A BLACK and white image of a shipwreck has landed a Basingstoke scuba diver a top global underwater photography award.

Keen scuba diver Leena Roy, from Hatch Warren, landed the gold award in the Wreck Category of underwaterphotography.com’s global competition.

Leena’s winning image was almost the first frame she had shot on her brand new and first professional Nikon digital camera.

The 54-year-old manager, at Parklands Hospital, in Alder-maston Road, has dived for more than 20 years, but only took up underwater photography six years ago.

Her award-winning shot is of a ladder of the USS Kittiwake. The former US Navy vessel was deliberately sunk off the coast of the Cayman Islands to create an artificial reef.

Leena said: “I saw this steel ladder and the light streaming through the wreck just made for a magical scene as it really highlighted the subject. I just knew that was the shot I was looking for.

“Even though I knew I had a good picture, I entered the competition thinking I had little chance of winning, or even being recognised to be perfectly honest. After all, this was the first dive I had actually used my new camera on.”

Leena, who is originally from Guyana and moved to England 35 years ago, learned underwater photography on a small compact camera before upgrading to a Nikon D7000, and a specialist underwater housing less than a year ago.

Leena regularly attends the Blue Water Diving Club – a branch of the British Sub Aqua Club – which meets weekly at Queen Mary’s College, in Basingstoke, every Monday evening.

She said that her success has inspired her to keep taking more photographs, adding: “I can’t imagine diving without my camera now and I’m always on the lookout for that winning shot.

“The trouble is, no matter how good the picture you get, you know there’s an even better one just waiting to be taken on that next dive.”