PRIZES, TROPHIES AND INDIVIDUAL
The annual BSoUP / DIVER Print Competition was held
at Dive 2013 at the NEC, Birmingham over the weekend of 26th-27th
October. Eighty of the best prints in four categories were mounted
for display and judging by the visiting public, with a panel of three
judges selecting the overall winner for the Grand Prize of a holiday
in Tobago courtesy of Oonastours.
The best of show and winner of the Grand Prize was
selected by an independent panel of judges comprising Alex
Mustard, Martin Edge and Nigel
Belgian underwater photographer Ellen
Cuylarts was the overall winner with a stunning image of a
tarpon hunting silversides taken in the Cayman Islands with a Nikon
Overall Winner: Tarpon Hunting © Ellen Cuylaerts
Ellen studied history in Antwerp and got her master
in modern history and education and relocated from Belgium to the
Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman, in 2009. She home schools her 2 gifted
teenagers and decided to take up scuba diving in June 2011.
Soon she became a Master Scuba Diver and took up her childhood dream
photography and combined it with the wonders of the underwater
After diving a few months she signed up for a workshop on the island
with renowned underwater photographer and marine biologist Dr. Alex
Mustard and decided to use the skills she learned to spread the
awareness and contribute to the conservation and preservation of the
fragile marine environment.
Her basic concern is the decay of the oceans by pollution,
overfishing, the brutal act of shark finning and dolphin and whale
slaughtering. By showing to beauty of the underwater world she hopes
people will start protecting what they love.
Said Ellen 'Every year tarpons, jacks, groupers,
divers and snorkelers await a feast with the return of the
silversides in summer.
The mass movement of the school makes the
silversides less vulnerable and their synchronized evasion tactics
are a joy to the eye and a photographer's dream.
My picture was shot at Devil's Grotto (Eden Rock). The massive
schooling behaviour of the little fishes in the grottoes inspired me
to capture the symbiosis of all the elements. If elements don't work
together,there is no balance and balance is what we need in
Ellen won the Grand Prize of a week in Tobago for
one including flights from Gatwick, transfers, 7 nights B&B at
Toucan Inn and 5 days diving/10 dives courtesy of OonasDivers and an
individual BSoUP glass trophy.
The panel selected Belgian Dennis
Vandermeerschs print of a manatee and her child in Florida
taken with a Nikon D300, as overall runner-up.
Runner-up: Manatee mother and child © Dennis Vandermeersch
Said Dennis ˜I started diving in 1988 and nobody
has been able to keep me out of the water since. I'm a 1* Diving
Instructor CMAS/nelos. My interest in photography started under
water. My father let me take some pictures with his Motor Marine II,
and never got his camera back. After noticing that film rolls were
too expensive and too small, I decided to go digital, against the
advice of Belgium's top photographers (who all went digital
afterwards). A new world opened itself. No more messing with film,
no more waiting for results. Digital gave the advantage of quick
results but a steep learning curve. ˜
˜I've been to Florida a couple of times now and
although the rules for snorkelling with manatees have become very
strict, at some hours of the day using a strobe is still allowed.
Unfortunately, those are the hours where they dump truckload of
tourist in there. Lucky for me I had one day where everything came
together: a mother and baby manatee, not too many arm-waving,
dust-kicking tourists and within the limited hours. I had been in the
water for a few hours that day and decided to take a little rest on
the sand to check the pictures I had taken that day. As I lay, breath
holding in an empty corner of the spring, a manatee and her calf came
looking at that weird creature laying on the sand. They got close, I
set my camera and took the shot. Somehow the always sneak up on you.
Done with my trusted 10.5 FE Nikon and a couple of sub-strobes
(diffused of course, and not to bright, those are the rules). The
thing is: it's getting harder every year to take a shot like that.
You're basically not allowed to go too close to a manatee yourself.
The manatee has to come to you. And that's a good thing. They are
more relaxed and willing when they decide what to do in their own
environment. but if you're there for a few weeks and stay all
day...you'll make friends that come to push against you every morning
to say hello.
˜I'm glad the judges liked the shot and as usual
I'm very delighted to hear of their great taste in photography (he
he, couldn't resist). I'm sorry that I couldn't be there to accept
the trophy in person because of my job. Maybe next year? Who knows.
I'll be sure to join the competition next year!
The panel awarded Highly Commended to Alex
Tattersalls print of ˜Duelling Tom pots taken under Swanage
Pier this October using the Olympus OMD-EM5 in a Nauticam housing
with the 12-50mm lens in macro mode. The battle went on for half an
hour and was quite brutal.
Highly Commended: Duelling blennies © Alex Tattersall
Also Highly Commended was Trevor
Rees with a print of ˜Fireworks Anemone and Large-clawed
lobster taken in Loch Goil in Scotland with a Nikon D90 in a
Highly Commended: Fireworks anenome and long-clawed lobster ©
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