PhotoFriday – ‘Black & White’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Black & White’

My husband is eternally frustrated with underwater photographers who convert their images to black & white because the colour version didn’t come out right or looked ‘too blue’. We’re all guilty of it. It’s no secret that I prefer colour images to black and white but on occasion the subject does just need a moody black and white processing to do it justice. Wrecks I think work well in both colour and black and white and for any given wreck, depending on the position of the sun when you dive it, can be more suited to one or the other. I like to see wrecks in black and white when there are plenty of deep shadows to be had (i.e. photographing across the light), otherwise they often look nicer in colour. Here are some from the Red Sea

Here is a comparison of black & white vs colour on the same wreck on the same dive… which do you prefer?

Ordinarily on that dive of the day I would not have converted to B&W for this angle of the wreck, however I liked the contrast of the etherial mermaid agains the dull & gloomy wreck. The colour one is a behind the scenes of Alex Mustard Photographing Katrin Felton

To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Black & White’ here.

Psst… Please check out my excellent used Nikon Gear page, I’ve swapped over systems and I’m still trying to raise money on my previous gear get them now before they go.

Red Sea 2013 – Thistlegorm Shipwreck

Today I’d like to show you my photos from the only Red Sea shipwreck the windy weather permitted us to visit on last weeks red sea trip, the SS Thistlegorm. Arguably one of the most interesting wrecks in the world, not least due to its amazing contents. Build in 1940 as a merchant vessel, the ship was armed with anti-aircraft guns and chock full of army supplied when it got bombed in 1941. Inside you can see the remains of Motor bikes, trucks, welly boots, racks of rifles, shells, tanks, aircraft wings and even a couple of trains! The wreck is famous & unique enough to have its own website and plenty of books about its history & contents. The most well-known of these is SS Thistlegorm – The True Story of the Red Sea’s Greatest Shipwreck. by John Kean (who incidentally taught me to dive)!

You cannot see it in my photo of the stern below, but the top corner of the prop is shiny from where the dive guides rub the edge as they go past as a gesture of respect to the 9 crew who lost their lives when she sank.

There are many bikes on here, some more photogenic than others. The one pictured at the top of this post is lit with a strobe behind the wheels for a slightly different look than you normally see in photos. These bikes below are some of the few which still have their head lamps.

We got quite a few dives on here and I was even able swim down to one of the trains (which I’ve never seen before due to current and bottom time constraints (its down at about 30m).

There are plenty of trucks on there. In fact there are two levels and three holds. Hold one has a really good truck that I wanted to visit but that area under the water tank has become unstable so we were advised not to visit that section. Hold 2 has most of the interesting bikes and the lower level of hold two has some really great rows of trucks. I experimented with an off camera strobe inside the far cab of these two here:

I really liked this truck with its bonnet crumbling away too. These are pretty deep and in the dark of the lower level you have to watch your bottom time. We were diving on Nitrox but even so didn’t get long…

Unfortunately people have stolen most of the steering wheels from the trucks and there are only two remaining. Lets hope people keep their thieving mitts of those last two!

I didn’t get a chance to swim up to the bow outside but I think the stern end with the guns is much more interesting anyway.

I hoped you enjoy my photographs from this wreck. Please leave me any comments below :) Tomorrow I hope to post about the schooling Snapper at Ras Mohammad.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that all of the amazing Black & White conversion was done by my own person photoshop guru, Michael Toye. If you’re interested he offers a retouching, finishing and black & white conversion service for photos which you can contact him about here.

PhotoFriday – ‘Interiors’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Interiors’

Hmmmm you’d think there weren’t any interiors underwater but you’d be wrong. Its fun to go inside old ship wrecks but often very dark inside. Here Alex Mustard and I are using Off camera flash to light up the insides of the Ghannis D in the Red Sea.

If you want to see more of my underwater photos from various places then check out the galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Interiors’ here.

PhotoFriday – ‘Words’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Words’

Over at every day is Friday so it matters not that I’m posting a belatedly for this week’s theme.

The theme this week is “words”. You dont get many words underwater. The odd ship wreck hull with a boat name and sometimes a funny sign that a diver has left but thats about it. I did like this sign on the side of the Kittewake. I found it amusing because the sank the ship especially for divers to swarm over. If you cant make it out clearly it says – “No Trespassing, Goverment Property”.

If you want to see more of my underwater photos from Cayman then check out my Grand Cayman 2011 Gallery.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Words’ here

PhotoFriday – ‘Grandeur’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Grandeur’

This week’s theme is Grandeur and what can be more grand than a whacking great shipwreck? I like this photo of the Ghiannis D in the Red Sea for its atmosphere, I hope you like it too.

If you want to see more of my photos from The Red Sea then check out other photos in my Red Sea 2009 Gallery.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Grandeur’ here.

ps – last week I forgot to put my entry for ‘Of House and Home’ onto but you can see it here if you like Nemo.

PhotoFriday – ‘Soft Light’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Soft Light’

Sorry for my absence these last few weeks, a mixture of uninspiring photo Friday themes and slight illness played its part. Anyway, on to this week’s entry. Egypt is a place know for its harsh light & fierce sun so it might surprise you that my entry this week for “Soft Light” would originate there. However the ever magical underwater world has its own rules and the water can provide a muted a diffused quality to the light as seen here in my photo of the Ghiannis D shipwreck.

If you want to see more of my Red Sea photos from that trip then check out other photos in my Red Sea 2009 Gallery.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Soft Light’ here.

PhotoFriday – ‘Enormous’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Enormous’

Click image to go to see alternate sizes (looks better larger).

I laughed when I saw the theme for this week’s photo Friday, nothing like a word like that to bring out the s p a m m e r s. It did however get me to thinking about depicting scale in photography. It’s easy to be wowed by the sheer size of something when viewed in real life (oh stop it!) but conveying that sense of size in a photo is more of a challenge. One of the many ways of doing this is playing with the scale. Is it small or is it far away? Using a recognisable subject (such as a person) you can make sense of the size of the other subjects in the photo, especially if that person it clearly right next to the object. Most of us realise that a ship is quite a large object but some ships are bigger than others and its always impressive to swim down to a large one and see the other dives buzzing around it like tiny creatures. The back of this wreck, the Carnatic, in the Red Sea (Egypt) is one such impressive sight.

Here are some more wreck photos from the Red Sea

If you want to see more of my Red Sea photos then check out other photos in my Red Sea 2008, Red Sea 2009 and Red Sea 2010 Galleries.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Enormous’ here.

New Wreck in Grand Cayman – Kittiwake

I have lived up to the promise in my previous post to get back to processing my images from our trip to Cayman at the end of January, I cannot believe it’s already March – where did the time go??!

Here are some images of the recently sank ex-USS Kittiwake Submarine Rescue vessel. It’s not often as divers that we get to see a ship in such good condition but this was 3 weeks after it had been sunk. I usually only like ships for the life that gathers on them (because most other things have rotted away to being unrecognisable) but this one was interesting for all the stuff on it and the sparkly whiteness of it. Also I didn’t have that slightly guilty feeling that I was disturbing the dead since this ship was sunk specifically for divers. They even took out anything that you might catch a hose on. Go to the official website for more info on the ship & its history.

(As usual all the images are clickable to go and see larger versions and all are copyright Suzy Walker).

There is some life on it though, this little battalion of squid seem to live up in the shallows by the mast:

You cannot go inside on your first dive and you have to be accompanied when you do but its worth it because there is lots of interesting stuff in there. Bathrooms and machinery etc. From the outside you can see the Decompression chambers (which I thought were quite cool):

A little way away from the wreck under our boat there was a nice school of jacks to play in too…

All in all a great dive site. All these photos were taken with Nikon D300, Tokina 10-17 fisheye, Magic filter and natural light. If you’d like to see more from my Cayman trip (I’m still processing them) they will appear in here:

North Red Sea 2009

I wanted to tell you a little about our recent trip to Egypt (as promised).

As usual, click on the images to see them at a larger size.

This is our second trip with Alex Mustard this year (our 1st was Raja Ampat in Feb) but this one was a full on photo-workshop.

We Flew to Egypt on Monarch (groan) into Sharm El Sheikh, luckily we didnt have to stay there, our liveaboard was waiting for us at the Military port. MV Whirlwind of the Tony Backhurst fleet was a very comfortable boat.

Alex runs this workshop trip ever year at this time to try and see the huge schools of snapper (& other large fish) that come to spawn in the area on these weeks. It was a little daunting as these fish are HUGE and because of the properties of the fisheye lens I was using I had to get very close to them! Also, strangely for this time of year the visibility wasn’t that great. Usually in the Red Sea the water is gin clear and you feel like you can see for miles. In amongst these snappers I feel like I was in a snow flurry so I am surprised I actually got any good photos of them.

We also head over to Tiran Island for a bit (since we weren’t having as much luck as usual with the Snapper). This trip was primarily a wide-angle trip but those who know me know I don’t go on any underwater jaunt without my trust 60mm macro lens. I tried to “go-wide” with that too this time to shoot some fish portraits but I couldn’t resist the odd tiny macro fish or occasional abstract.

We also saw a rather large amount of shipwrecks (this is the North Red Sea after all) including the Ghiannis D, Thistlegorm & Yolanda.

This was actually a treat (even though I’m not fussed about wrecks usually) because Mike has never seen the Thistlegorm & I’ve not been back since I first learnt to dive. I enjoyed seeing all the Motorbikes, trucks & things but I was still really spooked by the wellies. It was nice on the Ghiannis D too since we had Mr Alex (Magic Filters) Mustard himself with us to give us guidance on how to use them effectively. I still dont think I got the hang of it properly but it was good fun to try something new.

One of the things I really like about going on photo workshops in a group is you tend to meet really nice people. Everyone helps everyone else out. Julian ended up giving a load of us a Lightroom tutorial or two (and also taking me under his wing for my 1st snapper experience) so many thanks to him. Also, I’d like to thank Robin for being an excellent model & stand in buddy. And many thanks of course go to Alex for giving us such a great trip.

The only thing I was disappointed in (apart from getting really sick on the last day when we stayed in Sharm) was the poor moray eel I found who had a giant hook in his mouth :( C’mon people this is supposed to be a protected marine area! I guess the usually vigilant Egyptian authorities must have missed this one (or else he swam into the area from outside).

my full underwater gallery can be found here. Mikes above water gallery can be found here.