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Relative newcomer scoops award for the British & Irish Underwater Photography Championship 2020

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Forty one competitors submitted ninety four images in BSoUP’s annual British & Irish Underwater Photography Championship, a tough on-the-day competition that demands competitors to take, process and submit images taken anywhere in UK and Irish waters in the space of only 24 hours.

Judges Paul Colley from the UK and Diarmuid O’Donnavan from Ireland were impressed with the quality of entires, particularly in the category for Mankind’s Impact on the Environment, which has now started to attract serious interest from competitors.  Entry numbers were up on the previous year, although down on historical norms, possibly due to the impact of the pandemic and ongoing restrictions with social distancing, which has made boat diving in particular more difficult.

BIUPC Champion 2020: Georgie Bull

Some well-known faces continue to show their ability, including three-time champion Trevor Rees who took top spot in both the close-up and environment categories, Mark Kirkland who once again took the runner-up position for the wide-angle category, and a fist full of other photographers who are well known on the UK and Irish circuit.  However, it was relative newcomer Georgie Bull, only narrowly missing to qualify for the newcomer category, who produced a stunning image of sunlit seagrass to take top marks from both judges and scoop the title BIUPC champion 2020.

Close Up 1st: Trevor Rees

Due to a combination of competitors and images failing to meet the strict vetting criteria for this unique on-the-day competition that has electronic image verification procedures to allow submission from anywhere in UK and Ireland, there were a significant number of spoiled entries, particularly in the newcomer category, which accordingly was not awarded this year.  But the full list of winners, runners-up and highly commended images shows quite clearly the impressive results that can be achieved in just one day’s diving.

Compact 1st: Grant McCarry

At the on line awards ceremony hosted by the British Society of Underwater Photographers, Georgie expressed her huge enthusiasm for our underwater world and her delight and surprise at winning.  She was awarded with the Peter Scoones trophy in memory of one of BSoUP’s founding fathers, a BSoUP trophy to keep for life and a certificate embellished with her winning image.

Environment 1st: Trevor Rees

BIUPC 2020 Roll of Honour

Wide-angle winner and BIUPC Champion 2020: Georgie Bull

Close-up winner: Trevor Rees

Restricted Camera winner: Grant McCarry

Mankind’s Impact on the Environment winner: Trevor Rees


Wide-angle runner-up: Mark Kirkland

Wide-angle highly commended: Mike Orth

Wide-angle highly commended: Rick Ayrton


Close-up runner-up: Kirsty Andrews

Close-up highly commended: James Lynott

Close-up highly commended: Jonathan Bunker


Restricted Camera winner: Grant McCarry

Restricted Camera runner-up: Ronan Murray


Mankind’s Impact on the Environment runner-up: Rob Bailey

Mankind’s Impact on the Environment highly commended: Rick Ayrton


For more information about the BUICP visit the BSOUP 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 www.frogfishphotography.com

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Wining and Diving – South Africa

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The Wining and Diving series sees Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown embark on a tour to tickle the taste buds as well as to discover amazing dive sites in wine-making regions around the world. Some of the best wines are influenced by sea breezes and a coastal climate, allowing two of Nick and Caroline’s passions to be combined into one epic journey.

**Please note, Nick and Caroline are not encouraging drinking before diving! The two activities are kept well apart on each of these trips.

South Africa’s coastline is wild and rugged and has some of the best marine encounters and diving in the world! It is also home to some superb vineyards and so this is a top destination for Wining & Diving! If you have enough time, then try to fit in several destinations on a tour; take in the Sardine Run, go Great White Shark cage diving, snorkel with Blue and Mako Sharks, try to find Sevengill Sharks in the kelp forest, meet the raggies and oceanic shark species near Aliwal Shoal and make sure you dive with the Cape Fur Seals just down the road from Cape Town. Head north for the stunning reefs of Sodwana Bay and even fit in a land safari too! But make sure you make time to visit some of the top vineyards at Stellenbosch and Constantia too, which are just a stones throw from Cape Town and can be done on a day trip.

Our tour took in the lot and this is an experience to be shared with friends. You have to be lucky with the Sardine Run, but the rewards are great if you are there at the right time, with dolphins, sharks, whales and seabirds all competing for the feast of sardines that migrates up the coast in early summer. It is fast and furious, but can also involve long days out on the boat bobbing and waiting for the action to happen.

Flying into Durban you can often combine Aliwal Shoal to start your Sardine Run trip, to get the chance to dive the famous Cathedral Rock and then drift out into the blue for Blacktip and Tiger Sharks.

Gaansbai is the most famous place for Great White Shark cage diving, although recent years have seen numbers falling away, possibly due to the presence of Orca.

Cape Town offers penguins, Blue and Mako Sharks, Sevengill Cow Sharks, Great Whites and the chance to mess about with Cape Fur Seals, who will seek out divers and play among the kelp fronds for as long as you can stay in the cool water. It is here that you can add a few days visiting vineyards and touring the stunning countryside before you head home.

We would love to go back and spend more time in South Africa, as we did not have time for the Mako Shark snorkeling and would like to try again for the cow sharks too. South Africa has so much to offer it is very hard to fit everything into a single trip! It is a high energy and super-productive trip under the water and a wonderful place to relax with your favourite glass of wine in the evening.

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Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 announced

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Ningaloo Coast-based photographer, Aimee Jan, has been announced as the Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021.

Aimee’s beautiful image of a green sea turtle surrounded by glass fish was captured on the world-famous Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Chosen from thousands of submissions from around the world, it was a unanimous winner amongst the seven world-renowned Ocean Photography Awards judges.

In second place is Exeter-based photographer, Henley Spiers, with a beautiful photograph of diving gannets off the Shetland Islands, Scotland. In third place is Sydney-based photographer, Matty Smith, with an image of a hawksbill turtle hatchling heading out to sea for the first time.

This year has also seen the introduction of the Female Fifty Fathoms Award, a new nomination category designed to celebrate inspiring women in ocean photography. LA-based photographer and biology teacher, Renee Capozzola, has been announced the inaugural winner for her beautiful portfolio of work.

A free, outdoor public exhibition alongside the River Thames, on the Queen’s Walk near Tower Bridge, will be open to the public until October 17th.

The Ocean Photography Awards has a simple mission: to shine a light on the beauty of the ocean and the threats it faces. The competition has this year been produced by Oceanographic Magazine in partnership with Blancpain, Princess Yachts and Tourism Western Australia, and in support of conservation organisation SeaLegacy.

Marc A Hayek, president and CEO of Blancpain, said: “As a keen scuba diver and underwater photographer, I appreciate what it takes to capture extraordinary photographs of the ocean: passion, skill and commitment to your craft. The finalists of the Ocean Photography Awards 2021 display those assets in abundance. Their images reveal the ocean for what it is – or at least what it should be – a place full of life, colour and wonder. They also remind us of the injustices we are inflicting upon it. What a powerful collection of photographs.”

Kiran Haslam, chief marketing officer at Princess Yachts, said: “We are honoured to have seen outstanding images submitted this year; they are of incredible standard, capturing some truly exceptional moments. The images submitted in this year’s OPA, without doubt, poignantly highlight the fact that the most important thing we can do right now is act quickly to protect our planet and our ocean.”

David Templeman, Western Australian Government Tourism Minister, said: “This year’s finalists have done an incredible job, not just in capturing aquatic adventures so evocatively, but in inspiring new audiences to treasure them.”

Cristina Mittermeier, co-founder and president of SeaLegacy, said: “The calibre of the images submitted to the second annual Ocean Photography Awards was incredible! I, along with my fellow judges, were challenged and more than impressed by the entries this year. We spent a lot of time discussing the power these images have to inspire people all over the world to advocate for ocean protection. We also spent a considerable amount of time admiring the incredible artistry. Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to this year’s finalists.

To find out more about the Ocean Photography Awards visit their website by clicking here.

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