This event is open to non-members as well as members, in fact to anyone who has not previously come first, second or third in a national or international competition.
The event is sponsored by DIVER, and first prize is the DIVER Trophy and a cheque for £100.
Through the event BSoUP hopes to identify photographers who can demonstrate a range of underwater photography skills, and many of today’s illustrious practitioners cut their teeth with this prize. “The overall impression of the portfolio should communicate variety, not necessarily of subject, but certainly of approach and technique,” says BSoUP.
The portfolio must comprise six images, set out in two rows of three, that do not overlap. Each image may, or may not, have a border.
This year’s winner was John Parker: “I’ve been diving for over 20 years and for much of that time I’ve had a camera of some sort with me,” he says. “However, I got the real underwater photography bug around four or five years ago when I bought a Canon compact and Ikelite housing.
“Having been a Nikon SLR user for a number of years, I took the opportunity three years ago to buy a secondhand Aquatica D90. This gave me the tools and motivation to move my photography to a higher level.
“This is the third time I have entered the annual Beginners’ Portfolio competition, and I am delighted to have won this year and add my name to the list of illustrious former winners.”
All the images in John Parker’s winning portfolio were taken on a single trip made to Raja Ampat last May.
He used a Nikon D90 camera in the Aquatica AD90 housing with Inon Z240 strobes. Lenses used were the Tokina 10-17 Fisheye Zoom and the Nikon 60mm Macro with a Kenko 1.4 tele-converter.
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Boo Windows: “I cropped the image slightly to just off-square as I thought this format suited the composition.” Tokina 10-17 zoom at 10mm, 1/60th, f8, ISO 200.
Arborek Village Pier: “This site must rank as one of the best dives for underwater photographers in the world. I took many pleasing photographs during my two-and-a-half hours under the pier. This one shows batfish swimming ‘in formation’. I took many photographs of the fish but particularly liked this composition with the arch of the fish mirroring the arch of blue from under the pier.” Tokina 10-17 zoom at 17mm, 1/160th, f8, ISO 200.
Arborek Village Pier: “Soft Coral on the Pier with Sunburst was probably the most challenging shot, balancing the strobes on the coral and trying to control the sunball in the fading late-afternoon light.” Tokina 10-17 zoom at 10mm, 1/200th, f14, ISO 200.
Surface: “This image was captured using only available light and took some patience as the water wasn’t exactly flat-calm.“ Tokina 10-17 at 17mm, 1/250th, f16, ISO 200.
Lionfish: “This lionfish with reflections and Snell’s Window was taken during my safety stop on another reef.” Tokina 10-17 at 17mm, 1/200th, f11, ISO 200.
Cowrie: “A simple image of a colourful cowrie on a coral branch against a complementary black background.” Nikon 60mm, Kenko 1.4X tele-converter, 1/200th, f29, ISO 160.