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BSoUP Meeting - September 2003

by Andy Clark

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Reproduced from in focus 77 (September 2003)

Photo Technique: Competitions by Colin Doeg
I had my own interpretation of what 'competitions' are all about. I had an understanding that I imagine we all share in much the same way. After all, how much interpretation does such a simple notion need- So it came as some surprise to hear our very own chairman refer to such prestigious affairs as 'crap shoots'! A less than endearing term used by one of his American friends. It's true that we have very little influence on the conditions we expose ourselves too, and absolutely no control of what is available, but surely the events need a little more salute than to be described as merely 'crop shoots'-
But anyway, however you perceive them, competitions are a fundamental part of a society such as BSoUP. So what are the motives for such events-

o Magazines will stage a competition simply to reserve the right to publish your work to promote whatever the images fit best. You will be offered a shiny new bit of kit (maybe) in return for your efforts, in reward for the use of your image being used in whatever way the magazine deems fit.

o Tourist boards will offer 'free trips' to promote tourism on the proviso that whatever images and text you submit you should contain certain information in the fact files, and illustrate the location in all its' glory, to advertise the attractions of whatever destination they are plugging and the operator plugging such attraction.

0 Photographic bodies like BSoUP and CMAS are in the business of encouraging members to show their work to illustrate photographic technique and the beauty of the underwater world we frequently visit.

Competitions are an important part of progression, and for the most part are a healthy way to ensure that we do explore, experiment and move on. But equally important are the rules, and there are only two; read them, abide by them and if you like your work but the judges don't pick you from the crowd, 'stuff them'! If you like what you show, then you'll always be a winner. And it's always worth having the judges in mind. Ask yourself how the images are to be judged and by whom. Photosub will invite a single judge to attend a viewing and they alone will decide on placings. You may be subject to a panel of judges (from perhaps sponsor, media, advertising, tourist board and photographic influence) that sit, discuss and by elimination will end with the required amount of aesthetically pleasing images to suit the runnings. Consider the BSoUP Splash In competitions that actively invites members of the public to cast votes. Consider too the gathering at the Holland Bar each month where you the audience are the judges.

Have in mind some of the various ways in which you images can be judged; the elimination method I have mentioned; projection as at BSoUP; discussion within a panel (that can sometimes be a little unfair when often the strongest personality will often decide on the placings); silent voting, again as we do at BSoUP and often the fairest, to name a few.

So what images win- If you're showing slides make sure they're punchy, have an element of red in them and ensure they stand out on a light box. Prints must stand out when shown among other prints (think of the images that were shown at this years Splash In). And if you can, be
different, be creative, maybe even controversial. Remember the screaming turtle by Malcolm Hey on a recent front cover of Dive!

But what do you want from competitions- The appeal of entering a competition should certainly be for enjoyment. The prospect of a placing or even winning may even be incidental. Whatever reason you opt to be a competitor, as long as you retain the appreciation and you like what you show, you can't loose! If you gain recognition for your work, all the better. If you don't and that's what you strive, see what is winning and change course.

Competitions are an opportunity to exhibit what you are working hard at. Let's not be dismissive and think of them as 'crap shoots'. They are a valuable tool and can illustrate your commitment to the underwater world and your endeavors to achieve a certain proficiency in its depiction.

Focus On: Wide Angle

Focus On attracted 26 entrants for the Wide Angle theme. Twenty six willing enthusiasts that between them illustrated our underwater realm in the manner we have come to expect and the beauty we all appreciate. 6'h place goes to Anita Marshall. Tony Baskerville took 5th and Mike Maloney followed closely with 4 th, only to be beaten by Jan Maloney - with 22 points - and her flamboyant octopus shot. 2nd place - with 26 points - went to Alan James and his dramatic Salt Pier image, but in Ist place - with 31 points - John Blandford with a vibrant Indonesian fan coral. Congratulations!

Main Event: 100 Best Dives in Cornwall by Charles Hood

100 Best Dives in Cornwall

HOOD, C. 2003. 100 Best Dives in Cornwall

ISBN 0-9538919-3-3 Publisher: Circle Publishing, 83-84 George Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1HE.


Mail order via SDS 01273 494999
All good diving shops
Trade: Hinchcliff Books 01258 453334

It was twenty years in the making this book of Charles Hood. From the very moment of the original idea to the final edit going to press, Charles has dived and reported one all 100 sites, submitted 50,000 words for scrutiny and editing (to be left with 37,000 from cover to cover) and has sifted through around 6,000 images for the 200 - 300 required. Keep this in mind and you'll have some idea of just what work goes into such a seemingly simple notion.

But Charles Hood never expected it to be easy. To provide a guide to UK diving guide in such depth took a great deal of time and effort for all those involved. What would have been simpler would have been to settle for the coffee table book originally considered, but research indicated a saturated market for such a commodity and very likely would have resulted in poor sales. What the UK diving fraternity needed was a specified, up to date (literally and pictorially) guide with a difference. The lost such guide on diving Cornwall was published in 1982 and in desperate need of modernising, and as CH knows the area what better premise than to compile a guide than this one, around the coast from Looe to Padstow!

So how to get started. First, list 100 dives you want to do and research them. Flick back through old log books for reminders of the diving there. 'Bribe skippers' for their local knowledge. Consider what you need to address. Where do you launch? What's the seascape like? What marine life are you likely to see?

The list is extensive and if you ask yourself what information you'd like on any particular site you'll find it covered in this guide, including GP5 reference and transits.

Have confidence in what you read because every one of the sites has been recently dived by Charles and as he states 'how can you write about it if you haven't dived it?'

The problems too are comprehensive in such compiling. The diving seemed one of the easiest bits when you consider art designs and layout, arguments over logistics, distribution, marketing and money. But it was the front cover that proved to be the most problematic. With all the key points of 'front cover philosophy' considered, Charles Hood and the team fought over 6 or 7 mock covers before finally agreeing.

If this were a money orientated enterprise Charles Hood long ago realised this will not make him rich. This is a work of love of the Cornish coast and appreciation of the diving to be had. It deserves to be written about and as the user friendly text gently leads you around the coast spare a thought for the amount of work gone into this publication, and remember it was written for those who share his passion and his applause for Cornish diving! Buy it and consider it a valuable, authoritative part of your UK diving library.

Reproduced from in focus 77 (September 2003)

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