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My first steps into Macro Photography

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I have always loved looking at macro photos of the tiniest creatures in the ocean. I have a few dive pals who take exquisite macro photos… one of them, Diana Paboojian, was recently featured on Scubaverse.com in one of my ‘Amazing Women in Diving’ blogs. I finally went out and bought a macro lens, and while I cannot compete with Diana, I am enjoying learning to use it, and training my eyes to seek out the smallest creatures.

Have you ever seen Conch eyes? I love them. They are on stalks, and can look in all directions, which can have amusing results. The Conch is one of the first creatures I’ve tried my macro luck with, then I moved on to Hermit Crabs. Hermit Crabs also have stalks for eyes, and some crabs have bright blue eyes. I came upon an active, moving group of tiny hermit crabs, and enjoyed the milieu! They were in the process, it appeared, of finding new shells. These shells are so tiny! They were perhaps 3 or 4 inches long. As they grow they abandon their shells to find bigger ones. There was quite a lot of consternation in this scene! These were tiny little hermit crabs, and their eyes were a midnight blue. They resemble spiders when they are out of their shells, don’t you think?

Tam 5

Another wonderful encounter was with a baby Pygmy Filefish. To even see a Pygmy Filefish is rare because they are small and blend in perfectly with their surroundings, but a baby! This little one was about half the size of my pinky finger…and I have small hands. The Pygmy showed no sign of nervousness and had no intention of leaving its soft coral surroundings. It took looking through the bifocals in my mask to even see it!

Tam 4

And there is one of my favorite mollusks, the Flamingo Tongue. Flamingos are mollusks and feed on gorgonians. Their shell appears to be white with orange spots, but actually it is the slug itself covering the shell with their mantle! This sea slug covers its shell with its body as it eats. I am not sure why, but the result is gorgeous.

Tam 1

This little shrimp was barely visible, and the pipe seahorse tiny, tiny as well!

Tam 2

Even the small things can be exciting!

For more from Tam, visit www.travelswithtam.com.

Tam Warner Minton is an avid scuba diver, amateur underwater photographer, and adventurer. She encourages "citizen science" diving, whether volunteering with a group or by one's self. For Tam, the unexpected is usually the norm!

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NUPG Lockdown Best of…

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Usually the January NUPG meeting involves a guest judge coming to Manchester to talk through the very best images members had taken in the previous 12 months. However, this year, due to COVID19 restriction many of the members had not had the chance to dive. The NUPG committee decided to change the rules a little. So this year members judged a series of Best of the Century images online and were also invited to take part in a lockdown underwater bath tub category.

There were five categories for members to enter. Here are the winners of each…

British and Irish Close Up

Octopus in St Abbs Marine Reserve by Mike Clark

British and Irish Wide Angle

A Basking Shark off the coast of Cornwall by Nick Robertson-Brown

Overseas Close Up

A squid at night in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia by Ken Byrne

Overseas Wide Angle

Hammerhead Sharks in the Red Sea by Justin Beevor

Under Bath Water

Lockdown fun in the tub by Caroline Robertson-Brown

The next NUPG meeting will be held on Monday 8th February and the guest speaker is John Bantin.

For more information on the NUPG please visit their website by clicking here.

Header image: Lionfish hunting in the Red Sea by John Spencer

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Ocean Art 2020 Winners Announced!

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Ocean Art Contest Announces the Best Underwater Photos of the Year

The prestigious Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition, organized by the Underwater Photography Guide, has announced the best underwater photos this year with its 2020 winners. Despite global travel restrictions and the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 9th annual competition attracted an extremely high caliber of photos from oceans around the world. Underwater explorers captured photos locally, in select destinations currently open to travel, or revisited their archives to bring us some eye-catching photography. This unique assortment of photos could not have been possible without the help of our generous sponsors who have all had to navigate a changing travel and dive industry. Many of these same sponsors helped the Ocean Art competition raise money earlier in this year to raise money to donate to the WHO and CDC in their fight against Covid-19. These photos showcase the perseverance of underwater artistry amidst the adversity of the times.

All the winning photos can be seen at the Underwater Photography Guide at https://www.uwphotographyguide.com/ocean-art-contest-winners-2020

The Best of Show is a once-in-a-lifetime moment of an octopus taking a selfie with the photographer and his curious family in the background. The photo was captured by photographer Gaetano Dario Gargiulo close to his home in the tide pools of Kamay Botany Bay National Park, New South Wales, Australia.  Other extraordinary winners include astonishing scenes of animal behavior, images that bring hope for the next generation of sea creatures, displays of ingenious photographic technique, and conservation scenes that reflect on not just the need to conserve our planet, but our species as well. The judges evaluated thousands of entries from 80 countries before selecting the final set of images as Ocean Art winners.

Ocean Art 2020 judges included prestigious underwater photographers Tony Wu, Mark Strickland, and Marty Snyderman.

Over $45,000 in prizes have be awarded, making the Ocean Art prize value among the highest in the world.

Ocean Art prizes are provided by some of the world’s top scuba diving resorts, liveaboard dive yachts, and underwater photo gear manufacturers. Grand prizes include a choice of 7 or 8 nights for two aboard the Coralia Liveaboard in Raja Ampat or Komodo, a 7 night liveaboard trip on the M.V. Bilikili in the Solomon Islands, a 7-night dive package with Villa Markisa, a 7 night dive package at Siladen Resort & Spa in Bunaken, a 12 night Passport to Paradise with Murex Dive Resorts and Lembeh Resort to three different Indonesian destinations, a 5-night dive vacation with AquaMarine Diving Bali & Ramayana Candidasa, a 7-night dive vacation at Atlantis Philippines Dive Resorts, and a variety of gift certificates from Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel. Premium travel prizes are provided by Volivoli Beach Resort (Fiji), Crystal Blue Dive Resort (Philippines), and Solitude Liveaboards & Resorts (Philippines and Indonesia). Premium gear prizes are provided by Sea & Sea and Ikelite. 12 different categories ensure a competitive contest for all levels and disciplines of underwater photography.

The photographic ingenuity from competitors is getting better every year – making judging very difficult and demonstrating that the winning images are some of the best in the world. Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel owner and Underwater Photography Guide publisher, Scott Gietler commented, “The Ocean Art team was thrilled to see that so many photographers were able to get out, dive, and immerse themselves in photography this year. The Best of Show was especially impressive. My only concern is that the octopus should get its share of the prize, as it did assist in taking the shot!” 

For more information, please visit http://www.uwphotographyguide.com 

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Competitions

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