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BSoUP's Sponsors

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Winning Imaes by Paul Colley

Cameras Underwater - Sponsor of the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition 2015 - 2018 and BIUPC 2015 and 2016

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Diver Magazine - Sponsor of the Annual Beginners Portfolio Competition and the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition

DiveQuest - Sponsor of the Underwater Excellence

BSoUP Beginners Portfolio Competition 2007

For the DIVER Trophy

Winner - Anna James

Anna James - Beginners Portfolio - Winner
Beginners Portfolio Competition 2007 - Winner © Anna James

My portfolio by Anna James

Anna James

I’m 28 years old. I come from Bristol but have been living and working in Cardiff, South Wales for 3 years.

I have a degree in Film and Video production and work as a Freelance Focus Puller (Camera Assistant) for various television dramas including BBC’s ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Torchwood’ and currently I am working for S4C on a Welsh language drama called ‘Y Pris’ or ‘Cockle farmer’.

I have been taking photographs all my life. As a child my Dad; Alan James used to show me photographs of sharks, turtles etc. that he had taken with his favourite new toy – an underwater camera.

I got the opportunity to learn to dive in British waters when I was 18. Since qualifying I have never dived without a camera. My father lent me various camera systems over the years and gave me my first film camera and housing, a Nikon F50 – which I still use for some of my work today.

Since then I have bought a Nikon D70 with Sea and Sea housing and also a compact Sony W7 camera. I used the compact camera to back pack around South East Asia last year and currently use it as a back up camera. I am planning to upgrade to a Nikon D300 in the new year.

I have been a member of the Bristol Underwater Photography Group for a couple of years. Attending the group has really encouraged me to develop my skills and try new techniques. 

In addition to photographing fish, I also shoot underwater baby portraits for a company that provides baby swimming lessons. It is a great challenge and the rewards of catching the baby at just the right moment are second to none.

My current aim is to get back into UK diving. I would like to explore the local waters of West Wales. It seems a shame to travel so far around the world when I haven’t yet explored what is available locally on my doorstep.

To structure my portfolio I was looking for striking images, with lots of contrast, light and colour. I tried to select images that would complement each other by matching and mirroring composition, colour, and subjects together.


1/ Seahorse
Location: Nuweiba, Red Sea
Settings: Iso 200 1/125 shutter, F29, 60mm
Camera: Nikon D70, Sea and Sea Housing, 2 x YS90 Strobes

When I spotted this sea horse I was pleasantly surprised as it was really well camouflaged in sea grass. I knew if I took my eyes off him I wouldn’t be able to find him again.

Diver in Yoga pose

2/ Diver in Yoga pose
Location: Shark Observatory, Sharm El Sheikh, Red Sea.
Settings: Iso 200 1/125 shutter,  F20, 10.5mm
Camera: Nikon D70, Sea and Sea Housing, 2 x YS90 Strobes

I was swimming towards the entrance of a cave and could see that there were already quite a few divers in there. I wanted to take some cave shots with nice clear non stirred up water so I hung back. In doing so I realized the view directly above me was very interesting. As divers approach the cave I photographed them looking straight up towards the sun. One Diver, Mike Green started to do some Yoga style poses for me. I shifted myself so that he was directly in front of the sun and was really please with the impact of the shot created.

Pigmy Seahorse

3/ Pigmy Seahorse

Location: Mabul, Borneo.
Settings: Iso 200 1/125 shutter, F22, 60mm
Camera: Nikon D70, Sea and Sea Housing, 2 x YS90 Strobes

I love pigmy seahorses, but they are very small, shy and tricky subjects. After many attempts I finally got the shot.

Red Soft Corals on Yolanda Wreck

4/ Red Soft Corals on Yolanda Wreck
Location: Yolanda Ship Wreck, Sharm El Sheikh
Settings: Iso 200 1/125 shutter, F22, 10.5mm
Camera: Nikon D70, Sea and Sea Housing, 2 x YS90 Strobes

This dive was very busy, so while all the other divers were looking at a nearby turtle I took advantage of the empty spaces and worked with the interesting shapes provided by the remains of the shipwreck covered in beautiful red and orange soft corals.

5/ Self Portrait

Location: Gilli Isles, Indonesia
Settings: Iso 100, 1/125 shutter, F5.6
Camera: Sony W7 Compact, Sea and Sea Housing, single YS90 Strobe

Often on safety stops I photograph other divers, in this case I experimented with myself

Jackson Reef

6/ Jackson Reef

Location: Jackson Reef, Tiran, Sharm El Sheikh.
Settings: Iso 200, 1/250, F22, 10.5mm

I wanted to create a shot that looked like it was being lit only by the sunlight. This I have achieved by placing my strobe so that no light falls onto the underside of the coral.

BSoUP Beginners Portfolio Competition

Beginners Portfolio Competition Winners


2017 Nur Tucker

2016 Simon Yates

2015 John Parker

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


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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