NEWSLETTER MAY 2005

 

FORTHCOMING PROGRAMME

JUNE 14th:  Will Postlethwaite guest speaker

JULY 12th:  Charles Hood guest speaker

'ON THE NIGHT' COMPETITION THEMES

JUNE:  Cephalapods

JULY:  Open

Important - Please note that slides will be accepted see Latest News

For the full list of monthly competitions for 2005 see the January Newsletter.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

June Meeting

The June Meeting (start time 2000hrs) will be at our new(ish) venue:

Coniston Community Centre

The Parade, Coniston Road

Patchway, Bristol BS34 5LP

Most of you will have found it by now but if not:- Go up Coniston Road for approx 1 mile until you see a road sign on the left for 'The Parade Shopping Centre' and 'The Surgery'.  Turn right into Blakeney Road and then immediately right again into the car park for the Surgery.  The Community Centre is directly opposite the Surgery. Click here for map or use www.multimap.com

Please try and be on time as it looks as if we will have to keep the main doors locked while we are using the building. However, there is an intercom entry system so you should be able to get in if running late.

The 'On the Night' competition theme is 'Cephalapods'. Send digital files to Bob Anthony, our Competitions Member (anthonyrez30@tiscali.co.uk), or bring your slides on the night.

It is also the judging of our Splash-In competition so get your entries for that to Bob Anthony also.

The main event of the evening will be a talk by Will Postlethwaite who will give a presentation on Wide Angle Underwater. This will be a good evening to see how an accomplished underwater photographer tackles this subject. Will has recently spent a fair bit of time diving around West Papua so we may also get to see some of what that area has to offer.

BSOUP Plymouth Splash-In: 2/3 July 2005

Full.

BSOUP St Abbs Splash-In: August 27/28th 2005

Full.

RECENT EVENTS

May Meeting  

Malapascua - Cathy Lewis

The evening got off to a good start with a presentation by Cathy Lewis featuring Malapascua in the Philippines. The destination had been picked as it is one of the best places in the world to see thresher sharks, so it satisfied the needs of husband Chris but also provided a wealth of other subjects to keep Cathy happy. The visibility had been relatively poor so Cathy concentrated on macro subjects and she had some excellent results. This was also Cathy's first real outing with her digital slr and she has a few misgivings - finding the instant feedback less satisfying and missing the challenge of film (I think most of us prefer less of a challenge and appreciate all the help they can get!). Despite the lack of challenge, she was happy with most of the results and treated us to lots of super images of spawning mandarin fish, egg laying nudibranchs, harlequin shrimp, bobtail shrimp, shrimps with basket stars, pigmy seahorse, etc, etc. There are certainly lots of critters in this part of the world.

                                         Cathy Lewis

                                                                                                      Cathy Lewis

                                          Cathy Lewis

Photographing the thresher sharks had proved very difficult due to the poor viz and the difficulty in getting really close to them. However, there were plenty of them to observe and they made for a magnificent sight.

With quite a number of above water shots also, Cathy gave a good cross section of what this area has to offer and I am sure it will now be on the lists of many of those present. Thank you, Cathy.

Monthly Competition

The theme for May was 'Wrecks' and there was a good selection of digital images plus some slides. The two projectors worked well side by side and there was no undue delay in having both formats. This month there was a clear winner with Bob Anthony's shot of the decks of the SS Rose Castle in Newfoundland sweeping the board. Although this was the favourite of almost everyone there, the projected image did not do justice to the beauty of the blue/green water of the original digital file.  

                                                                         Bob Anthony

My First Year with a Compact Digital Camera - Trevor Rees

The main event of the evening was a presentation by Trevor Rees on his first year with a compact digital camera. Moving from a Nikonos to a housed compact digital has proved to be highly successful and Trevor has enjoyed a great deal of success over the past year or so. He has been highly placed in several national and international competitions as well as being featured in Dive magazines 'Big Shot' (a double page spread of cuttlefish - not bad for a 4mp camera)

                                                                            Trevor Rees

When deciding which camera to buy, Trevor drew up a list of criteria including: manual control of exposure, manual control of focus, good macro capability, external strobe firing, good battery life and, of course, availability of an underwater case. He chose the Canon Powershot A95 and has been pleased with the choice. Strobes used are a Sea & Sea YS90 and a Sea and Sea YS30.

All compact cameras suffer from a lack of real wide angle capability but Trevor gets around this by using an Inon wide angle adaptor. This is a high quality supplementary lens and the results are first class.

                                                Trevor Rees

The jellyfish and diver, photographed off Menorca, is an image I really love but it was just one of many excellent wide angle images shown by Trevor. Quite a number were taken in Stoney Cove (Trevor is a competition winner there) and are the best I have seen from that location.

Trevor has learned how to exploit the characteristics of this type of camera eg the relatively large size of the minimum aperture (f8 in this case) means that much less flash power is required and a good balance between natural and artificial light is easier to achieve. Also, flash synchronisation is possible at much higher shutter speeds.

Another characteristic is a greater depth of field and this will usually be advantageous in macro work.  Trevor also uses an Inon supplementary close up lens and again the quality is first class. The use of supplementary lenses also opens up the possibility of doing wide angle and macro on the same dive.

The small size of the outfit means that the lens can get much closer to the sea bed than your average slr housing, and upward looking shots are easier to achieve. Also, you do not need to get down to look into the viewfinder, as the screen on the back displays a 'live' image. The photographer can hold the camera at arms length with less risk of scaring off the subject.

                                                                           Trevor Rees

A frequent criticism of compacts is 'shutter lag' but Trevor gets around this by part depressing the shutter so the camera has sorted out exposure and focus. There is then only a minimal delay to capture the image with the final press. It won't be successful with every subject but a bit of practice helps.

This was a very well put together presentation with some stunning images and by the the end of it, many of us were left wondering whether we really needed our heavy, bulky, expensive housed slr's. Thank you Trevor.

Note: Heather Hammond has recently taken the compact route and her results/thoughts can be seen at: www.marine-cameras.com/gallery/MaldivesDX5000gportfolio/index.html

BUPG Splash-In:  14 May 2005

It was probably the worst weather forecast possible for Babbacombe, with the 5 day forecast showing easterly winds every day and building up to gale force for the 14th! With this in mind, it was agreed at the May Meeting that the venue would move to Hope Cove. This did not suit everyone but it was probably better than trying to reschedule it.

As it turned out, Devon was the wettest part of the UK that weekend. The rain never stopped but at least Hope Cove was sheltered from the wind and it was not too bad underwater- excellent visibility despite the lack of sunlight. Eight hardy members, plus two extra dive buddies, turned up on Saturday morning and threw themselves into the sea with gay abandon (sort of).

We were spread out over two sites with one group at Inner Hope and the other at Outer Hope. It is worth bearing in mind that there is now a sign on the slipway at Inner Hope which directs shore divers to Mouthwell Beach at Outer Hope. It seems that this is a safety issue due to the boat traffic using the slipway - not that there was much danger (only one boat) on such a wet May weekend. The cynics amongst us reckon it is a revenue raising exercise as it costs 3 to park in Outer Hope, whereas it is free at Inner Hope! However, there are a lot more divers using these facilities nowadays and it makes for better relations with the locals to park where there is plenty of space.

The Harbour Master opined that the shore diving was better at Mouthwell Beach and he was probably right. There was not a lot to see at Inner Hope and one dive was enough for us. The thought of getting out of the dry bag, loading up the car, driving to Outer Hope and getting back into the dry bag seemed like too much hardship, so it was into the pub instead. There we met up with the other hardy souls who regaled us with tales of cuttlefish and all manner of good subjects that they had seen - oh well, never mind.

The results will be shown at the June Meeting and fabulous trophies will be awarded to the winners of the 'Beginner' and the 'Experienced' categories. I reckon my sunfish must be in with a chance or maybe the rare Devon seahorse - it is such a difficult choice.

MISCELLANEOUS

I recently came across a very useful web site for those of us who are not linguists or who do not have any translation software: http://babelfish.altavista.com/ is a handy tool to add to your 'Favourites'.  Give it a try - its pretty good but it struggles with the more technical words as you would expect.

BSOUP Competitions

There is no excuse now for not entering the BSOUP competitions as they are now accepting entries via email - Heather Hammond took a third place in January with a shot of a barracuda shoal. Check out www.bsoup.org for further details.

Keep bubbling(rebreathers excepted)

Arthur