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BSoUP Meeting - June 2001

by Andy Clark

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PHOTO TECHNIQUE

Wreck Photography. Precise and structured, Ken offered an evening of worldly advice. Food for thought, a (another) chance 'to look at some of Ken's old wreck shots', and the promise of some new ones. An evening of careful direction and equally credible images, tuition, or maybe realisation, of the opportunities wrecks provide and guidelines on obtaining those silhouettes and sunbursts, divers and marine life.

What sort of shot do you want? How are you going to light it? Full flash, balanced light, ambient? What do you want the focal point of the image to be? Foreground, wreck structure, diver? And with endless questions of my own arising, Ken took us through images illustrating his teachings (and introducing his family).

The scope on wrecks is endless - pick a lens, any lens, and you'll find you're able to use it, from macro to ultra wide. Practice your skills with close focus wide angle, obtain dramatic lines with a fish eye. Capture the mood remembering you may have to meter several times, and bracket for best results) Try using a tripod - hand holding for 1/15th or longer probably won't give you the shot you're looking for.

But whatever images you have in mind, remember wrecks can be deep and dangerous places. Research the site, explore and take note of photo opportunities, sun position etc. Monitor the depth at bow and stern and carefully plan your dive. And above all, always fly the Wflag ? your insurance company will be happy (happier) to pay out!

FOCUS ON

June's FOCUS ON attracted 16 entries for the wide angle competition, and what lacked in quantity was hugely outweighed by quality. Vibrant and creative images offered in the form of hammerheads and jellyfish, reflections and silhouettes. Testimony to aspiration. In 4 th place with 29 points - Ewan Shearer. In 3rd place with 33 points - Ewan Shearer - with a brilliant display of shoaling red fish in deep blue. In 2nd place with 47 points - Ken Sullivan - with his dramatic Galapagos hammerhead shot. And in 1st place with 52 points - Ken Sullivan - with an atmospheric shot of shoaling fish against Town Pier, Bonaire. Congratulations you two!

MAIN EVENT

There must have been a few of us who left June's meeting with a little envy following the Tony White Experience - a man who after 25 years as a Navy photographer, found the lack of room for creativity, too much. A move to commercial and industrial photography did little to fuel his inspiration, proving only to resent 'meeting other people's needs.' Even 12 years as production manager failed to offer the challenge and interest sought. Quite the contrary. Tony decided, having 'done the full course', to 'jack it all in.'

In St. Lucia sometime later, Tony borrowed a friends MMII and saw photography in a new light. This was a different world with new challenges, setting the ultimatum, 'do something with this or give it all up.' Three years on, he's never looked back. 'It wasn't easy and still isn't.' He later told me. 'The dif ference now is, I like my work.'

Early research into camera systems and numerous letters to the various dive mags, Tony worked hard to get off the ground. Intent on diving unusual places and photographing unusual creatures, he made a start with the leafy sea dragon. But, striking though the shots were, they proved too strong for the competition entered, securing him only 5th place.

More research, dive destinations and more vibrant punchy images, Tony admitted enjoying the whole experience. But he made his mistakes too - P. N. G was very expensive... 'I expected to see all the unusual life.' He left disappointed. In Yucatan too, Tony discovered he was there at the wrong time of year, and the boat broke down.

But the demand for the unusual fired him on and after 14 months of self-employment he headed for Indonesia and built himself an admirable library. 'Commercialism kicked in too,' he explained and told of supplying the greeting card market with his images.

And on went the photography, favouring the 105mm and the +4 dioptre, images from the micro world graced the screen. 'I've pushed macro as far as possible. 2001 is going to be wide angle year.' But whatever he shoots and wherever he shoots it, Tony has obvious flair and enthusiasm for underwater photography. 'Iwant to experiment, to see what works. If it works on land, does it work underwater?' It certainly seems to - remember the leafy sea dragon? It's been in numerous articles and adorns many a front cover and web site, despite only obtaining 5th. And the greeting cards? Thousands being sold, a deal going down with Volvo and so on. But it's not all about commerce as Tony closes, 'Retain what you enjoy about photography. If you like what you're showing, you've won!'

Another brilliant evening! Thank you all.


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