The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP)
Inspiring and informing underwater photographers since 1967

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Frogfish Photography

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Scuba Travel

BSoUP Annual Beginners Portfolio Competition 2012

Winner: Paul Woodburn

The Beginners Portfolio Competition is held annually in November and is open to members & non-members alike, provided that they have not come first, second or third in a national or international competition, such as BSoUP's Open and Beginners Portfolio Competitions, Image, U/W Photographer of the Year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Marine Conservation Society, Antibes festival of underwater images, Dive Magazine’s British Underwater Image Festival etc.

The objective of the Beginners’ Portfolio competition is to identify photographers who can demonstrate a range of skills in underwater photography. The overall impression of the portfolio should communicate variety, not necessarily of subject, but certainly of approach and technique.

This year’s competition was won by Paul Woodburn, aged 43, who lives in Gosport with his wife Lisa. Paul is from Barrow, Cumbria and Lisa is from Belfast. Paul said he was “Thoroughly chuffed to win”. Paul is a freelance contractor and generally work as a Ship Draughtsman. He has  been diving since 1999 and bought his  first underwater camera in 2002 along with a copy of Jack Johnson's book  "Top Dive Sites of the World" and he always longed to go to all the places in his book. Paul and Lisa have been around the Caribbean, Thailand, Red Sea, Indonesia, and the Maldives. Their favourite time of the year to travel is over Christmas and the New Year.

Paul Woodburn's Portfolio
Paul Woodburn's Portfolio

Initially Paul bought a Canon G9 compact camera in an Ikelite housing and DS125 strobe. He  also started UK diving to keep in practise. It then took him 2 years to get his first dSLR camera set up, which he subsequently since sold last Spring.

He is  currently without an underwater camera system as he is  frustratingly awaiting for the next Nikon DX system!!

In 2008 Paul launched his own website to share his images and adventures. It is now in its fourth version.

Paul also loves fast cars and motorbikes and have just bought an Aprilia RSV-1000R. He also recently changed his car to a VW van and he is  now looking forward to customising it eventually and travelling a bit more around the UK diving with Lisa, hopefully the skipper won't mind dog-sitting Scuby while we're under!

It took Paul a few attempts  to choose his portfolio for this competition. He thinks selection is the hardest part of the hobby, along with finding an agent!

All images were taken with a Nikon D90 in an Aquatica housing with 2 Inon Z240 strobes and include the following:-

Image 1 - I laid on my back waiting for this image to happen! Fast shutter speed was important to catch the sun rays as best as possible

Lemon shark silhouette
Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-f/4.5 @ 14mm
1/180 sec @ f/16  ISO 200

Image 2 - The diverse colours are the best thing about Komodo, stunning. I felt this added a good spectrum to my portfolio.

Yellow crinoid (feather star) on Komodo reef with green chromis shoal
Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-f/4.5 @ 14mm
1/125 sec @ f/27  ISO 400

Image 3 - I took this image with quite a slow shutter speed, the shark had its nose on my dome port while I reversed in circles with it following me, I think there was some mutual bonding going on!

Lemon shark
Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-f/4.5 @ 11.5mm
1/20 sec @ f/22  ISO 400

Image 4 - These frogfish just love to pose, I chose this one as I managed to capture its lure, ready to pounce.

Giant frogfish
Cannibal Rock, Komodo, Indonesia
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0 @ 46mm
1/180 sec @ f/9.5  ISO 200

Image 5 - Who cannot resist clownfish!? A fast shutter speed is important to freeze the fast moving fins, getting them pin sharp as possible

Maldives pink clownfish on Ellaidhoo house reef
105mm Nikkor f/2.8 AF-D
1/180 sec @ f/19  ISO 200

Image 6 - A token Doris Nudibranch, I was lucky enough to capture this one "doing a Marilyn" in an appropriate current with a fast shutter speed and a large aperture, resulting in a dark background and a shallow depth of field

Chromodoris Geminus nudibranch
Cannibal Rock, Komodo, Indonesia
105mm Nikkor f/2.8 AF-D
1/180 sec @ f/6.7  ISO 200

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