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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
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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!
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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'
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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 pictures, says ALEX MUSTARD
'The key is in controlling the background, and the more of the muck we can hide, the better'
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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 necessary, says ALEX MUSTARD
'Many still want to continue to poke and prod and just want to know what level is socially acceptable'
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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 to make that tompot image pop
"The golden rule of capturing character is getting first-class eye contact"
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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 prized by others - even if their own efforts are not. ALEX MUSTARD takes a close look at bokeh
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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
‘Where is the fun in underwater photography if we’re not prepared to bend the odd rule?
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FLUO-DIVING Night & Day

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 - though those taken here by the author and LYNN MINER do look pretty good!
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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 whether it looks right
'Perhaps the greatest benefit of any of the guides is that they help us develop our photographic eye'
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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 the value of a dash of red
'Too many colours make a mess. As when everyone speaks at once, the message is lost'
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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 well as at the front.
‘It doesn't matter what the background is, it's having it there that endows the photo with depth’
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BEGINNERS PRIZE for Parker

Appeared in DIVER May 2016
THE BRITISH SOCIETY OF UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHERS (BSoUP) holds its Beginners Portfolio competition towards the end of each year.
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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.
When you dive with the torch, spend time aiming it for each other's images. You'll often come up with the best ideas when you’re lighting and not shooting.
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OCEAN ART

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 more than 50 countries.
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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...

BE THE CHAMP! - The Sun

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...

It's a small blue world

Appeared in DIVER January 2016
Underwater photographer JASON ISLEY of Scubazoo has a new book out this spring, and it's a little bit different. We think it could be the start of something big!

BE THE CHAMP! - A rainy day

Appeared in DIVER January 2016
It's raining, it's pouring, but are we downhearted - or restricted to macro? Not if we take our underwater photos the ALEX MUSTARD way - it's just a matter of adapting our approach, he te...

Image Power

Appeared in DIVER December 2015
The prestigious annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, now in its 51st year, opened at London's Natural History Museum in October and runs until 10 April 2016.

BE THE CHAMP! - Great White Sharks

Appeared in DIVER December 2015
In keeping with our Predators at Christmas theme, ALEX MUSTARD turns his attention to photographing great white sharks - and explodes the myth that venturing outside the cage produces the...

Perfectly Panoramic

Appeared in DIVER November 2015
Want to broaden your horizons? JUSTIN GILLIGAN shares his experiences of creating spectacular underwater panoramic images.

BE THE CHAMP! - Wide Angle Macro

Appeared in DIVER November 2015
WAM - it has nothing to do with George Michael's early days, it's a trendy technique in wildlife photography, says ALEX MUSTARD - but don't dismiss it, because it can be a great way of ca...

BE THE CHAMP! - Swimming in currents

Appeared in DIVER October 2015
Plenty of technical exercises in photography can be practised and perfected under water in normal conditions, but when you have to contend with a current it becomes more problematic, says...

BE THE CHAMP! - Eyes

Appeared in DIVER September 2015
Good fish-eye photographs can exert a mesmeric fascination on the viewer and, competitors can only hope, on contest judges. ALEX MUSTARD offers a wealth of tips and tricks for divers seek...

BE THE CHAMP! - Monochrome

Appeared in DIVER August 2015
Some people love monochrome, others regard it purely as a way to salvage failed colour shots. This month ALEX MUSTARD shows how underwater black & white photography can step up to competi...

BE THE CHAMP! - Blues

Appeared in DIVER July 2015
Backgrounds can make or break a good underwater photograph, and this month ALEX MUSTARD's topic is water colours. There are many shades of blue, but how do you achieve the one that will b...

BE THE CHAMP! - Filters

Appeared in DIVER June 2015
Filters are a valuable tool in an underwater photographer's armoury, says ALEX MUSTARD - and he should know, because it's now 10 years since his experiments in the Red Sea surprised every...

BE THE CHAMP! - Off-camera strobes

Appeared in DIVER May 2015
We get a little more technical this month as photo-guru ALEX MUSTARD tackles the subject of off-camera lighting. A cure for backscatter, a contrast-booster and an atmosphere-shaper, this ...