Month Subject
  January Face to face: Any image that shows two faces facing each other. vIt can be two different species or the same species.
  February Yellow: An image where the subject is predominantly yellow. The color yellow should be prominent in the image.
  March Eels: Any ray-finned fish belonging to the order Anguilliformes, freshwater or saltwater fulfills this month’s theme .
  April Very hairy: Show us your best hairy aquatic animal. Subject must have the appearance of a hair, whether it is skin protrusions, algae resembling hair or covered in small spines. i.e. Hairy frogfish, hairy squat lobster, orangutan crab, hairy shrimp, etc. No sea urchins. No hairy humans permitted
  May  Juveniles or younger: Any organism, flora or fauna, presented in its distinct lifecycle phase after birth (no eggs) and before maturity.  (think larvae, pelagic planktonic, etc.) Organisms that are mere miniature replicas of the adults (i.e. juvenile whale, turtle, etc.) are not acceptable subjects and do not count
  June June Gloom: photo with predominant dark tones, can be silhouette, Monochrome, black & white image, grayscale.
  July SUPER Macro: Any subject that has been magnified in camera to produce an image. In other words, the subject must project on the camera sensor greater than 1:1. No cropping allowed. 
  August Big and Little: Two subjects in the same frame, one large and one small. This could be a diver and a whale, or two animals of the same species that are much different sizes.
  September Snooting: A subject lit with a snoot, light shaping device, or snoot torch. The snoot can be used to isolate the subject, backlight the subject and highlight certain aspects of the subject (such as the eye). Colored snoots are acceptable. No lighting effects may be applied in post-processing.
  October Life inside: Living inside a natural or manmade structure. This theme is looking for a creative use of a life within. Examples: subject in wreck, goby or eel in a hole, fish swimming inside of a cave entrance, subject in a bottle or can or shell- be creative.
  November Snell’s Window: Your image must properly showcase Snell’s window.
  December Awards banquet

As an outdoor educator, I help university students build life skills, good judgment, and resilience through outdoor adventures – just as I have built in my travels.

In 2006, my sister and I planned a trip to Tahiti. We got dive certified just before, and on my 4th ocean dive, I found myself surrounded by 10’ lemon sharks and 6’ black tip reef sharks. Although I used up my gas before anyone else on site, I was hooked.

In 2011, I met Fofo Gonzalez, an avid diver - and we started diving together in California and Cozumel. In 2013 I bought a used DSLR camera and housing system with the goal of learning about photography and precision diving to control task loading.

So I took GUE Fundamentals, and brought my diving to the next level to control my buoyancy and positioning. I practiced a lot and in 2015, I felt ready to add the photo rig to my dive trips.

My first photo trip was with Fofo to Bohol, Philippines and I was so impressed with the capabilities of a DSLR that I have rarely done a dive since without my camera.  Today, I use the same system I bought in 2013, a Nikon D90 with an Aquatica Housing and dual Sea & Sea Y110a strobes. My favorite format is macro, so I use a Nikon 105mm or 60mm lens and a +10 Subsea diopter.  Now my goals are to perfect the creative use of light with macro, and work on wide-angle techniques if the site lends itself more to that.

I love to make diving an excuse to travel to new places, meet new friends, and learn about other cultures. Two of my favorite areas for underwater diversity are the Philippines and Bali. Regardless of the location, I know I’ll never run out of ideas and enthusiasm for exploration.


You can follow Jen on Instagram and Facebook



Linda BlanchardI was certified in 1975 and joined the Sea Sabre dive club to find dive buddies. That is where I met Allan and Barb Jones and many of my life long friends. 

I have a degree in biology and worked at the Ocean Institute for 34 years teaching children marine and other sciences. I have since retired. I think being a diver added something to my excitement about teaching the children about the ocean. Working there also gave me many ocean experiences I would not have had with most jobs.  

I got my first underwater camera system in 1978, a Cannon F1 in an Ikelite housing. I later changed to Nikon film cameras when a full rig became available at a good price.  I did not change to digital until 2006 with a Nikon D100. I now shoot a Nikon D500 in a Sea n Sea housing and strobes. 

I joined OCUPS about 1995 and became president in 1998. The club has a great board that works well together and we all seem to keep our jobs for years. 

I like so many different dive locations that I do not have a favorite. I have dived all over California and Florida when I visited my parents. I have also dived in many travel destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, and recently a number of trips to the Philippines.  


John and I met in 1994 in Palau, on the dayboat Splash. Since he and I were the only photographers on the boat (!), the dive master paired us up. He knew we would be the slowest! We shot at everything that moved with our Nikonos Vs and had dinner afterwards, then dinner again months later in Los Angeles to compare our photographs. And we’ve been diving and shooting together ever since.

The Nikonos is gone, but not forgotten. I’m shooting a Nikon D850 now in a Nauticam housing, and John has gone video, with a Canon cam-corder and Light and Motion housing. We’ve retired since those earlier days, and try to make as many dive trips as we can. Every time we think we’re running out of new places to see, we find somewhere brand new to visit and photograph. It’s a big world and we want to see it all!

I learned to dive in 2008 as I turned 50, a lifelong desire finally realized. I immediately began to create time to dive around my full-time career as a Physical Therapist and owner of Orthopedic and Spine Care Physical Therapy in Huntington Beach.

Within the first 2 years I became intrigued with underwater photography, starting with a wrist strap point and shoot.  Winning one of Barbara Jones’ photos at the scuba show introduced me to OCUPS. The mentorship and friendships within OCUPS has been priceless for me.

I now use an Olympus OMD EM5 mirrorless camera in a Nauticam housing. The small size makes it easier for me to travel with as I explore the world of Scuba.

Mexico is one of my favorite dive destinations from Cabo Pulmo and the Sea of Cortez, to the Yucatan and the Socorro Islands. California diving in the Channel Islands is my most frequent destination year-round. I have been able to travel to the South Pacific, Philippines, and Indonesia with some wonderful dive buddies and cherish those times.

I have placed several times in the SoCal Shootout and placed 1st in the San Diego County Fair 2017 Underwater photo division. I have placed 1st in Amateur and then 1st Advanced in the OCUPS annual mini competitions as well as 3rd in the Open category.

My newest photo adventure is www.underseavisions.com

I studied Marine Biology at the University of Ghent, Belgium and got Scuba certified in 1977. As a biology student, I organized expeditions to the Red Sea and got stranded in 1982 in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) for 6 months, lived in the dessert on pita and cheese and dove Ras Mohamed before the tourists came. I have been back many times.

After flooding a few Nikonos cameras I bought a second hand Canon Marine Capsule A and modified it to hold the Nikon N2020, an auto-focus SLR. I still like to tinker with and build or modify UW photo equipment to better fit my needs.

Today I use a 13mm Nikonos RS fisheye modified for Nikon D800 on an Aquatica housing. I am an all-round UW photographer with a preference for portrait and wide-angle. My favorite dive sites include the Red Sea and Irian Jaya. For cold water I prefer the colors of California and British Columbia.

Roeland PapenMy trophies include medals at international and local UW photo competitions:

  • Monterey Shootout 2017: 1st place Advanced Wide Angle unrestricted
  • Nelos (Belgium) UW festival: 1986, 1994, 1996, 1998 (1st place diaporama)
  • Monterey Nikonos Shootout: 1997, 2002, 2003 (1st place and best of “Wide Angle”)
  • Turks & Caicos World Open: 1998 (image on postcard and stamp)
  • NCUPS SEA: 2002, 2003 1st and 2nd place (the prestigious “Bob Commer” Award)
  • Bluewater Photo SoCal shootout: 2011, 2012 (1st place Portrait)
  • OCUPS: 2012, 2013 (3rd and 2nd place open category)