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Beginners Portfolio Competition 1994

Winner - Nigel Doe

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 54 (March 1995)

The Beginners Portfolio Competition 1994 for the Diver Trophy took place at the November meeting of the Society. The competition was open to anyone who had not previously been placed in a national or international competition. Each entrant was invited to submit a portfolio of six slides taken underwater anywhere in the world, except in a swimming pool or aquarium.

This year there were 16 entrants, nine female and seven male. Each portfolio of six slides was projected three times using six projectors and a back projection screen. The audience were invited to vote for their favourite three portfolios in order of preference.

Third place with 46 points went to Ken Sullivan. Ken Sullivan, from Letchworth in Herts, has been diving for nearly 30 years and taking photographs for 8 years. A regular at BSoUP meetings, Ken's portfolio slides were taken using either a Nikon F801 in a Subal housing or with a Nikonos V. He uses the housed Nikon camera with a Nikon SB24 flash in a housing that he built himself. His portfolio, which came third, comprised a coral crab taken ona night dive at the Brothers, Red Sea; a hammerhead shark taken in the Galapagos Islands using a Nikonos V with 15 mm lens in natural light; a Masked Puffer taken again on a night dive at the Brothers; a diver and Clown Fish taken at the Pinnacles, Eilat; a wreck taken at the Dolpin Park, Eilat in natural light; and alion fish taken off Coral Beach, Eilat, using a Sea and Sea YS50 flash.

There was seemingly a dead heat between Nigel Doe and Malcolm Hey, whose portfolios each scored 67 points. However, following a recount, which confirmed a dead heat, the number of first places was counted for each portfolio. Incredibly the two portfolios had an identical number of first places, so a count of the number of second places was made. Nigel scored one more second place than Malcolm and so became the winner of this year's Beginners Portfolio Competition.

Malcolm Hey, entering his first underwater photographic competition, was "over the moon" to come a very close second. He is a diver turned photographer, currently a member of Bedford BS-AC. Malcolm has been diving for fourteen years and is a BS-AC First Class Diver, Advanced Instructor and former BS-AC Regional Coach. Having qualified, his interests turned predominantly to underwater photography. He "played around with an Olympus Trip in a Birchley housing during 1987 and 1988 with "appalling results" and then bought a Nikonos V suystem and a Morris F3 Aquaflash in 1988. He used the system on occasional dives but was disappointed to find that the new system didn't do much to improve his photography.

Keen to learn, Malcolm went on a photographic course with Martin Edge in August 1990 on the MV Maurenn out of Salcombe. Since then he has been on numerous courses lead by Martin in Poole, Bournemouth and many of Martin's Red Sea holiday/expeditions. He travels a good deal and over the last few years has dived/photographed in the Maldives, Red Sea, Philippines, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and various other Caribbean locations. This year he bought a Nikon F801 camera and a Subal housing.

Malcolm's six slides included a lion fish taken at Panorama Reef and a Queen Angel fish taken at Abu Kafan Reef, red Sea using his Nikon F801 with a 60 mm macro lens at f22 and f11 respectively on Kodak Elite 100; a portrait of a Soldier Fish taken at Abu Kafan Reef with the same camera system at f22 on Fuji Velvia; a wide-angle shot of a diver over gorgonia and soft corals also at Abu Kafan with a 200 mm lens at f11 on his Nikon F801 on Kodak film; a macro shot of a yellow feather star taken in the Isle of Boracay, Philippines using a Nikonos V with supplementary close-up lens, Morris F3 flash on TTL with Kodak Ektachrome 100; and a diver over soft coral takenat Ras Mohammed in the Red Sea usinga 15 mm Sea and Sea lens at f11 on a NIkonos V with a Morris F3 flash on Kodak Elite.

Nigel, who lives in Barnes, west London, started diving in 1982, although he didn't take diving seriously until he joined Harrow BS-AC in 1991. He used an underwater camera for the first time on an expedition to the Belize barrier reef with Coral Cay Conservation and immediately became hooked. He purchased a Sea and Sea Motormarine II camera on his return to the UK and started attending BSoUP meetings for inspiration.

The quality of Nigel's pictures improved steadily, but he realised that there were still a lot of area where he was making little or no progress.  He set himself a target, that if he couldn't correct these mistakes by the end of 1993 then he'd sell the camera and admit defeat. A special BSoUP theory course organised by Peter Rowlands, followed by a practical course with Martin Edge helped Nigel overcome most of his problems.

Nigel's winning portfolio were, with the exception of one slide, taken with a Nikon F801 camera and 60 mm lens in a Subal housing. They included a lion fish taken at Moses Rock, Eilat at f8 using Aperture priority and SB24 flash on TTL with Fuji Velvia; a clam taken at Little Moses, Eilat shot at f22 @1/125th in manual mode; a blacktip grouper taken at Japanese Gardens, Eilat at about f8 on manual; a yellow mouthed moray again at Eilat, taken at f22 @1/125th on manual; an anemone at Anemone City, Ras Mohammed taken with a Motormarine II with a 20 mm wide-angle lens, a YS50 flash at f11 on Kodak Elite 100; and an orange sea perch taken at Eilat using a Nikon F801 on Fuji Velvia.

Last year's winner, Gavin Anderson, presented Nigel with the Diver Trophy.

BSoUP Beginners Portfolio Competition

Beginners Portfolio Competition Winners

2014 Sue Guess

2013 Mark Drayton

2012 Paul Woodburn

2011 Sean Arrowsmith

2010 Will Clark

2009 Daniel Norwood

2008 David Henshaw

2007 Anna James

2006 Kam Arya

2005 Shannon Conway

2004 Judy Winterman

2003 Samantha Bean

2002 Jane Morgan

2001 Cathy Lewis

2000 Tony White

1999 Mike Maloney

1998 Gary Clarke

1997 Sue Heaps

1996 Hilary Driscoll

1995 Malcom Hey

1994 Nigel Doe

1993 Gavin Anderson

1992 Paul Naylor

1991 Howard Bunyan

1990 Dave Meates

1989 John Lee

1988 Alfredo Rock

1987 Mark Taylor

1986 Michael Wong

1985 Martin Edge

1984 Viv Pearson

1983 Linda Pitkin

1982 Mike Valentine

1981 Brian Humphries

1980 Graham Pattie


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