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BSoUP Meeting - July 2001

by Andy Clark

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PHOTO TECHNIQUE

Moving subjects. As if the concept (alone) of underwater photography were not enough, Linda Dunk added to the problems and practicalities by casually throwing 'moving subjects' into the arena. More trouble, more strife and more room for disaster.

But, as Linda explained, it doesn't have to be like that. A combination of the right equipment, the right technique and a little experience in observation mix readily into a cocktail of success and reward.

On the equipment side of things - plan your shots. If the subject won't let you get close, choose a longer lens. Think about your technique and approach - will you have to pan? Approach the subject f orm below (less frightening). Take a series of images moving closer each time (less frightening). Look for patterns in shoals, herd and break off a few if necessary. Avoid chasing - you're on a looser.

But most importantly, have patience and train yourself in observation. Make note of behaviour and anticipate it. Look out for territories, prefocus and shoot. 'It all seems about exploitation really,'

Linda laughingly explained, and advised to sit up at the cleaning stations, mating and feeding grounds, and catch the flighty ones when they're asleep! If that fails, 'Go for the young ones, they're easily intimidated.'

Consider ambushing and surprise, and shooting from the hip!

Be ready, be prepared and experiment - use a red filter over your spotting torch or aiming light (less frightening), hand hold your flash - Peter Scoones is convinced strobes on arms are a major put-off. Watch, learn and anticipate. 'These are creatures of habit. If they do it once, they'll do it again!' Equally, get to know when enough is enough, back off!

Whatever you shoot, and however you shoot it, don't be bullies! A little sensitivity and a little space and who knows? The f ish may come to you!

FOCUS ON

July's Focus On 'People' theme attracted 29 entries, illustrating once more your enthusiasm and flair for creativity, evidence of which arrived in various images of divers in silhouettes, on wrecks and in countless poses with countless backgrounds. Moody and humorous images. Displays of perfect timing. In 4th place with 27 points - Alex Mustard. In 3 rd place with 30 points - Ken Sullivan - with a superb silhouette of father and son snorkelling. Holding 2nd place with 32 points - Tony White - cleverly capturing a diver portrait encircled by glass fish. And in 1st place with 40 points - Angela Harron - a gorgeously moody diver in cave, shot in ambient light at Fisherman's Bank, Jackfish Alley. Congratulations!

MAIN EVENT

Three Weeks In The Red Sea unfolded like pages turning in a photographic essay. A handful of BSoUP members illustrating the magic of Red Sea diving on a charter without dive master and a dive buddy called Peter Scoones!

New experiences and different images with every chapter, guiding us through some of the marine life - scorpion fish, crocodile fish, puffas and sharks; and some of the worthy dive sites; caves and wrecks and pure, deep blue seas.

Talk of experimenting with manual focus, front and rear curtain sync, black and white film. Interesting too, the use of zoom lenses, quite a favourite among some with shots from 17-35mm and 18-35mm offering the opportunity to add 'blur' to enhance creativity and to illustrate the not so typical Red Sea scene.

But perhaps most interestingly was the fact that the contributors between them managed to depict the Red Sea as I expect it to be. It was all there, whether intentionally or not - I suspect not - the guide offered wrecks and caves, hammerheads and colourful corals, advice on technique; aperture priority, manual exposure, wreck photography, and the advantages a charter without a dive master aboard. If I could have captured the event in it's entirety, I would have bound it and offered it around as, 'Three weeks in the Red Sea - the complete guide.'


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