NUPG 10th September 2018 Meeting Report

This month we had the pleasure in welcoming Robert Bailey multi award winning photographer who has been taking stunning photographs both underwater and topside for over 25 years. Qualifying as an NAUI scuba instructor up to training director level at the University of Calgary from 1993-1999 he is a diver of consummate skill. Now living in England he is still an avid diver, diving throughout the year in UK waters. He never dives without his camera and is an active member of many photographic clubs and societies. His mission is to show everyone the beauty of our underwater world and just how colourful life in UK waters is.


Whilst he has witnessed and embraced the revolution of many new photographic techniques his talk emphasised that you do not need the state of the art equipment for spectacular shots but you will always need to address the basics of underwater photography including planning, understanding your subject, composition, lighting and not forgetting the most important skill when taking a photograph underwater, excellent buoyancy control. He is also an advocate of revisiting a site many times so you know it and the life that it holds intimately. A knowledge of marine biology is always good as this allows you to understand the behaviour of what you are trying to photograph.

He then gave us an insight into his thoughts about entering underwater competitions, apart from the positive attribute of considered feedback and the feelings of achievement when your efforts are recognised entering competitions has created many opportunities for him to get his images and articles published in a variety of magazines including DIVE and SCUBA as well as the non-diving press such as Wildlife Magazine, The Times and Sunday Times, Outdoor Photographer and Practical Photographer to name but a few.

His presentation went on to show us why he loves UK diving so much and that despite the wind, waves, tides and weather are often against you, combined with practicalities of taking so much dive kit, to remote areas of Scotland and Britain when it works, it works! The colour and life in UK waters is stunning and often the sites are less photographed, there are big and small critters, you can dive the sea, rivers and inland sites throughout the year. The water column can range from blues to greens to browns.  The above water landscape of the British Isles is also stunning.

He described some of his favourite dive sites from the Lochs of Scotland to the East Coast of St. Abbs, the west coast of Britain and Wales down to South and beyond to The Scilly Isles. The variety is amazing, be it large creatures such as whale sharks and dolphins, diving birds such as gannets and razorbills, a massive variety of colourful fish such as John Dory and Corkwing Wrasse to the pike, trout and other freshwater life found in many of our rivers, lakes and quarries. The topography and macro life of coral covered walls and the vast number of wrecks. He emphasised the amount of colour that there is and also how he prefers to dive in fairly shallow waters as that is where the light is. He also emphasised the importance of not ignoring common subjects, a great picture of a nudibranch or sea urchin feeding can be a lot more impressive than an out of focus blue shark.

Robert went on to explain his love of seals the “dogs” of sea and how anthropomorphic shots of these creatures can be very sellable. His lecture was well illustrated with a large number of fantastic photographs along with the odd video. The presentation was interspersed with many hints and tips on composition, layering your photos, experimenting with strobes and knowing when to visit areas to get the best photographic opportunities. He finished his presentation with a few words about working with models and the importance of SCUM! (The Society for the Care of Underwater Models).

A great talk that finished in a busy question and answer session and a well-deserved round of applause.

This month’s image competition theme was “Squidge” and it was obvious that everyone’s idea of Squidge was very eclectic! A mention to John Spencer has to be given here for the most entertaining shots of Squid(ge)! We had reverted to 2 images each this and there were around 30 entries.



The Robertson-Browns dominated the Open Competition with Nick Robertson-Brown being joint runner-up with his images of a “Shaun the Sheep” nudibranch, a tiny critter of about 2mm taken in The Philippines and then a picture of jellyfish taken at Monterey Bay Aquarium, California.The winner was Caroline Robertson-Brown with a great shot of a cuttlefish whilst going to take wide angle shots of Sardines at Magic Island Cebu in The Philippines.











The compact category resulted in a three way split so a vote off was taken. Alex Tasker was declared the winner with his image of mating Sea Hares in Argyll and Bute. Following the results a quick resume of all the images was undertaken.

Congratulations once again to all.

The meeting ended with announcements of a forthcoming talk by Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown on 10th October 2018 Simple Steps to Creating Better Underwater Images

Our next meeting will be on Monday October 8th when we look forward to welcoming Martyn Guess.



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