All images in this article are taken from video frames.
After an introductory lecture, we headed for Mylor in Cornwall to join Mark Milburn of Atlantic Scuba to join his dive boat for a few days diving on local reefs and wrecks. We prepared the cameras in the car park and ran through a few final details; how to get close to the animals, composition, and best camera settings. We touched on how to create sequences for the editing but would come back to that later after a few sessions in the water.
It was one of those days where the bright sun was occasionally enveloped in thick sea mist and a chilly breeze lowered the air temperature. But the water was calm and quite warm for the time of year. Quite a few Bull Huss (Great Spotted Dogfish) had been seen on the previous day so we were quite excited to see them should luck be on our side. But this is the sea and there are never any certainties. As we left the harbour, the mist came down permanently and took away the sun, which remained hidden for the rest of the day.
We dropped into the shallow water off a nearby headland into a mixture of rock and kelp and it was here on our first dive we watched large Ballan Wrasse feeding on small crustaceans from under rocky overhangs. I find the Ballan Wrasse to be one of the most friendly fish in our UK waters and with a bit of patience it is always possible to get very close to them. In fact, as long as they don’t think you are a threat, they will get curious as to what you are doing and come close to investigate.
Unlike Wrasse, Spider Crabs are more timid and scuttle away to hide in the kelp.
Later we returned to the harbour for hot drinks and lunch which gave us the perfect opportunity to review and analyse what we had shot and to talk about the importance of diver buoyancy, which is key to being able to hold the camera steady for long smooth shots.
Our next dives were on the Mohegan wreck off the Manacles reef. She was originally built as a mixed passenger liner and animal carrier and went down in 1898 with the loss of 107 lives. Wrecks are tragic in terms of lives lost but finally settle on the sea bed to make robust habitats for many species of marine life.
As we finned past the ship’s boilers we came to the crushed and storm-battered remains of the rest of the ship, where pink sea fans had taken hold and were growing in the rich current. It wasn’t too long before a Ballan Wrasse appeared and began utilising our lights to look for food in the crevices and overhangs.
The dive finished with a rare encounter with a very small Monk fish or Angler fish. Believing fully in the effectiveness of its own amazing camouflage, it remained as motionless as a statue, hoping the lights would soon go away and leave it in peace. While it was great to see this wonderful fish, I also felt great sadness in that I hadn’t seen one for many years, and when I finally did, it was so small. I remember with great fondness swimming with these Angler fish off the Devon coast and an average size would be 5-6 foot (1.5-1.8 meters) in length. They are now heavily fished and their tails are often mis-sold as scampi.
The last two days of the course were held in the studio where Tony and Paul edited their clips into short videos. Here we covered all the aspects of video editing like how to produce sequences, apply colour grading, continuity issues and much more. Finally the videos were scripted, narrated and music added. The finished videos are below.
Searching for images to help Save Our Seas
The Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by The Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) and organised by the Underwater Photographer of the Year opens for entries on 1st November and closes on 7th January 2023. The conservation contest is free to enter and offers cash prizes for the first, second and third placed photographs.
The Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year is open to both above-water and underwater photographs. Photographs must highlight a marine conservation story or theme, with both positive and negative stories encouraged. Freshwater themed conservation images are also accepted.
Chair of the judges, underwater photographer and marine ecologist Dr Alex Mustard MBE said: “Powerful photographs are able to change hearts, minds and attitudes. Conservation imagery is especially important from the oceans, which faces many threats from our activities. However, these issues mostly happen unwitnessed, out of sight of land or beneath the surface. This contest gives these valuable images a huge public platform.”
Dr James Lea, CEO of the Save Our Seas Foundation, said: “Images have a profound capacity to affect how people view the world, and at SOSF we are all about encouraging positive change in how people view and interact with the marine environment. As such we are delighted to partner with the Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year award, which is uniquely placed to highlight issues our oceans are facing and inspire change”.
Previous editions of the contest have attracted entries from photographers around the world, keen to draw attention to conservation issues, campaigns and success stories important to them. The award was most recently won by Thein Nguyen Ngoc from Vietnam, with his aerial photograph “Big Appetite”. The photo shows boats straining the waters for anchovies in the Phu Yen province of his country.
“Salted anchovy is the most important raw material in traditional Vietnamese fish sauce. But these little fish are also a keystone of a natural ecosystem. Despite increased fishing, the catches of anchovies have decreased by 20-30% in the past 10 years. When they are overfished, the whales, tunas, sea birds and other marine predators face starvation and critical population declines.”
The Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year, part of UPY is an annual competition, that traces its roots back to 1965. The Marine Conservation photographer of the Year is free to enter at www.underwaterphotographeroftheyear.com
The Save Our Seas Foundation has been dedicated to protecting life in our oceans, especially sharks and rays, for 19 years. They have funded around 425 projects in over 85 countries, supporting passionate and innovative researchers, conservationists and educators.
Each project strives for deeper understanding and more innovative solutions in marine research, conservation and education.
Header Image: Thein Nguyen Ngoc
Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Sofia Tenggrono
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 September winner was Sofia Tenggrono.
What equipment do you use?
I work with Olympus TG-6 camera, Nauticam CMC-1, 2 Inon S-2000, minigear snoot dive torch
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.
WIN a c-monsta Wetsuit Hanger!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with c-monsta to give away one of their wetsuit hangers as a prize!...
WIN a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag as...
Win a Vasili Lights Fish Lantern!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with Vasili Lights to give away one of their beautiful Fish Lanterns! Inspired...
WIN a Beuchat Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!...
News1 week ago
News1 month ago
New Photo Project: Dive to be Alive!
Marine Life & Conservation1 month ago
Of grazers, browsers, scrapers and a miracle plant called Vetiver
Marine Life & Conservation1 month ago
Celebrating the biggest fish in the sea: International Whale Shark Day 2022
Marine Life & Conservation1 month ago
Great Shark Snapshot Results Are In!
Miscellaneous Blogs2 months ago
Film Review: Thirteen Lives
Marine Life & Conservation2 months ago
Statement from Captain Paul Watson on his resignation from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA)￼
Dive Training Blogs2 months ago
Tips for… Your IDC