Caroline recently took two awards at the NUPG
Print Awards. The winners were selected by the general public at this diving event held in Manchester, along with overall winners being selected by sponsors. The above shot of a Grey Seal from the Farne Islands won the British & Irish Wide Angle category. The Cape Fur Seal clinging onto a kelp frond while looking straight into the camera won the Overall Overseas title. Why? Well the public love cute, and seals and sea lions have that in spades. But, they also look right at the camera, giving the viewer of the image the feeling they are engaging with the photo and they can really imagine being there in that moment. This is what makes these images so popular.
We never miss the opportunities to dive with these playful creatures. Not because the images win competitions, but because it is fun. We dive with the seals in the Farne Islands (with Farne Island Divers
) every year, in South Africa, we dived with Cape Fur Seals and on a recent trip to Mexico we had great fun with Sea Lions too. All these dives have one thing in common, these wild animals love to interact with divers. They might tug on your fin, mouth your camera equipment or even, as has happened twice to Caroline, bring you a starfish as a gift. The dives are joyous and we try to reflect this in our images, to show people just how much fun this experience is.
Whilst these images do not show off any supreme photography talent, they do share the experience of the dive with everyone who looks at the images. That is what we love to do with our images. Show people the amazing marine life here in the UK and all around the world. Show them what it is like to get into the water with them. Show them the oceans, and their inhabitants, must be protected. Show what a privilege it is for us to be there.