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BSoUP's Splash-in Competition 1990

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 37 (July 1990)

Each year the British Society of Underwater Photographers organises a competition at Fort Bovisand Underwater Centre, Plymouth referred to as a "Splash-in". The reason for this particular title is simply to reflect the nature of the main event of the day. The competition's focus is a unique event in which any interested underwater photographer may participate. At 9.00 a.m., on payment of an entry fee, each entrant receives a roll of 35 mm slide film and has until 4.30 p.m. to expose it underwater "On the Day" in Plymouth waters and return it for processing. For the fifth year running the event was generously sponsored by AGFA (UK) Ltd, who supplied all of the film and processing chemicals. In addition to the "On the Day" class, there was a "Prints" class for photographs taken prior to the day.

Male Corkwing wrasse by Linda Pitkin.

Runner-up 'On the Day'

Tompot blenny by Kevin Cullimore.

Winner 'On the Day'

Cuttlefish by Dan Burton.

Third 'On the Day'

This year's Splash-in took place on Saturday, 2 June and despite the poor weather conditions (once again) a total of 49 eager photographers filled the reception area at Fort Bovisand first thing in the morning to sign up for the "On the Day ". Numbers were down on the last two years, some notable absentees being Peter Scoones, filming in the Bahamas and Galapagos, Peter Rowlands, preparing for a Greenpeace assignment in the Atlantic, and last year's winner Paul Clark, rewiring his house in Beckenham.

By 10.00 a.m. the photographers had dispersed to a selection of the many and varied dive sites in the area. A strong westerly wind prevented most from venturing far from the Fort. Many dived from the shore either north or south of the harbour, whilst a few of those with boats sought shelter in the lee of the Mewstone or Breakwater. Around the Fort visibility was poor, limiting the choice of photography to close-up and macro. Further off-shore the plankton bloom had all but disappeared and visibility was up to 5 or 6m, although numbers of Basking Sharks and large Rhizostoma jellyfish were sighted suggesting that there was still sufficient plankton in the water to make life difficult for wide-angle photography.

At tea-time the prints entered prior to the day were put on display and all Visitors to the Fort encouraged to vote for their favourite three in order of preference. Simultaneously the onerous task of processing the returned films began. The AGFA chemicals had been mixed the night before and left to warm-up during the day. Unfortunately as it turned out they were too warm and had to be cooled before use.

A team of volunteers under David Nardini's guidance loaded the processing spirals and placed them in light-tight deep tanks in preparation. Within two and hours all films had been processed and were hung up to dry prior to sleeving and return to the individual photographers.

Each competitor was given slide mounts - two for straight shots and one for humorous shots - in which to present his favourite slides for projection. The audience crammed into the projection room were invited to vote for their favourite three slides in order of preference and their favourite humorous slide.

All slides were projected twice and once the voting was complete the audience were entertained by a series of candid shots taken by SYLVIE EDGE during the course of the day of some of those taking part in the event.

Mr BRIAN GREAVES of AGFA (UK) Ltd kindly presented the trophies, medals -and prizes to the deserving winners. This year Sea and Sea Ltd generously donated four watches worth £55 each to the winners in each category.

MARTIN EDGE's portrait of a Tom-Pot Blenny took first place in the British Prints and Open Prints categories winning him the Ocean Optics Trophy and the new Greenaway Marine Trophy, two gold medals and two Sea and Sea watches. Second place and a Silver Medal in the British Prints category was LEN DEELEY with his shot of Plumose Anemones. Third place and a Bronze Medal went to KEVIN CULLIMORE for his study of a Pike taken in Gildenburgh Pit.

Second place and a Silver Medal in the Open Prints category was LINDA PITKIN for her shot of the wreck of the Giannis D in the Gulf of Suez. Third place and a Bronze Medal went to John Langford for his Black and White Print of a Clown Fish and its reflection in a mask, also taken in the Red Sea.

The Best Humorous shot "On the Day", showing a diver examining an open roll of AGFA film underwater, was taken by ANDY AUSTIN. Andy was presented with the Aquarnatic Trophy, a Gold Medal and a Sea and Sea watch.

The winner "On the Day" was KEVIN CULLIMORE for a stunning slide of a Tom-Pot Blenny. Kevin was presented with the BSoUP Trophy, a Gold Medal and a Sea and Sea Watch. Second place and a Silver Medal went to LINDA PITKIN for a macro portrait of a male Corkwilng Wrasse in breeding plumage. DAN BURTON took third place with his inquisitive Cuttlefish.

Once again this unique event demonstrated that whatever the conditions Britain's underwater photographers still take first class photographs. But let's hope that the weather is kinder next year.

The Society is very grateful for the continued sponsorship of AGFA (UK) Ltd and too Sea and Sea (UK) Ltd for donating prizes. Thanks are also due to all the staff at Fort Bovisand for making us all welcome and to the many BSoUP members who assisted during the day - David and Pip Nardini, Mark Webster, Stephen Brooks, VIv Pearson and Martin Edge for processing, Sylvia Edge for land photography, Les Kemp for projection, Ray Breach for medal design and production, Jan and Mike Maloney, Bill Bunting, Kevin Cullimore, Linda Pitkin and others too numerous to mention.









Kevin Cullimore

Tompot blenny



Linda Pitkin

Male Corkwing wrasse



Dan Burton




  Andy Austin Diver and film


  Martin Edge Tompot blenny


  Linda Pitkin Giannis D


  John Langford Clownfish


  Martin Edge Tompot blenny


  Len Deeley Plumose anemones
3   Kevin Cullimore Pike


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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