BSoUP's Splash-in Competition
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'
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
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
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
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
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
Above: Hydroid by Ron
Williamson. The original colour slide came third 'On the
PROCESSING '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
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
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