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 – ‘Machines’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Machines’

There’s lots of machines in the ocean if you care to look, discounting the still functional boats and subs etc of course. Wrecks have a surprising amount of machines on them. This motorbike above from the Thistlegorm wreck in the Red Sea for example. It also have trains and trunks and all sorts on there!

On the Kittewake in Grand Cayman there are all sorts of machines on there…

I found it quite interesting to see this decompression chamber on there – I’ve never seen one before (luckily)!

There are also the machines on the boat that fill up our air tanks and make it possible for us to scuba dive.

If you want to see my underwater photos from various places then check out the galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery. Or my best from 2012 here.

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

PS: I’m currently selling the set up that took these photos. Click here for more details & the full list of equipment for sale or email me at Thanks for supporting my work!

PhotoFriday – ‘My Baby’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’My Baby’

This week’s theme is My Baby. Since I dont have, you know, an actual baby, here is a photo of Mike doing Jazz hands underwater! 🙂 And one of him below in the wreck of the Kittewake doing the V sign that all the cool Asian kids are doing in photos these days…

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

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘My Baby’ (perhaps an actual baby though?) here.

Just back from South Red Sea

We’re just back from our trip so no Photo Friday today (mainly because I cannot think of a good photo for “Slick” which is todays theme). I’ve shared with you the one photo I’ve managed to upload from my trip so far. 🙂 More photos to come this weekend hopefully once I get through looking at them. This is inside the tug boat wreck at Abu Galawa Kebien dive site in South red sea, Egypt. Taken with Nikon D300, Tokina 10-17 FishEye lens and one Inon Z240 strobe.

PhotoFriday – ‘Inside’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Inside’

With this weeks theme we go inside the engine room of the Ghannis D wreck in the Red Sea.

If you want to see more of my Red Sea photos then check out other photos in my Red Sea 2010 Gallery.

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

PhotoFriday – ‘Manufactured’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Manufactured’

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

Everything these days is manufactured. When I think of the word it brings to mind packing plants and assembly lines. Of Ford and pop art (Campbell’s soup!) and shiny new things made from chrome. As with all new things sometimes they get lost in the sea and become old and corroded. It’s funny when you see an old wreck. There are obvious bits that are manmade and some that are so degraded that you cannot tell where the man-made ends and the hard coral and rock begins. I’m not keen on wrecks as some of you may know but my all time favourite wreck is the Thistlegorm in the red sea. As a bombed out WW2 ship its huge and filled with all sorts of goods to look at. Rifles, trucks, motorcycles, wellie boots and even a couple of trains! I hope you enjoy my photo of one of the bikes above.

If you want to see more of my underwater photos from the Red sea, Egypt then check out other photos in my Red Sea 2009 Gallery.

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

ps, I think I forgot to submit last weeks link to photo friday so if you still want to check my entry out anyway then its here.

Red Sea 2010

Just come back from Egypt (again). Went on the Alex Mustard June 2010 Ras Mohammad Red Sea Photo workshop. I love these workshops because it always attracts such a nice crowd of people and we all learn from each other (and of course Alex). As an added dimension to this year’s trip there was another boat going out for a Martin Edge workshop and I knew a whole bunch of people from that trip and it was a nice big catch up with everyone in the airport/plane going to and from Egypt. Without further ado here is a roundup of my photos from the trip… (click the images to be taken to larger versions)

The first few days of the trip was wreck-tastic. I got a little wrecked out by wednesday and skipped the thistlegorm (gasp!) this year for a lie in 😉 We had unusally calm weather here and got to see a wreck I’d not seen before though, the Chrisoula k. Its an interesting wreck and the front of it is a funny red colour looks like meat when you bring the colours back with magic filters or flash (looked a nice green underwater though):

The Carnatic was lovely (as usual) but this time I really enjoyed shooting on the Ghiannis D. I bumped into Alex inside the wreck (well actually he swam into my shot, I was timidly taking photos from the doorway because I wasnt keen to swim inside on my own and he swam into the room from another part of the ship). Long story short, he was playing with off camera strobes and we took turns modelling for each other in the strobe light. it was a nice effect. I have to get one of these units to have a futher play myself (Alex expect to be emailed soon)! I then felt bolder to go in and explore (knowing there was another diver somewhere around) and we tried agan in the engine rooms (my results were better here since I wasnt trying to use the funny 45-degree viewfinder on Alexs camera).

After that we headed over to Ras Mohammed National Park. To see the annual fish schooling behaviour. The current wasn’t really running (which for me was good and bad). Good because I hate to dive in a current but bad because the fish don’t line up nicely in photos unless the current is running. I didn’t get many of the snappers at all this year but I enjoyed testing out the magic filters on the batfish and other reef life.


Although Alexs trips tend to be wide-angle focused, it wouldnt be a good trip for me if I couldnt get out my macro lens a few times! I loved the Cardinal fish with his eggs in his mouth at the Barge and all the other alsorted little dudes inside coral etc…

Alex T and I also managed to fit a night dive in…

We stayed on the same liveaboard as last year but this year I spent some time taking more topside photos to put my personal SoMoFoBo project into context (more in a later post). MV Whirlwind of the Tony Backhurst fleet is a very comfortable boat and the crew are lovely. It docks at the Military port so there were a few nice topside photos to take there as well at the start & end of the trip.

All in all we had a wonderful trip (we’ll gloss over the dodgy tummies that everyone had, I trust that everyone is back to normal by now?). So thanks Alex and thanks crew of Whirlwind and thanks all guests.

my full underwater gallery can be found here. And last years gallery of the same trip can be found here. Mikes above water photos can be found in his Flickr photostream from this photo fowards.