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BSoUP's Theme Portfolio Competition 1998

Winner - Bob Allen



'Carnatic' © Bob Allen

My winning portfolio

by Bob Allen

Equipment:- Subal Housing, Nikon 8015 Camera Nikon 16mrn Fish-eye lens, Fish-eye dome port, Sea and Sea
Y550 and Y530 strobes and 100 ASA Fuji Provia film.

All the pictures were taken on the wreck of the two-masted schooner-shaped CARNATIC which sank on the 13th September 1869. The ship was a mail ship of the Peninsular and Oriental Company of 90m length, 1,776 tons, built of iron and powered by sails and a steam-driven propeller. She ran into the Red Sea Reef of Shat Abu Nuhas on the north side, where she rests in 25m of water on her port side, running parallel to the reef with her deck facing out into open water.

To me she is the most exciting of wrecks and my favourite, being almost 136 years old, bridging the age of steam and sail, and all the doubts of the period about iron as opposed to wooden ships. She is very much the wreck that is imagined, or dreamed of, by divers and non-divers alike.


Taken half-way along the bow section on the top of the deck and shows a diver, sunburst and illuminated soft coral. Using aperture priority, I set the exposure at f8 to control the sun burst and focused on and illuminated the soft coral in the foreground with the Y550


The lateen stern taken from the sea bed at 25m. Ishows a diver with a lighted torch descending from the surface?boat to the wreck. I set the aperture to F5.6/4.8 to give the longest possible time exposure (l/30th,l/15th sec.) so I could hand hold the camera. This is an attempt to give the longest possible time for the detail of the wreck to be recorded through the water column between camera and subject.


The bow section showing the support and hole where the timber bowsprit would have been mounted. The difficulty with this shot is balancing the sunburst and the darker wreck due to the depth. Here I set the aperture after metering off the wreck and the sun and taking an average then bracketing either side by adjusting the speed. The aperture would have been F8/FI1 to give good depth of field and slow speed to record the detail.


Taken inside the stern with the diver exploring with a torch, notice the deck supports in iron and the square port holes. Here I have set the aperture at F5.6/1`8 to give detail, at a speed of 1/60th second to balance strobes. I have used both strobes, YS 50 to illuminate at high level and the YS 30 at low level to give good overall illumination of the structure and diver.


Taken inside the bow section and shows the second deck level, an illuminated scorpion fish and a diver with the illuminating torch. Here again, I have used aperture priority, setting the aperture to F8/F11 to control the light on the fish and speed of 1/60'h second. I used the Y530 strobe to illuminate the close fish (100mm) and the Y550 the diver. The distance of the diver from the strobe has tended to under-expose the diver. There is always the need with the fisheye lens to remember to keep your strobes well back or they will make an unwelcome appearance in the picture. This makes long distance illumination quite difficult as is the case with this diver.


A silhouette of a diver exploring inside the bow section with a torch. Here I have tried to use an aperture to give sharp detail, F5.6/F8 at a speed of 1/30"h to 1/15h second. The bright sunburst though the square pothole has given a good halo effect, but might have been better placed behind the fixed structure to enable more detail to be seen (a personal choice as always).

BSoUP Theme Portfolio Competition

Theme Portfolio Winners


2017 Martyn Guess

2016 Mikko Voipio

2015 Pash Baker

2014 Robert Bailey

2013 Martyn Guess

2012 Keith Lyall

2011 Trevor Rees

2010 Martyn Guess

2009 Trevor Rees

2008 Arthur Kingdon

2007 JP Trenque

2006 Alex Mustard

2005 Alex Mustard

2004 Jane Morgan

2003 Linda Dunk

2002 Linda Dunk

2001 Linda Dunk

2000 Sue Heaps

1999 Bob Allen

1998 Bob Allen

1997 Anne Owen

1996 Ken Sullivan

1995 Anthony Holley

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