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Club diving - one way forward

by Peter Tatton

Reproduced from in focus 30 (Dec 88 / Jan 89)

If you can't beat them, join them. So this year (1988) I did just that. I belong to one of the larger branches of the BSAC. It boasts its own club house with bar and a swimming pool as well as two new inflatables. The only problem Is a membership of over 150. So how was I going to be able to do some serious underwater photography? Simple! I started my own photographic group. The aim was to provide photographic help at any level to the members, At the first meeting about half a dozen members attended with cameras ranging from Sea and Sea Motormarines to a variety of Nikonos cameras and a Pentax in a housing. Each meeting started with a talk on a basic subject similar to those given at BSoUP monthly meetings. Then we would discuss specific problems and review each others work. There have been six meetings over the year with various club members attending to find out about underwater photography and how to use their cameras. We are now recognised as a group! Even the Club Committee have endorsed our activities.

The main aim of the group, however, was not to talk about photography but to go diving to take underwater photographs. This we have managed to do, our first trip away being at Easter based in a caravan at Beesands, 100 metres from the sea. The only problem with this was the easterly wind which ruled out launching from the beach. One of the great joys we soon found out about diving together was that there were no arguments about where to dive, since the water conditions dictated the type of photographic dive we could do. Being self catering enabled us to process on site, which improved our results as we quickly learnt from our own and each others mistakes.

Since Easter the members of the group have been able to dive with fellow photographers on most occasions. With day and weekend trips to the south coast and a longer trip to the Farne Islands and St. Abbs, this year has certainly been one of 'Club diving' but with a great difference.

If anyone is interested in starting their own branch group or would like to know more about the St. Albans group, they can contact me at home on Tel. 0727 32895.

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