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NUPG: The Right Light and Black & White



The Northern Underwater Photography Group June 2018 Meeting Roundup

The usual suspects plus a couple of newcomers enjoyed a great talk this month given by the Underwater Photography Duo of Caroline & Nick Robertson-Brown from Frogfish Photography. The subject was “The Right Light” and Caroline and Nick had brought along two or three camera setups and various lights to illustrate many points discussed in their informative talk.

Initially the use of strobes and their strengths and weaknesses was discussed including the physics of the media water, and how water being so much denser than air limits the distance the light from a strobe (or any light) can travel and is a major limiting factor when using lighting on a subject underwater.

This talk naturally progressed onto the positioning of strobes for various types of shot from macro to wide-angle with a very informative piece on Close Focus Wide Angle photography. The use of one strobe and/or two was discussed along with examples, also the use of extra off camera strobes and the addition of other forms of lighting was explained. Remembering that pointing a light directly at the subject can result in significant backscatter and how you position your strobe to try to eliminate this. A good tip was noting that even if you are normally shooting with two strobes it can be advantageous to turn one off along with using different power settings on different strobes for certain types of shot.

The difference in strobe and constant light positioning for landscape and portrait shots was illustrated. The talk then went into the merits and use of natural light and when or when not it was appropriate to supplement this with strobes and/or constant light.  The fact that many species are sensitive to light and local rules mean that natural light might be the only choice in many circumstances for certain creatures, such as when snorkelling or diving with whale sharks or photographing seahorses, means that this is a skill that is essential to master. The advances in constant lights and what they can now do was shown. Also discussed, was the importance of ISO settings and how modern cameras have improved in this aspect over the past few years with much higher ISO settings now being able to be utilised.

Tips were also given on how to photograph divers in a picture. One of the main points on improving your underwater photography lighting is to remember to just go to a quarry or even a swimming pool and practice, practice, practice and get used to how your camera and your strobes and lights work underwater.

The theme for this month’s competition was black and white. The winning shot was taken by John Spencer with a beautifully lit photograph of a squid. The joint runners-up were a shot of dolphins by Nick Robertson-Brown and Glynn Philips with his shot of a blue spotted stingray. The winning (and only) entry in the compact category with a shot of a reef scene was taken by Rob Williams.

Next month’s meeting is to be held on Monday 9th July at The Gurkha Grill, Manchester, M20 1LH. The meeting starts at 8pm but you are more than welcome to come and join us all for a curry from around 6:30pm. The theme of July’s monthly competition is “Squidge” If you are in the North-West please do come down, you will be made most welcome.

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

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


Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras



Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.

What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award



Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact for details.

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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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