Clean Coasts : Love Your Coast 2019 Competition

My Clean Coasts submissions this year.

I was not so successful this year in the Clean Coasts photography competition. I didn’t get a single picture into the finalist round this year and i didn’t end up going up for the event. Hoping maybe I will have better luck next year. I was pretty disappointed but looking back my images were not as good as last year and the competition is pretty fierce. Very happy for the friends i knew that got in. Looking forward to catching up at the dive show in March 2020.

Best UW portfolio VOB 2018

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

Portfolio – Wide2 – Bathed in Green Light Image taken ascending from Crabs Back, Kilkee, Clare, September 1 2018 Diver is John Moloney LSAC ISO 200, f4.5, 1/400

Portfolio – Macro1 – Honeycomb Image taken in New Quay, Burren Clare. December 30 2018 ISO 125, f11, 1/200

Portfolio – Wide1 – Compass Rose Image taken in Blue Pool/Cameron Creek north of Kilkee, Clare. June 27 2018 Diver in background is Ciaran Enright LSAC ISO 160, F9, 1/400

Portfolio – Macro3 – Light and Dark Image taken on midweek dive in Blue Pool/Cameron Creek north of Kilkee, Clare. June 6 2018 ISO 125, f7.1, 1/200

Portfolio – Macro2 – On a Kelp Edge Image taken in New Quay, Burren Clare. August 19 2018 ISO 160, f11, 1/125

Portfolio – Wide3 – Hanging Ten on Pinnacle Wave Image taken at 40m on the Pinnacle, Kilkee, Clare. July 22 2018 Dive is Ken Maye Kilkenny SAC ISO 160, f4, 1/125

Experienced Macro – Eyes on the Road Image taken in New Quay, Burren Clare. August 19 2018 ISO 160, f4.9, 1/125

Open Split Shot – Dusty Photo Bomb Image taken at Doolin Pier before dive with Burren Sub Aqua Club October 28 2018 ISO 200, F4.5, 1/160

Search and Recovery in the Community

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.

search and recovery training
Local volunteer SAR dive unit getting ready

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.

AGA mask SAR training

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.

coastgaurd and search and recovery

Dusty the Dolphin

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 and followed us to a dive site near the Cliffs of Moher. She spent time with all the divers and then escorted us back home. Magical.

dusty the dolphin split shot

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 the dolphin swam back and force in front of the scene for 20 minutes. I wanted to capture the size of Dusty against the pier. People looked down watching her interact with the divers getting the dive boat ready.

Love Your Coast Photography Competition 2018

Delighted to be selected in the top ten for the second year in a row for An Taisce Clean Coasts – Love Your Coast photography competition.  Headed up to

Top of the Pinnacle. This is my top ten image for 2018. Pleased to get that far. I use a Sony R100 m2 with a pair of Inon Z240s

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. Next year I will be back and I hope to submit more pictures to the Love Your Coast 2019 competition.

Out on a Limb. I love this nudibranc but it didn’t make the cut.

an OK Devonshire Cup coral

If only Ciaran would have swam into the strobe zone i think this might have ranked higher.

my favorite, but another nudibranch not picked.

My diving life

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