeboat Station, by Keith Lyall
  • Commended Tompot Blenny, taken under Selsey Lifeboat Station, by Keith Lyall
  • Commended Tompot Blenny, taken under Selsey Lifeboat Station, by Jo Horrocks
  • Commended Tompot Blenny & Leeches Spidercrab, taken under Selsey Lifeboat Station, by Rob White

The photographers of all 3 placed images were presented with a trophy and a copy of “Ultimate Diving Adventures” by Len Deeley which was apt given his recent death.

Congratulations to the winners and also to all that participated. At the end of the day we had a good quality competition.

Thanks for Martha and Anthony for providing the audio visual equipment, to Kam for collecting the money for the evening, and Bob as master of ceremonies.

1st Place - Pash Baker

1st Place – Pash Baker

2nd Place - Jo Horrocks

2nd Place – Jo Horrocks

3rd Place - Peter Ladell

3rd Place – Peter Ladell

Highly Commended - Bob Soames

Highly Commended – Bob Soames

Highly Commended - Keith Lyall

Highly Commended – Keith Lyall

Highly Commended - Peter Ladell

Highly Commended – Peter Ladell

Commended - Rob White

Commended – Rob White

Commended - Jo Horrocks

Commended – Jo Horrocks

Highly Commended - Keith Lyall

Commended – Keith Lyall


Photosub Splash-in Date Change

The dates of this year’s Photosub Splash-In competition are being extended to include THE FIRST 4 WEEKENDS IN JULY.   This will give as many members as possible the chance to get in the water and take some pictures, hopefully avoiding other commitments and the worst of whatever the weather has in mind for us.

So, eligible images must have been taken anywhere in the UK or Ireland between the 1st July and 24th July 2016 inclusive.  

( Just for clarity, Photosub members’ images taken on Whirlwind in the Red Sea WILL NOT be eligible!!! ) 

This is a projected image competition and, if you choose, manipulation software can be used without restriction.  You may enter up to 3 images into the competition.  Full rules are on the Photosub web site.
The Photosub Splash-In is a unique competition because we always ask an experienced non-underwater photographer to judge the images for us, and this can result in some interesting and unexpected results! 

Your competition images need to be sent to Keith Lyall by Friday 29th July at the latest.

Photosub Summer Meeting 2016

Photosub held a social meeting last Saturday night, very kindly hosted by Joss at her house in East Finchley.  Despite the inclement June weather, seventeen members and guests attended and enjoyed the usual informal socialising, excellent food and company, and sharing of projected images.

The projected image subjects were Nudibranchs and Shoals, as chosen by Joss, and about half a dozen of us treated the gathering to some excellent images.  It has to be said that there were some interesting interpretations of the subjects, including a ‘shoal’ of fish in the tentacles of a jellyfish and some fish-like nudibranchs. However, all good and entertaining stuff!  Thanks to everyone who brought images along.
I am sure you will be aware that this was our first meeting since learning of Len’s death.  This has been shocking and unhappy news, and we took some time to reflect on it, share our thoughts, express our feelings for Len and Pat, and to recognise Len’s fantastic contribution to Photosub, to underwater photography generally and to the enjoyment we have all had from our hobby.
We reflected on the great success Len had made Photosub into, and the desire we all have to ensure this continued.  And we agreed the need for some ongoing recognition of Len’s role and achievement in establishing Photosub and that the committee would look into this.

It is impossible to replace Len, his loss to the club is huge.  Some changes to the running of Photosub are now required to ensure its continued success.  We agreed that a few volunteers are needed to work with the committee to make these adjustments and to help with activities and events.  My sincere thanks to Martha and Keith for your offers of help, they are very much appreciated. 
If any other members would like to help with the running of the club or its activities, please could you let me know by return, it would be much appreciated.  Thank you. 
In closing, I’d like to thank everybody that came along and, especially, those who made the meeting happen.  To Joss as a great host and for treating us to some lovely food.  To those kind people (I’m sorry I didn’t find out who) who provided some very nice puddings.  And also to Martha and Anthony for providing and operating the projection equipment for us. Thank you all very much.
Our next meeting will be the annual BBQ and Photosub Splash-In Competition results meeting at Jo and Keith’s house on 6th August.