This weekend at the annual Irish Dive Show I landed a trophy for the Best portfolio for 2018 in the Vincent O’Brien Underwater Photography competition. The weekend was all about meeting up with old friends and hatching plans to meet again doing what we love – UW Photography!
My good friend and dive buddy Diarmuid from DOD Photography recorded a podcast from the show – im 2nd to last in the interview….check it out. I had some decent success this year with my underwater photography – 4 prizes in the Vincent OBrien and i made the shortlist in the Love Your Coast as well.
All images taken by Mike Orth
Camera is Sony Rx100 Mark2 Compact with Inon Z240 Strobes
When the Irish pleasure diving season draws to a close in late October, many divers put their gear away until next year and head for the pool to stay SCUBA fit. For some divers, the winter season marks the start of Search and Recovery training on a regular basis. I am fortunate to have a local unit based ten minutes from where I live, so I am able to meet up weekly to run Search and Recovery (SAR) training exercises. Our unit trains mid-week in the evening after work, so every session is a night dive. I think this makes a difference to our units skill-set as search call-outs can happen at any time.
The unit I volunteer for is Killaloe Ballina Search & Recovery which was setup to serve the local community in 2001. The unit is small and tight knit, made up of experienced divers, coxswain and crew members plus a dedicated backroom team that manages the paperwork and fundraising. Every penny spent on search and recovery activities is funded by the community and its volunteers. Most people are unaware that volunteer divers performing recoveries are totally unfunded by the government.
KBSR has been involved in many searches over the years and played a vital role in partnership with the local Killaloe Coast Guard Unit as well as working closely with local Gardaí. The unit is also a member of the Diving Ireland (CFT/IUC) group of SAR units and joins search and training efforts from the wider national group. In May of 2016 the Irish Underwater Council (IUC) signed a Service Level Agreement with The Irish Coast Guard which formally enables all units part of the IUC to be “asked to task” by the IRCG.
We recently ran a course with Diving Ireland in UL that had a dozen divers learning the basics of current SAR methods. The course included a full day on the water in Ballina/Killaloe practicing various search techniques in the canal and a tow-bar search off the boat. We also took the class up to the pool in the Lakeside Hotel for a chance to try out Full Face Mask. If you are interested in learning more about joining a local SAR unit in your area – reach out to Diving Ireland to get started.
Last weekend paid a visit to a local wild Dolphin called Dusty and managed this split-shot. She hung around the slip while we loaded the boat, followed us to a dive site near the Cliffs of Moher and spent time with all the divers and then escorted us back home. Magical.
Video footage taken by my dive buddy Diarmuid O’Donovan
This image was a winner for me in the Vincent OBrien Underwater Photography competition this year at the Irish Dive Show. Its not two images stitched together. The lens is both above and below water at the same time. This was taken at the slip where Dusty swam back and force in front of the scene for 20 minutes. I wanted to capture the size of Dusty against the pier as people looked down watching her interact with the divers getting the dive boat ready.
One of the first dive sites on our trip to the North Red Sea was a place called The Barge. Not too deep, full of life with a bit of wreck and a lagoon. I think we did three dives here in our 6 days on the live-aboard Whirlwind. I am hoping to return soon to do more underwater photography in blue waters.
Delighted to be selected in the top ten for the second year in a row for An Taisce Clean Coasts – Love Your Coast photo competition. Headed up to
Dublin to meet my friends that were all selected as finalists and got to cheer on the winners. I didnt win (again) but it was really great to see my image hanging from the wall and to see the excellent standard required! Hoping to give it another try next year for sure. The winners are here.
Here were my other submissions that didn’t make the grade.