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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.

Lion fish by Peter Rowlands

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

Plumose anemone by Kevin Cullimore

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

Puffer fish by Peter Rowlands

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

Moray eel by Peter Rowlands

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

Fan coral silhouette by Linda Pitkin

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

Clown fish by Viv Pearson

Above: Clown fish by Viv Pearson. The original came second 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.

Split lens shot of tompot blenny by Kevin Cullimore

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

Hydroid by Ron Williamson

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.

Peter Rowlands hanging processed films to dry Peter Rowlands hanging processed films to dry

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.

BSoUP's Splash-in Competition Winners

Digital (overall and category winners)

2014 Overall Winner - Cathy Lewis Mankind in the Sea - Terry Griffiths Marine Life - Cathy Lewis
  Best Compact - Colin Whyte    
2013 Overall Winner - Dan Bolt Mankind in the Sea - Dan Bolt Marine Life - Alex Tatttersall
  Best Compact - Paula Bailey Reflections - Dan Bolt  
2012 Overall Winner - Tim Priest Mankind in the Sea - Charles Erb  
  Best Compact - Paula Bailey Crustacea - Rob White  
2011 Overall Winner - Dan Bolt Mankind in the Sea - Derek Haslam Abstract - Rob Cuss
    Marine Life - Dan Bolt  
  Best Compact - Colin Yule Compact - Mankind in the Sea - Martin Rishton Compact - Abstract - Mark Brooke
2010 Overall Winner - Charles Erb Close-up - Julie Kaye Animal Portraits - Cathy Lewis
    Wide-angle - Martin Davies  
2009   Close-up - Rick Ayrton Animal Portraits - Jim Garland
    Wide-angle - Neil Skilling  
2008   Close-up - Cathy Lewis Animal Portraits - Helen Wehner
    Wide-angle - Charles Erb  
2007   Wide-angle - Arthur Kingdon Fish - Alan James
    Close-up - Alan James  

Film & Digital (overall & category winners)

2006 Overall Winner - Dave Peake Film Wide-angle - Martin Davies Film Close-up - Jan Maloney
    Digital Wide-angle - Trevor Rees Digital Close-up - Alan James
2005   Film Wide-angle - Martin Davies Film Close-up - Jean Manson
    Digital Wide-angle - Charles Erb Digital Close-up - Charles Erb

Film (category winners)

2004 Macro - Cathy Lewis Wide-angle - Dave Peake Fish - Peter Ladell
2003 Macro - David Stevens Wide-angle - Dave Peake Fish - Peter Hewitt
2002 Macro - Ken Sullivan Wide-angle - Len Deeley Fish - Bill Hewitt
2001 Macro - Tom Cowan Wide-angle - Guy Middleton  

Film (overall winners, no categories)
  2000 Ken Sullivan 1991 Kevin Cullimore 1982 Peter Salmon
  1999 Derek Haslam 1990 Kevin Cullimore 1981 Warren Williams
  1998 Pat Morrisey 1989 Paul Clark 1980 David McBride
  1997 Peter Tatton 1988 Peter Rowlands 1979 Warren Williams
  1996 Linda Pitkin 1987 Warren Williams 1978 Dave Nance
  1995 Dave Nardini 1986 Peter Scoones 1977 Geoff Harwood
  1994 Dave Peake 1985 Kevin Cullimore 1976
  1993 Brian Pitkin 1984 Les Kemp 1975
  1992 John Souness 1983 Peter Hewitt 1974 Warren Williams

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