This year's winning entry for the open competition is the result of a visit to Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia in December 2001 where I had gone on my own with the sole intention of testing new equipment and trying out some new techniques (not new to underwater photography but new to me that is).
November, being a long time admirer of a New Zealand Photographer called Daryl Torckler, I saw his portfolio entered in the festival and was inspired to run off to Indonesia to do this testing. All the shots were taken within the Bunaken Marine Reserve and for the sake of not constantly repeating myself the camera housing is a Sea & Sea NX90Z, the film I use for macro is Fuji Velvia for wide angle work it is Fuji Provia. The slides were numbered one to six and were shown in the order number one in the top left across to three, the bottom row consisted of shots four to six again left to right. So let's get on with the explanations
A profile of Tony White
Tony was born in Blackpool in the North of England in 1952. His family constantly on the move, gave him an early appetite for travel. Eventually moving to North America with his parents, it is here that he finished off his education before returning to England to join the Royal Navy at the age of 15. Initially training as a Radio Technician, he spent the following four years back and forth to the Far East Station based either in Hong Kong or Singapore. At this point he decided that radio was not for him and applied to join the Photographic Branch, a small arm of the service with only 90 personnel serving the whole of the Royal Navy's photographic needs from public relations to highly technical engineering photography. Being successful, he spent the next 12 years gaining valuable experience, which ranged from studio work to aerial photography from Sea King Helicopters and Harrier Jump Jets and sometimes doing his processing in the sickbays toilets on a ship in a force 9 gale.
On leaving the Navy he spent 5 years in the Commercial photographic world, again working in the studio and the lab producing the finished article mainly for corporate clients, finally ending up as the production manager for a major south London professional laboratory. It was at this point he felt that photography had run its course. Not only did it have nothing left to offer him but he also had nothing left to offer photography. So, for the next 7 years he took up a post as a Sales Rep selling mainly into the Graphics industry, providing valuable technical support to customers, primarily dealing with printers and graphic houses so in a way still dealing with film and processors only this time it
Shot one - is of two boxing crabs, no more that 2cm in size, they are only found in 2/3 metres of water, off one island in the reserve and three hours were spent looking for them. You can just see the eggs being carried by the one on the left as you look through the lens. You can also see why they have this name as they are constantly carrying out a boxing motion with the anemones they carry around on their claws. This was chosen as the top left shot as it leads you into the portfolio. Taken F90X camera with a Nikon 105mm lens with a x4 Nikon close up attachment, f22 l/100th second exposure special macro port and Inon quad flash on TTL.
Shot three - Is ofa Gorgonian crab on a beautiful divaricate tree coral. Again he is tiny measuring no more than 3 cm from claw to claw. Standing his ground he went into this defensive position and did not move for more than five minutes, which gave me plenty of time to shot from various angles. Again the quad flash has lifted the contrast of these intensive colours and has given the eyes a kind of fiery glow. This was chosen as the top right hand shot due to the crab being in a position bringing the viewer back into the portfolio. Taken F90X camera 105mm lens with a x4 Nikon close up attachment, f22 1/60th second exposure special macro port and Inon quad flash on TTL.
Shot two - A coral goby on divaricate tree coral. Again these gobies are very small and move around at tremendous speed, so it was a matter of patience until he settled down in this position. In my opinion the unique characteristics ofthe quad flash have lifted this image both in depth and colour saturation. This was chosen as the middle top shot because the goby is pointing down in a fairly neutral position.Taken F90X camera with a Nikon x4 close up attachment f22 1/60th second exposure special macro port and Inon quad flash on TTL.
Shot four - This crinoid shrimp on host crinoid is one ofthe most beautiful I have ever seen. Usually hidden within the tentacles ofthe crinoid this one was sat outside which made access to take this shot very easy, This image I feel is one ofthe most striking I have ever taken. Again the light from the quad flash has enhanced the colour and depth ofthe shrimp. Chosen as the bottom left shot facing upwards it leads the viewer into the portfolio. Taken F90X camera 105mm lens f22 l/30th second exposure Inon quad flash on TTL.
was all black and white.
In his spare time Tony had by now entered the diving world. It was as a diving instructor working weekends for a local school that the owner a certain Dick Davies began encouraging him to start taking underwater photographs and for some time Tony was having none of it. Until one day Dick lent him a Motor Marine II and here is where the love affair started. Through the next 18 months he gradually gained confidence with his new toy and the frustrations of flooding it twic,e until came the day of decision either
"do something with it" or give it up. So, after much deliberation and research he bought his first housing and camera a Nikon F90X and a Sea & Sea housing. Letters where duly sent off to all the UK dive publications with varying responses from 'who do you think you are', to 'yes we would be interested in looking at articles you produce'. From these early days some three years ago, Tony now writes regular articles for dive publications both in the UK and abroad. In pursuit of his dream he has become self employed joining his wife Pam's company and renaming it Sea of
Shot five - Being the only wide angle shot, I consider it to be very dramatic, put into a diagonal giving a 3D view of these corals with crinoids. I had been experimenting with lighting to achieve more contrast and separation and in my view it has worked and is the way forward. Chosen as the centre bottom shot as a fairly neutral image. Taken F90X camera Nikon 17-35mm zoom lens at the 17 end f11 1/60th second exposure YS300 and YS120 flashguns set on full power with orange gels.
Dreams Ltd. Together they are constantly looking at ways of earning a living from Tony's images supplying them not only to the major aquariums in the UK and abroad, but also corporate companies for advertising purposes. For Tony it is the pursuit of excellence which drives him constantly onward, trying out new techniques, the majority of which he learned as a land photographer -some work some don't.
For the last three years, he has travelled to some of the world's most inaccessible countries clocking up over 100,000 air miles each year. In 2001 Tony began to reap some of the reward of these efforts, winning the underwater category of the Afga African Wildlife competition held in Johannesburg South Africa, a gold medal in the grandmaster category of the international photo festival held bi-annually at the NEC dive show sponsored by diver magazine and most recently placed 6th overall at the prestigious film and video festival held in Antibe France.
For further information on Sea of Dreams Ltd and its itinerary for 2002 visit www.seaofdreams.co.uk
Shot six - Having seen leaf scorpion fish on a regular basis, this was the first one of this colour and I spent some time and film shooting him from various angles, this being the most dynamic. Chosen as the bottom left shot leading the viewer back into the portfolio. Taken F90XNikon 105mm lens f8 1/60th second exposure special macro port and quad flash on TTL.
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Although we usually tend to think of the digital camera as the best thing since sliced bread, there are both pros and cons with its use. Nothing is available on the market that does not have both a good and a bad side, but the key is to weigh the good against the bad in order to come up with the best of both worlds.