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Ultimate Indonesia

During February and early March I joined a Divequest group on stunning trip to Indonesia. We spent a few days in Lembeh and then flew onto Sorong before boarding the Seven Seas and heading out into the Raja Ampat archipelago.

This is by far the most amazing place I have ever been, pristine coral reefs and completely uninhabited islands. To the left is a slide show, take a look to get a taste of what it was like...


The mantas of YapTo Yap and back...

At the end of August I set off on an epic trip to Yap, Micronesia. My focus was to join the Mantafest festival and dive with the mantas of Yap. I joined Wetpixel's Eric Cheng and Mike Vietch and we got straight into the manta action. Yap also had superb shark encounters and fantastic mandarin fish. 

To get to Yap, I travelled through the Philippines where I met with a friend and we made a small excursion to Apo Island in the southern Philippines. You can see some shots of this here.

On the return leg, I spent a few days in Tioman Island to grow my library of images from the island.


Secretary BlennyThe blenny is back! Winner of the 'Splash In' print competition!

This secretary blenny is proving to be a popular little guy! I entered him into the BsouP Splash in Advanced Print competition and was very to pleased to find out that he won! It was an extremely close contest but a great result. Thankyou to everyone who voted.


Reef scene in Malaysia2nd in BSoUP Focus On June competition 'Wide Angle'

In June, I spent 8 days on Tioman Island, Malaysia. Bad weather at the beginning of the week made diving difficult, however as the week went on the conditions seemed to continue getting better and better. 

The shot to the left was taken on one of the last days on the outer islands of Tioman, where the coral reefs are bursting with healthy coral formations. A large school of bait fish were swirling around in unison above the reef, therefore I decided to shoot both the coral and capture this activity.

The result is an image that shows the reef and the trail of fish being shepherded by the predatory wrasse.

Two days after the image was shot, it was up on the screen in the BsouP monthly contest where it narrowly missed out on a first place.


Secretary Blenny2nd in BSoUP Focus On May competition 'Close-up'

Another month, another Focus On contest. This months theme was 'Close-up' and attracted a high quality set of entries.

My shot of this Secretary Blenny did very well and secured me second place. This was shot in Grand Cayman in January. I knew as soon as i pressed the shutter that I'd captured something special. With these subjects I feel it's all about the environment, the surroundings that they live in. I was lucky enough to spot this blenny on this stunning coral and I really had to persevere in the swell to get the shot and I'm very glad I did.

This symmetry of this image makes unique, the circles of the eyes, the mouth, then the blenny itself. This combined by with the symmetry of the coral all comes together to produce a very simple yet striking photograph.

 

3rd in BSoUP Focus On April competition 'Wrecks'

Well my luck has continued into April. This shot of the Giannis D taken over New Year 06/07 in the Red Sea earnt me joint 3rd place in the Focus On 'Wrecks' competition. I remember when I took this shot, we'd been inside the wreck and looked all around. I'm not a great fan of penetrating wrecks so I was glad to get out into the blue water. I left my buddy near the wreck and swam out a little bit constantly framing the shot to see if I could get the whole wreck and diver in the shot. Finally I was far enough away and I took the shot on a 10-20mm rectilinear lense. The diver helps to provide a good sense of scale

Next month is 'Close Up' so I hope I can continue my success then!

 

Continued success for the stingrays in BSoUP's Theme Portfolio Competition 2008

In March I was pleased to be placed fifth in the annual BSoUP Theme Portfolio competition. I entered six images of sting rays from my January trip to Grand Cayman. I tried to create a balanced and consistent portfolio with good symmetry.

That's three top six finishes for me out of three Focus On competitions. Let's hope I can keep it up! More info can be found on the BSoUP website.

 

Category winner at British Underwater Image Festival

I recently took part in the third annual British Underwater Image Festival (BUIF). The event saw more than 1,300 entries sent in by underwater photographers and film-makers from 30 different countries. The winners were announced at the award ceremony and champagne reception hosted by underwater photographer Alex Mustard on Saturday 15 March during the Go Diving! show at the Birmingham NEC.

I was excited to find out that i'd won the Scubapro Young Category with an image of schooling sting rays I photographed at dawn in Grand Cayman's Sting Ray City. Naturally I am very happy with this result and it is nice to see my perseverance paying off. I've been taking photos underwater for a year and half now and I'm completely hooked on the underwater world. This year I'm hoping to travel to Malaysia, Yap and the Red Sea.

You can see some of the other photographs from Grand Cayman in the gallery.