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NUPG – Best of 2018 competition results



This January for our monthly meeting we had invited talented photographer and multiple competition winning photographer Kirsty Andrews to judge our “Best of 2018” Competition. She had travelled from Bristol to see us and we warmed her up upon her arrival with a curry. I also think she finished the evening with some more warming coffee and whisky courtesy of Alex and Mich!

The competition had closed the previous week to give Kirsty time to judge the entries. She had done more than that as she had got a presentation together of her top 10 including her 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices in each of the categories along with her reasoning of why she liked particular photographs.

Kirsty mentioned the importance of composition and how she chose some shots as they showed good behaviour even if there was the odd thing that was not quite spot on with the image whilst other photographs were chosen as they were nicely lit and/or more technically difficult to achieve. She also advised on what could have been improved with some entries such as the removal of some stray bubbles or increasing or decreasing the contrast or saturation of particular colours.

Like the previous year there were a lot of entries and she said it was really difficult to choose from many excellent underwater photographs.

At the end of Kirsty’s’ presentation those present voted for their overall winner from the winner of each category chosen by Kirsty.

Overseas Macro and Overall Best of 2018 Winner by Caroline Robertson-Brown

Huge congratulations go to Caroline Robertson-Brown and her fantastic “Capturing the Moment” shot of Mandarin fish mating. This image was voted the Best of 2018 on the night as well as being the overall winner of the Overseas Close-Up Category. Runner Up and 3rd in this category were Justin Beevor with his image of a Scorpionfish in tunicates and Maggie Russell with her super-macro image of a pair of minuscule “Shaun the Sheep”.

Overseas Macro Runner-Up by Justin Beevor

Overseas Macro Third Place by Maggie Russell

Scottish Lochs featured prominently in the Open British Close-Up Category. The winner was John Spencer with this lovely shot of a hermit crab and brittlestars taken in a Scottish Loch with 2nd and 3rd places going to Caroline Robertson-Brown and her close-up shot of a fireworks anemone and Yo-Han Cha with a photo of a tiny scorpionfish on a sponge.

British Macro Winner by John Spencer

British Macro Runner-Up by Caroline Robertson-Brown

British Macro Third Place by Yo-Han Cha

There were a lot of seals in the British Wide-Angle Category but the winning shot was that taken by Paul Ansell with his great image of trout and a diver taken in a quarry using a mirrorless system whilst 2nd place went to Nick Robertson-Brown and his fantastically lit image of a diver in a plane fuselage, the thing about this shot that made it stand out was the non-classic pose of the diver, everyone loved the hands. Third place went to Alex Tasker and another nicely lit shot of a very tidy diver by the davits of a wreck.

British Wide Angle Winner by Paul Ansell

British Wide Angle Runner-Up by Nick Robertson-Brown

British Wide Angle Third Place by Alex Tasker

Nick Robertson-Brown took both the winning and runner-up shot in the Overseas Wide Angle Category with his shot of swirling baitfish taken in the Philippines and a great shot of a American Saltwater crocodile in Cuba respectively. This last shot was taken with an 8mm fish-eye lens, he was close to those teeth! Third place went to Justin Beevor and his lovely portrait of an Oceanic Whitetip taken in The Red Sea.

Overseas Wide Angle Winner by Nick Robertson-Brown

Overseas Wide Angle Runner-Up by Nick Robertson-Brown

Overseas Wide Angle Third Place by Justin Beevor

Once again congratulations to all our winners and thank you to everyone who entered, there were some great images.

If these pictures have inspired you then come along to our next meeting which is being held on the 2nd Monday of the month, the 11th February where we be welcoming Caroline and Nick Robertson-Brown who will be giving a presentation entitled “Telling Stories – Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!” Further details of this talk and this month’s competition theme “Front Cover” will be found on our website at shortly. Please come along and join us. Everyone welcome.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit

Gear News

Jeff chats to… Sean Webb, Director of O’Three, about diving in the UK and the O’Three brand



In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Sean Webb, Director of O’Three, the well-known UK-based manufacturer of custom drysuits and wetsuits.

After a bath time quarrel with his sister, Sean’s Mum taught him a lesson.

She held his head underwater for what she thought was long enough for that lesson to sink in (We are talking the mid 60’s here), but the lesson learned wasn’t the one that was intended. It was then that Sean realized he was comfortable, in or under the water. He was six.

The coasts of Devon and Dorset became his playground. 17 years later, with a trip around the world and some incredible diving under his belt, Sean Webb founded O’Three.

Now in its 32nd  year, O’Three has evolved from a business with roots that are unashamedly rooted in UK diving, to a niche brand being enjoyed all over the world by discerning recreational, technical and commercial divers alike.

Find out more at

Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Cool Drysuit Dives



In the mood for a snowy holiday when you can get back into the water? Why not get back to your favourite underwater sport instead of hitting the slopes like everyone else? Check these incredible dive sites and explore a new underwater world in your drysuit!

Rummu Quarry, Estonia

The quirkiest and spookiest ice diving site in Europe is only 45 minutes driving from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. Rummu Quarry used to be a limestone mining site and a prison. When the excavation labour ceased in the 1990s, pumps that kept the quarry dry were shut down. Soon water started flooding the entire site. After the prison closed in 2012, Rummu became an adventure centre where you can practice different outdoor sports including diving in the crystal-clear waters of the quarry and explore the sunken ruins of the prison. Diving in Rummu Quarry is also available in the winter, making it a one-of-a-kind ice diving spot. Will you dare to do it?

Who to Dive With:

Adventurecenter Rummu

PADI 5 Star Center

Sireli Tanav 11, Harju Maakond, Rummu Quarry, Estonia 76102

+372 588 733 78

White Sea, Russia

Image by Viktor Lyagushkin

If diving in frozen lakes, which have almost no aquatic life, is not exciting enough for you, Russia is the place to go to practice marine ice diving. At the level of the Arctic Circle, the White Sea is the only sea that freezes in winter as all other places are warmed up by the Gulf Stream. Leaving from the shores of the region of Karelia, between St Petersburg and the border of Finland, you can go ice diving from December to April. In addition to impressive ice formations, you can also enjoy on the rocky sea-bed a surprise abundant marine fauna with soft coral, starfish, crabs, shrimps, sea urchins and sea anemones. An important point to remember, salt-water freezes at -1.8°C!

Who to Dive With:

Arctic Circle

PADI Dive Center

Nilmaguba, Loukhski Region, Republic of Karelia, Russia

(7) 495 105 7799


You won’t find salty seas in Switzerland, but alpine lakes and rivers make for unique and mystical scuba diving.

Lake Geneva has a variety of dives to discover. Wall dives and freshwater scenery can be perused beneath the surface. There is even a wreck dive – a stellar spot for more advanced divers to take the plunge.

Another is Lake Zurich, where you can head to excellent scuba spots right from the shore. The lake is serene, with lofty mountains cascading upward from the lakeshore. Glacially fed, the lake has sublime visibility.

River divers will be blown away by the Verzasca, an impossibly clear river found just south of the Alps near the border of Italy.

Who to Dive with at Lake Geneva:

Scuba-Shop Villeneuve

PADI 5 Star Center and Instructor Development Center

Route D’Arvel 106, Villeneuve, Switzerland 1844

+41 21 9601535


Salzburg Lake Image by Manfred Steidl

Landlocked Austria wouldn’t seem a good place for diving, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The Salzkammergut region of Austria has almost 170 lakes. A favourite is lake Attersee, where there are dive sites galore to check out, in this, the largest of the area’s lakes. Nazi treasures were once held in Wolfgangsee, and though you can’t take them with you, you can still see them on a dive.

During a trip here you can swim in the cold, gin clear water, checking out park benches, trees, and trails, all on a carpet of green grass. It’s unreal!

Who to Dive with at Salzburg Lakes:

Joe’s Wassersportcenter

PADI 5 Star Center

Innsbrucker Bundesstrasse 53, Salzburg, Austria 5020

+43 662 890259

Inspired to start your own ice diving adventure? Find out more about the PADI Ice Diver specialty and head to PADI Travel to look for amazing destinations.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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