The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP)

Inspiring and informing underwater photographers since 1967

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Scuba Tours Worldwide - Sponsor of the Splash-In 2010, 2011, 2012,  2013,  2014

Marine Conservation Society - Sponsor of the Splash-In 2014

in association with
Egyptian Ministry of Tourism

O'Three - Sponsor of the Splash-In 2014

Scimitar Diving - Sponsor of the Splash-In 2014

SCUBA Magazine, Sponsor of the Best of British Portfolio COmpetition 2014

The Wildlife Trusts - Sponsor of the the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition

DIve 2014

AP Valves - Sponsor of British Splash-in Competition

Cameras Underwater - Sponsor of the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition

Paul Colley Underwater Photography

DiveLife, Manchester, Sponsor of the Open Portfolio Competition 2014

Frogfish Photography

Nudibranchs of the South West

DiveQuest - Sponsor of the Underwater Excelence

Diver Magazine - Sponsor of the Annual Beginners Portfolio Competition and the BSoUP/DIVER Print Competition

UnderWaterVisions - Sponsor of the Splash-in 2013 and 2014

Sea & Sea - Sponsor of the British Underwater Photography Championship 2013

Scuba Travel

BSoUP's Splash-in Competition 1986

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 16 (June 1986)

Each year the British Society of Underwater Photographers organises a Competition, open to all divers, at Fort Bovisand Underwater Centre, Plymouth. The event this year, held on Saturday, 31st Ray, was very generously sponsored by AGFA, who provided all the film and chemicals for the 'On the Day' class.


A new record was set this year. A total of 77 underwater photographers took part in the Splash-In. Each participant collected one roll of AGFACHROME Professional 35 mm film in either 50, 200 or 1000 ASA between 9.00 and 10.00 and,m. They had until 5.00 p.m. to expose their film In Plymouth waters and return it for processing.
Entrants dispersed to dive and either seek out a suitable subject or, if they chose, took down their own props to contrive a humerous or novelty shot. Most concentrated on the abundant marine life or framed their buddy in a suitable gully or wreck, but a few sneaked toys and other artefacts down with them to the seabed.

Above: Lion fish by Peter Rowlands. The original won the Gold Medal in the Band W Prints category

Above: Puffer fish by Peter Rowlands. The original came second in the Band W Prints category.

Above: Plumose anemone by Kevin Cullimore. The original came third in the B and W Prints category

Throughout the day, entries for the Black and White and Colour Print classes were on display in the reception area at Fort Bovisand. The subjects, taken underwater anywhere in the world, ranged from marine life, freshwater fish, divers and wrecks. Visitors to the Fort and participants in the event were invited to vote for their favourite pictures, In contrast to the tremendous response for the 'On the Day' class, there were slightly fewer Black and White Prints then last year.

At the end of the afternoon, 74 of the films had been returned for processing. The dark room team worked smoothly and efficiently to return the processed, dried and sleeved films by 9.00 p.m. (See Peter Rowlands article). The excited photographers then spent forty-five minutes studying their results before selecting up to two of their best for projection and judging.


One hundred and twenty slides were then shown to a packed and lively audience who were then invited to vote for their favourite three and the best contrived shot, before retiring to the bar to await the results and presentations.

This year BSoUP member, RAY BREACH, had designed and made special BSoUP medals in gold silver and bronze for first, second and third places. New trophies were donated by Ocean Optics and Aquamatic. The former. a beautiful iridescent glass clam, mounted on a small plinth, was designed and made by SlDDY LANGLEY, also a BSoUP member. DAVID GEORGE, the Society's President, presented the awards.

Above: Moray eel by Peter Rowlands. The original won the Colour Prints category

Above: Clown fish by Viv Pearson. The original came second in the Colour Prints category

Above: Fan coral silhouette by Linda Pitkin. The original came thrid in the Colour Prints category.


Third place in the Black and White Print class went to KEVIN CULLIMORE for a shot of a Plumose Anemone taken in British waters. PETER ROWLANDS took second and first place for his Red Sea studies of a Puffer Fish and a Lion Fish. Peter won the new Ocean Optics Trophy.

In the Colour Prints class, third place went to LINDA PITKIN for her silhouette of a fan coral, taken in Sulawesi. VIV PEARSON took second place for her Red Sea Clown Fish in a bright red Anemone. PETER ROWLANDS' Moray Eel was firm favourite and won him the Greenaway and Morris Trophy and his third medal of the evening.

Above: Devonshire cup coral by Peter Scoones. The original colour slide won the Gold Medal 'On the Day'

The Best Contrived shot 'On the Day' was taken by PETER HEWITT. Peter's slide showed a squeaky yellow toy hedgehog as a partner to an equally spiny sea urchin and won him the Aquanatic Trophy and a gold medal.

Third place 'On the Day', with a macro shot of a hydroid, went to RON WILLIAMSON. Winning his second medal of the evening, KEVIN CULLIMORE, came second with a split lens shot of a Cottid Fish. The winner of the BSoUP/AGFA Splash-In 86 'On the Day' class by a clear majority was PETER SCOONES with a superb shot of a cup coral framed against the surface of the water. Peter took his double exposure shot with a Pentax LX in a housing and won him the BSoUP Trophy, a splendid fish carved in wood by DAVID MORGAN.
The first, second and third in each class were presented, respectively, with five, three and two rolls of AGFACHOME Profesional film,

Linda Pitkin, John Field, Joan Funnell, Linda Wilson, Jenny and David George, John Hargreaves, Mike and Jan Maloney, Peter Bignell, David Clift, Christine Osborne, Tamara and Alex Double, Peter Rowlands, Paul Langley, Val Debbage, Peter Scoones and others all pitched in on the day to help make this year's BSoUP/AGFA Splash-In a huge success. To all the Society is very grateful.

Our special thanks go to Alan Bax and all the staff at Fort Bovisand for making us so welcome once again and to AGFA for their kindness in sponsoring our unique annual underwater competition.

Above: Split lens shot of tompot blenny by Kevin Cullimore. The original colour slide came second 'On the Day'

Above: Hydroid by Ron Williamson. The original colour slide came third 'On the Day'



by Peter Rowlands

For those BSoUP members who entered the BSoUP/AGFA Splash-in 'On the Day' class, there was a chance to rest from 5.00 p.m. onwards, while the films were processed, until they were returned dried and sleeved. For the processors, however, this was the most hectic part of the day as this year there were 75 films to process as quickly as possible.

Left and above: Peter Rowlands hanging processed films to dry


In the past we have relied on amateur methods using developing tanks holding up to 8 rolls of film. The chemicals have to be poured into and out of these tanks to process the films. The result is an economical system but it is one which becomes stretched when the number of films exceeds 24 (i.e. 3 separate processes),
Over the last few years the number of participants has risen, so much so that last year there were over 60 films to be processed. The experience was a headache for Peter Scoones and his team, so, drawing on his experience, we decided to invest in bulk equipment to cope with the increasing quantities of film.

AGFA's invaluable sponsorship has, without doubt, allowed us to process much larger quantities of film and so ensure that the delays are kept to a minimum. They provided 15 litres of Process 44 (E6) chemistry - the retail cost of which is over £150 -to enable us to process 36 films at a time.

The process involves 7 chemical baths and two water washes, so we purchased ten 15 litre tanks together with three 20" x 10" dishwarmers to keep all the chemicals at the correct temperature (38°C). The films were loaded onto stainless steel spirals and retained in a basket, so that the film travelled to the chemicals rather than the other way around.

The process takes a little over 30 minutes, more time being spent loading the spirals prior to processing and unloading them afterwards to dry. With only one person experienced in loading stainless steel spirals, it took over 30 minutes to load 36 films! At the end of the process, the film were removed from the spirals and hung up to dry, All this takes a great deal of time and cannot be hurried without the risk of dropping a film.

Once dried, the films must then be put into protective sleeves and then returned to their owners as quickly as possible. This year we took just under 4 hours, but we hope that with some more evolutionary organisation, we can reduce this to 3 hours, so that films can be returned at 8 p.m. The entrants can then have one hour to choose their two frames, mount and enter then, so that Judging can begin at 9 p.m., the results being announced no later than 10.00 p.m.

This will give a more civilised timetable which avoids the past pitfalls, which have seen us waiting until well after midnight for results In past years. So next time you are relaxing after your diving, spare a thought for the processors and maybe buy them a drink, but make sure its after the processing has definately finished .....


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