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Be the champ! Anthias

Appeared in DIVER September 2017
In last month''s column on producing photos of contest-winning standard, ALEX MUSTARD looked at schools of fish. Tiny anthias can form less well-disciplined groups, but there are ways of tutoring them
'We can shout 'boo!' through our regulator, which makes all the anthias retreat, momentarily, to the reef'


Appeared in DIVER August 2017
IT'S THE SIXTH YEAR of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition but only the second in which there has been a specific underwater category. According to the organisers, whose ambitious aim is 'to surface the most compelling imagery in landscape, wildlife, nature, travel and adventure from around the planet', the smartly named Under Exposed category is proving popular with competitors.
The latest competition drew 17,000 images from professional and amateur photographers from more than 50 countries, and Ammonite Press recently released Outdoor Photographer of the Year: Portfolio II, collecting more than 160 of the best photos submitted. It costs £25, and as a taster you can see seven images from Under Exposed on this and the following pages…

BE THE CHAMP! - Shooting schools

Appeared in DIVER August 2017
It's drummed into us to get close to our subjects, but all that goes out of the window when it comes to photographing schools of fish, says ALEX MUSTARD. In fact he has found success by letting other divers get too close!
‘Shooting schools requires that we unlearn one of the golden rules of underwater photography’

Northern Six

Appeared in DIVER July 2017
THE NORTHERN UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP held its second annual Print Competition at the Great Northern Dive Show in Manchester in early April, with entries in four categories judged by visitors and overall winners selected and rewarded by competition sponsors Fleet Dive and Safari Diving Lanzarote.

BE THE CHAMP! - Fear Of Missing Out

Appeared in DIVER July 2017
This month marks a significant landmark, as ALEX MUSTARD presents the 60th in this series on taking potentially prize-winning underwater photos. His subject? Leaving your strobes behind - do you dare to do it?
'It is not an easy thing to do, because most of us are paralysed by FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out'

Hottest of the Hotshots

Appeared in DIVER June 2017
They are the sort of underwater photographs that will make many of us feel like giving up, and they keep coming because they're all part of an international contest that's been rolling out for nearly 20 years.

Be the Champ! - Double exposure

Appeared in DIVER June 2017
The double-exposure was a sensation when it burst into underwater photo contests back in the 1980s, but had gone out of style by the digital era. But why miss out on such a valuable technique? asks ALEX MUSTARD.
'Peter Scoones revealed a photo that was so novel, so incredible, that he won at a canter'

BE THE CHAMP! - Cleaners

Appeared in DIVER May 2017
It's clean-up time - continuing his long-running series on finding ways to take prize-winning photos, this month ALEX MUSTARD considers an approach based on observation and patience.
'Getting close and personal with a cleaner usually means distancing ourselves from the noise of group diving'

An octopus dances and a French diver lands the BIG prize

Appeared in DIVER April 2017
Now in its third year, the UK-based Underwater Photographer of the Year competition has additional categories and attracted more entries from more countries than ever. We have all the top shots

Black Backgrounds & Happy Buddies

Appeared in DIVER April 2017
How can you take memorable photos and be a good dive-buddy? The fashionable art of snoot-shooting has led HENLEY SPIERS along a path he believes solves this conundrum - by sharing a camera with his partner JADE HOKSBERGEN

Images in the limelight

Appeared in DIVER March 2017
Finding out how competitive photographers go about their work, and how judges go about rating their efforts can be very helpful for other underwater photographers:
BRIAN PITKIN reports on a prints competition that shows why...

BE THE CHAMP! - black and white conversion

Appeared in DIVER March 2017
Last month ALEX MUSTARD looked at how and when to use a monochrome approach while shooting under water, but when might it be a good idea to turn your colour photos to black and white on your computer?
'The lack of colour will focus the viewer's attention onto shapes, textures and compositions'

Knocking down walls for a better view

Appeared in DIVER February 2017
The British Society of Underwater Photographers, better known as BSoUP, was one of the first underwater photographic societies in the world. Now in its 50th year, co-founder COLIN DOEG guides us through half a century of photographic evolution

Getting COMPETITIVE after 30 years!

Appeared in DIVER February 2017
This month we look back at 50 years of the British Society of Underwater Photographers, but where does the society go from here? BRIAN PITKIN reports on the latest BSoUP Beginners Portfolio competition and hears from winner Simon Yates who, despite having been diving for 30 years, has just become a name for the future!

BE THE CHAMP! - black and white wrecks

Appeared in DIVER February 2017
In January ALEX MUSTARD considered the 'new black' for underwater photographers - it's black, by the way - and he stays with that theme this month as he considers the use of black and white when depicting wrecks
'The photographic challenge is that these big scenes are too large to illuminate with strobes'

BE THE CHAMP! - The New Black

Appeared in DIVER January 2017
Never mind 'The New Black', underwater photographers are happy to stick with 'Black is Black', because you can’t beat it as a way of hiding the stuff we don't want to see in our picture...

BE THE CHAMP! - critter fiddling

Appeared in DIVER December 2016
Success at any cost? Some underwater photographers will stop at nothing to obtain that winning shot, and as a result 'critter-fiddling' is now a live issue in the community. It isn't nece...

BE THE CHAMP! - the tompot blenny

Appeared in DIVER November 2016
There is a good reason why the tompot blenny is picked to grace the covers of books about British diving - it is one of the most colourful and engaging of fish. ALEX MUSTARD explains how ...

BE THE CHAMP! - a close look at bokeh

Appeared in DIVER October 2016
'There is good bokeh, bad bokeh and much debate about which lenses have which!'
New photographers may sometimes be surprised to learn that achieving out-of-focus images can be much pri...

BE THE CHAMP! - bending the rules

Appeared in DIVER September 2016
Still in 'rules are made to be broken' mode this month, ALEX MUSTARD stops to look at the bigger picture under water, and the lighting and colouring challenges that big scenes present


Appeared in DIVER August 2016
STUART WESTMORELAND wrote PADI's Fluorescence Night Diver distinctive speciality course, and he reckons there's far more to fluo-diving than wow-factor night-dives and unusual photos - th...

BE THE CHAMP! - a 'photograhic eye'

Appeared in DIVER August 2016
Rules is rules - but don't be ruled by them. That's ALEX MUSTARD's message this month, because ultimately even if your photograph breaks with compositional convention, the acid test is wh...

BE THE CHAMP! - Mastering colour

Appeared in DIVER July 2016
Mastering colour is ALEX MUSTARD's subject this month - there’s no need to become obsessive about it, he says, because your subconscious may well do the job for you. But never forget th...

BE THE CHAMP! - Backgrounds

Appeared in DIVER June 2016
You don't need your audience to be wearing funny glasses for your images to appear three-dimensional, says ALEX MUSTARD - just bear in mind what's happening at the back of the picture as ...


Appeared in DIVER May 2016
THE BRITISH SOCIETY OF UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHERS (BSoUP) holds its Beginners Portfolio competition towards the end of each year.

BE THE CHAMP! - Lighting

Appeared in DIVER May 2016
The latest narrow-beam LED torches, like Inon's LF800, are specifically designed for photography. They are easiest to use when aimed by a buddy, so consider splitting the purchase cost. <...


Appeared in DIVER May 2016
THE OCEAN ART UNDERWATER PHOTO COMPETITION is organised each year by the influential online Underwater Photography Guide, and its recently announced 2015 winners represent entries from mo...

BE THE CHAMP! - How to win UPY

Appeared in DIVER April 2016
It would be nice to think that our unintentionally blurred photographic efforts could go on to win major competitions, but of course it's not quite that simple. ALEX MUSTARD examines the ...

Revealed: Underwater Photographer of the Year

Appeared in DIVER March 2016
THESE STUNNING IMAGES are the winners from the second year of the Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) competition. 2016 saw the number of entries rise from 2500 to 3500, as photogra...


Appeared in DIVER February 2016
Spectacular light effects achieved by harnessing the sun are highly prized by underwater photographers, but there's no magic bullet - it's all about reading the prevailing conditions, say...