Every summer since 2000, when the Northern Underwater Photography Group (NUPG) was founded, they have organised a one day underwater photography competition which takes place anywhere in North Wales. Anglesey has, traditionally, been the focal point for the judging of the event, and for the third year running, the society has synchronised the event to coincide with the Anglesey Scubafest. It features a splash-in competition, where competitors have to take images on the day, in the sea, and only in marine waters around the North Wales coast line. In the past, the competition has been restricted to NUPG members only, but since the linkup with Scubafest, the event is open to all comers and is now one of the best attended splash-ins in the country.
Everyone has their own idea of where they think they can get the best pictures. Some head out on boats, others shore dive; but this year, everyone had particularly difficult conditions to deal with. Whilst the sun shone overhead, making it a lovey day to be out and about, underneath the surface the visibility was unforgiving for photographers at less than one metre, and many of the dives also had some annoying and vomit-inducing surge.
Each participant can choose to enter images into 5 categories: System Wide Angle; System Macro; Compact Wide Angle; Compact Macro and the Spirit of Scubafest. Once the dives are completed, the divers then all rush to the Scubafest venue, where the images have to be handed in by 7:30pm in time to be considered in the competition. The images that are submitted are not allowed to be cropped and only basic, whole image editing is allowed. The images have to be taken on the day and in order to discourage anyone from using an image taken earlier, a registration sheet is emailed out the evening before, and this has to be the first image on the memory card.
On top of the splash-in competition, there is also a print competition, with four categories to enter: Overseas Wide Angle; Overseas Macro; British Wide Angle and British Macro. Each image has to have been taken within the last 12 months by NUPG members. These are displayed around the outside of the room for all those attending, whether they took part or not, to vote for their favourite images (two from each category). It was great to see so many lovely shots in each category making it a tough choice for every vote. It was generally felt amongst the NUPG members that this year’s entrants were of a particularly high standard.
The event was sponsored by 10 different companies from within the diving and underwater photography industry. This meant that each category winner, from both the splash-in and print competitions, got a trophy to take home and keep. Apeks, Frogfish Photography and Mares were on hand to give out their awards, whilst Mark Evans, Sport Diver editor, was on hand to present the rest. Many of the votes were extremely close, with only one vote in it and for 3 categories, a vote-off was required to decide the winners, and in another two cases, the runner-up. The four splash-in category winners were then voted for to decide the overall winner of the 2015 splash-in. The overall winner won a trophy to keep, but more importantly, they also collected the highly coveted NUPG Splash-In trophy (an underwater photographer made out of nuts and bolts) to keep until next year.
And the winners are:
System Wide Angle (sponsored by Frogfish Photography): Winner – Caroline Robertson-Brown with an image of the blue sky looking up through some seaweed at Mckenzies Pier; Runner-up – Nick Robertson-Brown with a split shot of his dog Paddy swimming through the seaweed, also at McKenzies Pier.
System Macro (sponsored by Apeks): Winner – Caroline Robertson-Brown with a shot of 3 shannies taken at Porth Dafarch; Runner-up – Jim Garland with a portrait shot of a lobster & John Spencer with a cute shot of a blenny.
Compact Camera Wide Angle (sponsored by Nauticam UK): Winner – Alex Tasker with a split shot, with a gull flying overhead; Runner-up – Nick Robertson-Brown with a shot of Star Wars characters fighting on a sandy seabed!
Compact Camera Macro (sponsored by DiveLife): Winner – Alex Tasker with a detailed shot of an anemone; Runner-up – Marc Hubble with a difficult shot of a tiny crab hanging upside down on seaweed.
Spirit of Scubafest (sponsored by Scubaverse.com): Winner – Roz Lunn with an image of a boy playing on an inflatable shark; Runner-up – Roz Lunn with an image of a horse on the beach with a boat full of divers in the background.
Overall Winner (sponsored by Mares): Winner – Caroline Robertson-Brown with the image of the shannies.
Overseas Wide Angle (sponsored by Equator Diving): Winner – Caroline Robertson-Brown with a split shot of a swimming pig from Exuma in The Bahamas; Runner-up – John Spencer with an evocative shot of a school of fish under a pier.
Overseas Macro (sponsored by Divequest): Winner – Paul Ansell with a lovely portrait of a colourful pipefish; Runner-up – Nick Robertson-Brown with a black background portrait of a leafy sea-dragon taken in South Australia and John Spencer with a tiny blenny on coral taken from above.
British Wide Angle (sponsored by INON UK): Winner – Caroline Robertson-Brown with a shot of a seal taken in the Farne Islands; Runner-up – Paul Kay with a shot of colourful brittle stars.
British Macro (sponsored by Frogsborn): Winner – Paul Kay with a bokeh (blurred) shot of an edible crab; Runner-up – Sue Spencer with a shot of an anemone with brittle stars.
Once again the event was very well attended, with a high standard of images on display (especially given the splash-in conditions). Caroline, who is the NUPG secretary, was overwhelmed at doing so well on the night. “The NUPG splash-in trophy is something I have wanted to win since joining the NUPG 8 years ago. I am extremely proud to have now done so and cannot wait to get my name engraved on the trophy alongside some of our society’s previous great underwater photographers.”
To find out more about the NUPG, visit www.nupg.org.uk.
Book Release: Diving the Thistlegorm – The Ultimate Guide to a World War II Shipwreck
Diving the Thistlegorm is a unique in-depth look at one of the world’s best-loved shipwrecks. In this highly visual guide, cutting edge photographic methods enable views of the wreck and its fascinating cargo which were previously impossible.
This book is the culmination of decades of experience, archaeological and photographic expertise, many hours underwater, months of computer processing time, and days spent researching and verifying the history of the ship and its cargo. For the first time, Diving the Thistlegorm brings the rich and complex contents of the wreck together, identifying individual items and illustrating where they can be found. As the expert team behind the underwater photography, reconstructions and explanations take you through the wreck in incredible detail, you will discover not only what has been learned but also what mysteries are still to be solved.
Find out more about:
- One of the world’s greatest dives.
- Incredible ‘photogrammetry’ shows the wreck and cargo in a whole new light.
- Meticulous detail presented in a readable style by experts in their respective fields.
About the authors:
Simon Brown is an underwater photographer and photogrammetry/3D expert who has documented underwater subjects for a wide range of clients including Historic England, Wessex Archaeology and television companies such as National Geographic Channel and Discovery Canada. Jon Henderson is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh where he is the Director of the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre. With specific research interests in submerged prehistoric settlements and developing underwater survey techniques, he has directed underwater projects in the UK, Poland, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jamaica and Malaysia. Alex Mustard is a former marine biologist and award-winning underwater photographer. In 2018 he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “Services to underwater photography”. Mike Postons pioneered the use of digital 3D modelling to visualise shipwrecks, as well as the processes of reconstructing original ships from historic plans. He has worked with a number of organisations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Historic England and the Nautical Archaeological Society.
About the book:
- Release date 25 November 2020
- Limited run of Hardbacks
- RRP £35
- ISBN 978-1-909455-37-5
- 240 photo-packed pages
- 240 x 160 mm
Check back on Scubaverse.com for a review of the book coming soon!
Deptherapy’s Dr Richard Cullen becomes a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Dr Richard Cullen, Chairman of Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education, has been recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society is a prestigious Fellowship that is open to those who demonstrate a sufficient involvement in geography or an allied subject through publications, research or professional experience.
Paul Rose, Deptherapy’s Vice Chair, and a world renowned explorer, author, broadcaster, who is a former Vice Chair of the RGS said:
“This is a huge achievement by Richard. His Fellowship is richly deserved, and a direct result of his steadfast commitment to preserving our oceans through Deptherapy’s very powerful ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ Programme. I know the top team at the RGS are looking forward to welcoming Richard into the Society.”
The RGS was founded in 1830 to advance geographical research, education, fieldwork and expeditions, as well as by advocating on behalf of the discipline and promoting geography to public audiences.
Paul Toomer, President of RAID, said:
“I have been close friends with Richard for many years and his passion for our seas, even at 70 years of age, is undiminished. Deptherapy are the world leaders in adaptive scuba diving teaching and are our much valued partners. Taking UK Armed Forces Veterans who have suffered life changing mental and/or physical challenges and engaging them in major marine biology expeditions, is to most of us beyond the realms of possibility. The skills these guys have to develop is just awesome. This is a great honour for Richard, a great honour for Deptherapy, and also for us as their partners. The diving world must come together to celebrate and acknowledge Richard’s achievement.”
Richard joins some distinguished Fellows of the RGS. Former Fellows include Ernest Shackleton and many other notable explorers and geographers.
“I am both honoured and humbled to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. When I was invited to apply for a Fellowship, I was, which is very unusual for me, lost for words. I hope it will allow me to take our message of Protecting Our Oceans to a larger audience and to further develop our programmes. The Fellowship is a recognition of the charity’s work to raise awareness of the plight of our oceans. The credit belongs to a group of individuals who have overcome massive challenges to let alone qualify as divers but now to progress to marine biology expedition diving”.
For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.
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