NEWSLETTER JULY 2005
AUGUST 9th: Joe Foxcroft tribute plus AGM
SEPTEMBER 13th: Not yet finalised
'ON THE NIGHT' COMPETITION THEMES
AUGUST: Black & White
For the full list of monthly competitions for 2005 see the January Newsletter.
The August Meeting (start time 2000hrs) will be at our new(ish) venue:
Coniston Community Centre
The Parade, Coniston Road
Patchway, Bristol BS34 5LP
To find us:- 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 we 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 'Black & White'. Send digital files to Bob Anthony, our Competitions Member (email@example.com), or bring your slides on the night (let Bob know if you will require a slide projector).
The main event of the evening will be a tribute to Joe Foxcroft, one of our founder members, who was tragically killed in a climbing accident in June. Joe was an excellent underwater photographer and this tribute will include a selection of images that he took on his travels to a wide variety of destinations. The tribute is being co-ordinated by Alan James and he would be happy to hear from you if you wish to have any input. Following the tribute there will be a collection in aid of the Gloucestershire Air Ambulance - please give generously.
Time permitting, we also plan to hold our AGM at this meeting.
BSOUP St Abbs Splash-In: August 27/28th 2005
The theme this month was 'Open', so there were no excuses for not entering and there was a record number of digital images(38), plus some slides, for the audience to judge. The standard of entries was high but one shot stood head and shoulders above the others and was the clear winner - a stunning shot of an eagle ray meant another win for Rob Barker.
© Rob Barker
Here's how Rob achieved this shot:-
'Taken in January 2005 off the stern of the SS Dunraven at Sha'ab Mahmood in the northern Red Sea. The shot was taken following an energetic swim to get in close to the ray, as I had my 12-24 Nikkor on my D70 and shot this at 12mm to get the best image quality. The moment I exhaled it bolted pronto, so it was one-chance deal. The image was fairly rapidly and crudely post-processed since I allowed myself a matter of minutes to prepare it for the competition. The main digital trickery involved saturating the blue, adding motion blur to the whole image then painting back the ray using the Photoshop history brush to give the illusion of speed. A bit of unsharp mask finished it off.'
So there you have it - easy isn't it?
Another image which picked up votes was a great shot of a lunar tail grouper by Heather Hammond from her recent trip to Nuweiba - see more at http://www.marine-cameras.com/gallery/Nuweiba2005/index.html
© Heather Hammond
Also finding favour was a shot of a pygmy sea horse by Arthur Kingdon from a trip to West Papua.
© Arthur Kingdon
How to Market Your Work - Charles Hood
The main event of the evening was a presentation by Charles hood who gave us an insight into what is only a dream for most of us - how to get paid for taking pictures underwater. Charles has become a highly successful commercial photographer and now only takes photographs for money. His number one rule, and recommendation for all of us, is "Don't give away your work for free"(with a possible exception if it is for a charity). He is a co-owner of www.oceans-image.com. who are currently looking for new photographers, so here is a great opportunity to get your work showcased. Charles can be contacted at:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles broke the presentation into six parts:
Charles demonstrated the set up he uses, with his Nikon D100 in a Sea & Sea housing plus twin Sea & Sea YS60 strobes. He shoots JPEGS rather than RAW, due to the much faster write speed, and demonstrated how it is possible to fire off thirty shots in sixty seconds. Although RAW may be capable of slightly higher image quality - as Charles put it "it is no good getting the perfect image of the wrong shot"!
2. On Assignment
Charles gave lots of good advice and illustrated this aspect with images of the sinking of the Scylla. He stressed the need to back up your equipment and always have at least two cameras/lenses. Include lots of shots of the people involved as that is what makes the story more interesting. He even took shots of the ship being towed out - just in case it sank en route. For the sinking process, he deliberately underexposed the ship and got great detail/colour in the explosions.
3. National Press
"Very difficult to deal with direct unless you have some really great stuff". Charles uses an agent and, despite them charging around 50% commission, he advocates this route. They have the contacts and can negotiate fees much better than individual photographers. Pictures of basking sharks as well as shots of Prince Charles (or rather, people meeting with Prince Charles) illustrated this part.
Charles recommended taking lots of topside shots eg hotel, dive centre, boat etc rather than just concentrating on the underwater stuff. Using the camera in its housing topside opens up lots of opportunities - clean the dome with washing up liquid and rinse off to get those water droplets flowing off quickly. Don't go too tight - leave space for writing. Look for the cheesy shots with colourful suits, bc's etc. Take lots of lifestyle shots.
5. Working with Models
Charles illustrated this aspect with lots of shots of a couple of dive guides he worked with on a Red Sea trip. Neither of them had done any modelling before but, by being able to review the images soon after each dive, it was possible to vastly improve the results over the few days they spent together - a distinct advantage for digital users. Charles recommended finning into the current and then turning around to photograph the model who will find it easier to maintain position (assuming the current is not that strong). Charles also checks out the shot for exposure, composition etc before signalling for the model to get into position. The model(s) can be doing their own thing while you are working out what you want from the shot. Top tip - make sure you get a signed model release form.
6. On Assignment
Find the story and take the pictures - Charles gave a fascinating account of a trip to Iceland to photograph the point where the European continental shelf meets the North American shelf. The gap between the two is getting wider and this was the theme for the story. Some of the pictures were taken in crystal clear water and were really stunning. One of these pictures had just appeared on the front cover of Time magazine who featured an article on how Europe and America were drifting apart.
Overall, this was a polished performance from someone who is obviously a master of his trade and there was lots of food for thought. It was clear that Charles approaches much of his work from a different angle from what our group generally does. A good example was a shot of the models in the Red Sea with a wreck in the background. Most of us would have had the wreck prominent in the frame with the models a fairly distant outline but Charles knows what the general public wants - they want pictures of divers. These are what sell.
If you want to send any images to Charles, don't send large tiffs and keep post processing in Photoshop to a minimum. Nature shots are not much in demand at the moment unless you have something special but I am sure Charles will be able to advise.
Anyone in the group tried cleaning their ccd/cmos sensor yet? I knew I had a few dust spots on mine but had only ever resorted to a blower in an attempt to remove them. Any that remained were cloned out in Photoshop. However, during the recent Splash In competitions(where cloning is not allowed) it became obvious that more drastic action was required. There are quite a few articles on the web and I would recommend a couple:
If you want to read what the professionals do, try this one (prepare to be amused/horrified):
Looking at my.sensor it looked pretty good so I tried photographing a white sheet of paper, altering the image in Levels and then checking for dust spots - there were dozens. I then went to 100% - it was horrendous! Give it a try.
I feel we need to be able to confidently clean our sensors ourselves. It's no good just relying on sending the camera back to be professionally cleaned - you could be on a two week liveaboard in an exotic location when the gremlins strike. So, I will be exploring this subject and will report back - hopefully it will not be a tale of woe. Oh, and by the way, if you use a compact you can ignore all of this - yet another advantage?
New Photo Competition
For news of an exciting new competition, check out this link:
There is no excuse now for not entering the BSOUP competitions as they are now accepting entries via email - Alan James took first place in May with a shot of a Scillies seal and Heather Hammond took a third place in January with a shot of a barracuda shoal. Check out www.bsoup.org for further details.