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Kungkungan Bay Resort

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

Beginners Portfolio 2011

Winner: Sean Arrowsmith

Sean Arrowsmith's Winning Portfolio
Sean Arrowsmith's Winning Portfolio 2011

About my portfolio

by Sean Arrowsmith

I am originally from the London/Surrey borders, and have been diving for 11 years, first learning in Gran Canaria. After a few years I found myself working as an instructor in Lanzarote and it is here where I first started to take photos underwater, using an Olympus compact.
I found I had started to enjoy photography more than teaching, so left Lanzarote and went for a 3  month trip to Asia. Unfortunately I had a DCI incident and decided to hang up my fins. As is usually the case, the draw of being underwater pulled me back, so in 2010 I went diving again, this time with a housed Nikon D90.
Rather than go through the trial and error method of learning how to use this, as I had with the compacts, I booked myself in with Martin Edge for the day, this is something I cannot recommend highly enough - he really opened my eyes to what makes an image work.

1. Sea star - Diving in the very macro oriented location of Ambon, we had dived this reef the day before and decided to come back with wide angle lenses. As so often happens when plans are made, we arrived on site and the weather was awful, grey and drizzling with rain. A strong wind overnight had dropped the visibility and also blown in a lot of rubbish. Photographically, it was very unproductive, until we ascended to the shallows for our safety stops where, for a brief time, the sun finally came out. I had already shot this seastar, but the photo was bland and boring, upon seeing the sun I rushed back and reshot it, this time the light rays helped to bring the image to life. Nikon D90, Ikelite housing, Tokina 10-17mm + 1.4TC, Sea and Sea strobes

2. Coleman's shrimp - These have to be one of my all time favourites of the shrimps, I love the detail on their body and also their host fire urchin makes for a fantastic background, full of colour. Diving at Middle Point in Ambon, there are hundreds of fire urchins, and many of them have these beautiful residents. I had already shot the 'standard' shot of a pair on the urchin, and was looking to try something different. I had glued an adaptor ring onto the front of my macro port, enabling me to use an Inon wet lens for some super macro work, so the hunt was on. Finding a beautiful pair of shrimps, I took several close-ups, using the 105mm lens, then I screwed on the Inon lens. Struggling with the lack of DOF I managed to get several shots which I am happy with. Nikon D90, Ikelite housing, Nikon 105mm, Inon-UCL165, Sea and Sea strobes

3. Diver under the pier - Situated just 3 minutes from the resort in Ambon, this jetty was a fantastic locations, for both wide angle and macro shots. MY girlfriend Claire has only recently taken up UW photography, so is at times reluctant to model for me, preferring to take her own shots. I had taken several shots of the pier legs and their resident crinoids and corals, but felt the image needed a diver. I persuaded Claire to do some modelling for me and achieved the image you see here. Nikon D90, Ikelite housing, Tokina 10-17mm + 1.4TC, Sea and Sea strobes

4. Purple Flabellina - I was on a short break in Lanzarote, visiting my old employers, when my (ex) boss remarked she hadn't seen any for a long time. I had already been shooting them so took her straight to see them. Sitting in only around 8m of water, it was very bright, so I used a snoot I had made from an old plant pot (I kid you not) to bring the background under control. Nikon D90, Ikelite housing, Nikon 60mm, Sea and Sea strobe (snooted)

5. Diver with sea star - Yet another shot from Ambon, I managed to persuade Claire to model for me once again and tried several compositions of this, both with and without a dive light. This is the shot that appeals to me the most, as the contrast between the blue water and lighter seastar really draws the eye. Nikon D90, Ikelite housing, Tokina 10-17mm + 1.4TC, Sea and Sea strobes

6. Nembrotha nudibranch - Returning to the jetty in Ambon, armed with my 105mm lens, I had spotted several Nembrotha the day before, so returned to look for them again. They were helpfully living on top of a collapsed pier leg, which made it very easy to get down to their level. Opening the aperture up to f/5.6, I shot something like 40 frames, of which 3 I kept. The razor thin depth of field was hard work, but I had fitted an Inon enhanced viewfinder to my housing, which made a world of difference. Nikon D90, Ikelite housing, Nikon 105mm, Sea and Sea strobes


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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