His first camera cost £10.00 and was used in
a crude housing given to him by Bob and Dennis Wright at Divers Down
in Swanage. It was a large Perspex tube sealed at one end. An
industrial glove fitted over the other end and was secured by
circlips. To keep the water out you pumped air in but then it needed
16lb of lead to counter its buoyancy.
Said Colin: You stuck your hand into the
glove so you could operate the camera and were stuck like that until
you came out of the water. By then he had bought a 7s 6d paperback
on how to take pictures underwater. It recommended processing your
own films " I was using black and white film exclusively - so he
bought the necessary chemicals, read the leaflets and discovered you
also needed a processing tank. At that time he was also mostly using
ex-War Department film because it was cheap.
After two dismal years with that outfit he
bought a CalypsoPhot, the forerunner of the Nikonos series of
amphibious cameras and his pictures immediately improved to the point
where he began using fresh film, particularly Kodak Tri-X. He
continued to process his own films, usually in a tent or a hotel room
and frequently caused consternation when he washed his camera under a
tap at campsites.
By then he had his own regulator and tank and
used to dive with other people about his own size until he could
afford a contents gauge. Out of necessity he began diving on his own
because he was frequently working while branch dives were taking
place and it suited his passion for photographing fish and
He taught himself how to print his negatives
- using the kitchen or bathroom once it was sufficiently dark - but
eventually moved into a larger house so he could create a darkroom.
He went on to become the first photographer not working in the
photographic industry to become British Underwater Photographer of
the Year. He also took the first picture in British waters ever to
win an open international underwater photographic
Work and a family began to limit the time he
could spend underwater so he startred photographing various land
sports " mostly anything involving wheels or water. This led to him
beating 500 other portfolios to become Amateur Photographer
magazine's Sports Photographer of the Year. It also led to him
photographing various sports for the Daily Telegraph and his work
also appeared in other national and monthly publications for many
He writes the monthly Big Shot feature for
DIVE magazine, the BSAC's official journal, and has now switched to a
digital slr and a digital com pact camera but he retains a Nikonos
for black and white photography.
With Peter Scoones he founded BsoUP and was
its first chairman while Peter was its original secretary.