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BSoUP's Theme Portfolio Competition 2005

Winner - Alex Mustard

1) Alex Mustard
2) Alan James
3) Jane Morgan
4=) Heather Hammond
4=) J-P Trenque
6) Peter Rowlands







Rush Hour At Stingray City © Alex Mustard

BSoUP Theme Portfolio 2005

Rush Hour At Stingray City - Alexander Mustard

I am very happy to have added my first win the Theme Portfolio Competition to the Open Portfolio that I won back in December.

The inspiration for this portfolio came from the central image on the top row, which I took three years ago. The remaining images were all taken on a single dawn dive at Stingray City, Grand Cayman, in January 2005.

The rays of Grand Cayman's Stingray City are world famous, but what is less widely known is that at dawn the rays form into a super school numbering more than 80 and circle the site in formation. This behaviour stops as soon as the first feeding boat arrives. I was first shown this behaviour in the summer on 2002 (when I took the original image) by marine biologist, artist and documentary filmmaker Dr Guy Harvey. And ever since that first trip I have been trying to get back. The problem is that unless you have loads of cash it is pretty difficult to persuade anyone to take you to Stingray City at dawn! So when I was asked to host the Digital Jam event, my main condition was that we would do a dawn dive with the stingrays! That is when these pictures were taken.

Alex Mustard I was on teaching duty during the Digital Jam week and was not really taking images for myself. I didn't even have a camera of my own with me! These pictures were taken with a Nikon D70 that I borrowed for the dive from a friend on the island! I guess at this point I should add a shameless plug for next year's Digital Jam! Please drop me an email if you fancy seeing the schooling rays for yourself next January!
Stingrays 1) A pair of stingrays glide down the side of the Sandbar. All these images are lit only with available light, and this is the only one that I used a filter. Although the images were all taken on one dive I returned to the boat on several occasions to change lenses etc. This image was taken using a prototype UR Pro filter that I was testing. Nikon D70 + 20mm lens. F8 @ 1/160th.

2) Squadron. This is the original image that inspired the portfolio. Nikonos V + 15mm lens. I don't remember the settings but almost certainly F8 on aperture priority auto..


3) School of rays. There are actually 30 rays in this image! No filter was used for this image but the camera was custom white balanced. Nikon D70 + 10.5mm Fisheye. F8 @ 1/250th.


4) Lone Stingray. The original image had shown me what strong compositional elements the sand ripples and the shadows of the rays are in black and white. This image was shot specifically for the left side of a portfolio trying to exploit these features in a different composition. I used the upper AF sensor on the D70 to focus on the ray close to the top of the frame. Nikon D70 + 20mm. F6.3 @ 1/160th.


5) This was the last image that I added to the portfolio. For this space I wanted a vertical colour shot that complimented the three rays above. This image was shot as a horizontal with the fisheye and then cropped into a vertical. It is the only image that has any cropping in this portfolio, as one part of my motivation was to show the rays in as much space as possible. Nikon D70 + 10.5mm. F8 @ 1/160th.


6) This final image, like the other monochromes was always visualised as a black and white. Again I was trying to create space in the image, while exploiting the ripples and horizon in the composition. Stingray City is one of the few places I shoot where I get a horizon in my underwater images and it is nice to use it to add depth to the image. This image doesn't really work this small and does need to be seen larger. Nikon D70 + 10.5. F8 @ 1/250th.

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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