Arthur Kingdon Underwater Photography


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My interest in photography began many years ago when I was around fourteen. My father was an accomplished amateur photographer with his own darkroom and I remember being fascinated as the monochrome images would slowly appear in the developing tray.

As I was also interested in aircraft, I thought there could be no better career than to join the Royal Air Force as a photographer. After serving my photographic apprenticeship, I enjoyed some two and a half years photographing all manner of interesting stuff before applying for and being accepted for aircrew training.

As my 'professional' photographic career came to an end, I found myself flying around the world in the 'good old days' when we still had bases overseas and many of these bases were in locations ideal for diving. Addu Attol in the Maldives was a frequent stop en route to Singapore, as was Nassau, en route to Belize.  I joined my local BSAC sub aqua club in 1968 and my diving career began.

I soon purchased a secondhand Nikonos 11, for what was about two weeks wages at the time, and set off to capture  fantastic images of the underwater world. Well, it did not work out quite as I expected; the 35mm lens was not very wide, it was tricky to focus, and those expensive flashbulbs! Six rolls of fairly mediocre images later, I was diving Kimmeridge Bay (UK south coast) when a member of our shore party managed to accidentally damage my camera beyond repair. Unable to afford a replacement and being somewhat unimpressed with my results, my underwater photography career came to an abrupt end - or so I thought.

I continued diving with my 'wreckie' buddies for the next thirty years but was becoming increasingly bored and doing less diving. I started organising expeditions to Newfoundland in the Ninetees and that inspired me to take up underwater photography again. I purchased another Nikonos in 1999, a strobe and a 20mm lens followed and my results were sufficiently encouraging. A Nikon F4 in an Aquatica housing replaced the Nikonos and the results improved again. However, the bug really bit in 2004 with the move to digital  (a Nikon D100) and I have not looked back. I am keen to dive anywhere, anytime and now do far more diving than I used to do. Currently, I use a Nikon D7000 in an Aquatica housing with twin Inon Z240 strobes. I use a variety of lenses, mainly Nikon but also a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye and Sigma 17-70mm. I also enjoy using a housed Canon compact on occasion.

My work has been published in a variety of magazines and I have enjoyed a fair amount of success in photographic competitions. I have recently been involved in a book project for early readers under the Collins BIg Cat label. I currently organise the programme and act as webmaster for the Bristol Underwater Photography Group as well as being a member of the British Society of Underwater Photographers  I am always keen to help any of the less experienced underwater photographers and I enjoy receiving emails on any aspects of what has become my passion - feel free to get in touch.