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Open Portfolio Competition

December 2011

5th - Martyn Guess

Martyn Guess
6th © Martyn Guess

My Portfolio


Martyn Guess

Martyn Guess is a  commercial property developer based in Dorking Surrey. He started diving over 25 years ago and has from school days had an avid interest in photography. His first forays into underwater photography were with a Nikonas film camera in Grand Cayman with Cathy Church but for many years has embraced the world of digital photography. And currently uses a Nikon D300 and Subal housing with twin Inon strobes

He is a good friend and former student of Martin Edge and has travelled the world with his “model” wife Sue seeking out new underwater photo opportunities. A self-confessed warm water diver his ambition is to get into UK diving!

His images regularly appear in dive magazines and travel brochures.

Image 1Red Fan coral and sunburst

F22 1/90th sec ISO 200

Taken in Raja Ampat February 2011. I have been experimenting with sunbursts and strong strobe lighting of a foreground subject. I think the bright colour of the fan works well with the background sea colour. The image wouldn’t work at all without the sunburst which adds another dimension to the image.

Image 2 Christmas tree worm

F16 1/250th sec ISO 200 lit by fibre optic snoot manufactured by Ken Sullivan.
Taken in Sulawesi in October 2010.

I have been taking a lot of snoot lit images over the last 12 months. This image demonstrates what can be achieved by overhead snoot lighting as the otherwise distracting background is completely blacked out

Image 3 Fan Coral in silhouetted reef background

F11 1/250th sec ISO 200

Taken in Misool Raja Ampat in February 2011 at Boo Window.
I have been trying to pick a foreground subject such as this fan and set it against the silhouette of the reef to give it more impact. The depth of the image, as you look up to the surface works well.

Image 4 whip Gobie – super macro

F22 1/350th sec ISO 100 Sub sea +10 magnifier
This image was taken in Sulawesi last October. I spent much of the trip taking super macro shots with snoot lighting. I like the bright colours of the subject and the foreground and thought it worked well with this portfolio.

Image 5 Diver and cave mouth Misool Raja Ampat

F11 1/125th sec ISO 200

I thought this image and the square crop worked well with this portfolio and helped to balance the 3 blue images with the 3 orange images and acted as a focal point of the whole portfolio. Interestingly I have been using square crops more regularly and when I recently visited the Landscape photographer of the year exhibition it is remarkable how many of these shapes are now being used by land photographers – probably approaching 50% of the images on display! Maybe something for us underwater image makers to consider more often.

Image 6 juvenile scorpion fish Sulawesi

F16 1/250th ISO 200

I thought this image helped to balance the portfolio. The image itself is snoot lit from above which helps to show off the colour and texture of the fishes face.

To see more of Martyn’s images visit


BSoUP's Open Portfolio Competition Winners 1984-

2017 Mark Drayton

2016 Taner Altigan

2015 Cathy Lewis

2014 Mark Drayton

2013 Jackie Campbell

2012 Mark Pickford

2011 Dray van Beeck

2010 Giordano Cipriani

2009 Trevor Rees

2008 JP Trenque

2007 Shannon Conway

2006 Steve Jones

2005 Jane Morgan

2004 Alex Mustard

2003 Charles Hood

2002 Linda Dunk

2001 Tony White

2000 Gary Clark

1999 Guy Middleton

1998 Hilary Driscoll

1997 Malcolm Hey

1996 Linda Dunk

1995 Linda Dunk

1994 Linda Dunk

1993 Linda Pitkin

1992 Charles Hood

1991 Georgette Douwma

1990 Mike Wong

1989 Mike Wong

1988 Mike Wong

1987 Georgette Douwma

1986 Georgette Douwma

1985 Warren Williams

1984 Georgette Douwma

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