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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?


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!

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'

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'

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’


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.
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.


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.

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 technical aspects of blur.
'Lopresti used photographic skill to transform the surroundings into beautiful background'

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 photographers from 54 different countries submitted their best images hoping to be the champ.


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, says ALEX MUSTARD.
'We'll quickly discover why so many underwater photographers shy away from the white ball of death'

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 tells us this month

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 best pictures

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...


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...


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 ...

BE THE CHAMP! - Grouper

Appeared in DIVER April 2015
DIVER rarely shows pictures of divers touching marine life, but photogenic grouper can sometimes be an exception, and ALEX MUSTARD explains why in his latest master-class. Hero fish can b...

BE THE CHAMP! - Competitions

Appeared in DIVER February 2015
DIVER's photographic guru has, incredibly, swept the board once again in the major wildlife competitions. Read ALEX MUSTARD's column and of one thing you can be sure - you're learning fro...

BE THE CHAMP! - Behaviour

Appeared in DIVER January 2015
ALEX MUSTARD is a marine biologist, so you would assume he has a headstart when it comes to great behaviour photography. Not so, he says - academic knowledge is actually not that useful. ...

BE THE CHAMP! - Shrimps

Appeared in DIVER December 2014
There's no such thing as a creepy-crawly under water, only a photo opportunity. ALEX MUSTARD turns to shrimps, but says they're not much use if they're the messy sort. Watch out for some ...

BE THE CHAMP! - Nudibranchs

Appeared in DIVER October 2014
They're usually tinier than a thumbnail but, when well-captured by a photographer, the image of a nudibranch can look both seductively colourful and spectacularly alien. This month ALEX M...

BE THE CHAMP! - Moray Eels

Appeared in DIVER September 2014
They tend to stay in position and put on a bit of a show for divers, but sometimes the easier a photographic subject seems, the harder this makes it to excel. ALEX MUSTARD looks at a case...

BE THE CHAMP! - Dolphins

Appeared in DIVER July 2014
Any diver would relish having great underwater shots of wild dolphins to show off, but even if you manage to find any, they are notoriously tricky subjects. But allow ALEX MUSTARD to give...