NOVEMBER 8th:  Portfolio Tutorial plus members' presentations (see below)


NOVEMBER:  Innovation

DECEMBER:  Annual Portfolio

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


November Meeting

The November Meeting (start time 2000hrs) will be at our normal 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

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 'Innovation'. Send digital files to Bob Anthony, our Competitions Member (, or bring your slides on the night (let Bob know if you will require a slide projector). Members will be invited to talk about their entries so this should be a good opportunity for all of us to learn about creating images that are a little (or a lot) out of the ordinary.

With our annual Portfolio Competition due in December, Alan James will give a presentation on how to put together a portfolio.  This will be based on the presentation Alan recently gave to BSOUP and will cover all aspects of putting together six images to create a balanced but striking portfolio that will catch the judges eye.

There will be a presentation by the winner of the Wide Angle category in the recent underwater photography competition in Sardinia. Don't know who that was? Well, come along and be impressed - the presentation is entitled 'What a difference a Day Makes'.

Depending on who is coming on Tuesday, there will be more images of whalesharks from the recent trip to the Seychelles.


October Meeting

Monthly Competition

The theme was 'Available Light' and there was a lower than expected number of entries.  The entries included some moody wreck shots, some shots which had been improved by use of manual white balance but all the votes went to images of whalesharks submitted by Arthur Kingdon and Alan James. Arthur's image of a whaleshark surrounded by rays of light  proved to be the winner on the night.

© Arthur Kingdon

Taken with the 10.5mm fisheye, only normal adjustments in Photoshop but no doubt enhanced by the very fine model!

© Arthur Kingdon

© Arthur Kingdon

© Alan James

Finally, my favourite image (not just because of the very fine model top centre):

© Alan James

Had we had a few more days separation from the Seychelles trip, I am sure we would have had even more pictures of whalesharks.  However, this was a good appetite whetter for those who were not on the trip and we promise some more for next month.

Sensor Cleaning

The guest speaker was Andrew Stagg of Intelligent Mobile Solutions.  Bristol based, the company markets products aimed at the user of digital slr's and their web site can be found at Andrew started off by giving us the background to his own experiences of sensor cleaning.  He had originally been sending his camera back to Canon for cleaning but it was spending more time with Canon than with him, so he started looking around at what was on the market for diy cleaning.  Many of the products are very expensive and the cleaning fluids offered tended to be methanol based so could not be taken on aircraft.  Eventually he found some products to suit and these are now marketed by his company.

He was keen to dispel the myth that the sensors are very fragile and proceeded to give the sensor of his own camera (thankfully) a good old bashing with one of his cleaning swabs.  Not that he recommends hitting the sensor but it served to demonstrate their robustness.  The sensor sits behind a glass filter so that is actually what is being cleaned.  The cleaning procedure involves first using a blower (not compressed air) and then using a microporous foam headed swab to virtually suck up any particles.  The foam head bends and stays in close contact with the glass while it is swept across the sensor. Any stubborn marks, often pollen which sticks to the glass, may need to be removed by using the swab plus a drop of their cleaning fluid.

After sales of over 20,000 units, Andrew is very confident of the products and offers a money back guarantee if you don't feel they do what they claim and even guarantees to replace your camera if it were to be damaged by the products.  If you don't feel you want to do it yourself, he will even clean your sensor for free!  He kindly brought along some free samples of the sensor cleaning products plus a special cleaning cloth - ideal for removing nose grease marks from the lcd!  Needless to say, the freebies were much appreciated.

This was very useful presentation which helped to dispel a few myths.  As underwater photographers we use our cameras in a hostile environment and often a long way from any camera repair shop.  It would only require a small investment to equip oneself with a kit to rescue your sensor should any gremlins get in there. It could save a lot of work in Photoshop!

Ralph Mortimore - My Underwater Photography

Ralph had originally planned to do this presentation in September but work commitments dictated otherwise.  However, the extra month enabled Ralph to enlarge what he had planned to do and this was to our advantage.  Originally Ralph had intended to call the presentation 'Help', on the basis that he felt he needed some guidance on where he was going wrong. On the evidence of what he showed here, there is very little help required!

Ralph's early efforts will have been understood by all of us as he recounted the purchase of a MotorMarine camera (from a friendly, local underwater camera dealer!) and eagerly going on holiday where he shot twenty seven rolls of film.  This was followed by the excitement of opening the packages of prints and then the bitter disappointment with the results.  However, this did not deter him and so back he went to the aforementioned dealer who fixed him up with a housed digital compact.

The digital compact was a major step forward as Ralph could see the results immediately, which helped the learning process considerably. His first outing with the new camera was a liveaboard trip to the Red Sea; although Ralph felt a little overawed by other photographers on board, who were all armed with the latest housed dslr's with enormous strobes, he kept a low profile and got on with the job of taking pictures.  He had his reward at the end of the trip when his picture of a manta was judged to be the best of the week - winning him a liveaboard holiday!

©Ralph Mortimore

Now well and truly hooked it was back to the friendly dealer who sold him a housed D100 - what a great customer. The efforts now were getting near to what Ralph desired.

©Ralph Mortimore

Ralph invited criticism of this close up of a clown fish but, apart from being slightly over exposed, it is a great effort. Otherwise, it has a lot going for it.  A similarly high quality fish portrait is shown below.

©Ralph Mortimore

Ralph followed this up with more high quality shots of a variety of marine life.

©Ralph Mortimore

©Ralph Mortimore

©Ralph Mortimore

A bit of cropping could have improved this shot of a hawksbill turtle.

©Ralph Mortimore

Ralph finished off his presentation with an excellent shot of a jellyfish from his recent trip to Sardinia.

©Ralph Mortimore

This was a thoroughly professional presentation which was delivered with a good amount of humour. Ralph acknowledged the inspiration he had found as a member of BUPG and looked forward to producing even better images.  I am sure he will succeed.

Fiona Bowles - Galapagos

Fiona gave a fascinating account of a liveaboard trip she did to Galapagos in June 2005.  This was a twelve day trip which included six days in the north on Wolf and Darwin. This was longer than most boats spend in the area but the group were hoping to see whalesharks and their guide felt that Darwin would give them the best opportunity.  The visibility in the north was good and the life was fantastic - hammerheads on every dive, plus Galapagos sharks, dolphins and the occasional eagle ray.  Smaller fish life was prolific but made photographing the bigger stuff more difficult as the small stuff kept getting in the way.

©Fiona Bowles

The presence of the big stuff also means that this is difficult diving territory - strong currents and big surges do not help the underwater photographer.  Fiona's housing (Olympus C40Z) tended to suffer from fogging and the batteries did not last a dive, so to get any decent images was quite a task. Eventually two whalesharks turned up but, of course, that was after the batteries had died (!) so it was simply a case of gazing in awe at these magnificent fish.

In the south, the water was much colder - around 15 degrees C and most divers wore dry suits although these took quite a hammering on the sharp rock. There were sea lions whizzing about everywhere but very difficult to photograph. Although many of the sites were similarly challenging with lots of powerful surges - even at thirty metres, there were some calm sites eg Cousins Rock. This was home to lots of sea horses - easy to find as they are around ten inches long.

©Fiona Bowles

The amount of marine life was prolific but the most unusual sight was of a Mola Mola cleaning station with them stacked up from thirty metres to the surface.  Almost dusk though, so no shots.

©Fiona Bowles

It was easy to see why most of us would want to visit Galapagos but, as others have said, it is big sea territory with challenging diving.  Throw a camera into the equation and you just increase the degree of difficulty.  This was a good effort by Fiona and I am sure she would be willing to add more detail for anyone contemplating a similar trip

New Photo Competition

For news of an exciting new competition, check out this link:

BSOUP Competitions

There is no excuse now for not entering the BSOUP competitions as they are now accepting entries via email. Apart from Alan and Heather (who have had done very well in the competitions this year) the rest of us have shown little interest. We have a great deal of talent within the group so why not give it a go? Let's show the London lot what we can do in the south west! Check out for further details.

Stop Press - David Stephens has just taken third place in the British Portfolio - well done David.