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BSoUP's Splash-in Competition 1996

First cuckoo of the summer

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 58 (September 1996)

Imagine if you can a warm overcast day at Fort Bovisand in Plymouth. The date - Saturday, July 13, 1996. The time - 9am.

Forty-four underwater photographers stand in line. What are they up to? Each pauses briefly at a table to complete a form and exchange a fee for a roll of film. Most choose 100 ISO Fuji RPD, the minority opting for 50 ISO Fuji Velvia.

Each is asked to take a photograph of themselves on the first frame and return the film for processing no later than 4.30pm.

Secret assignment?

Are they on a secret assignment - Where are they going? What will they do when they get there?

Only the individuals themselves can answer these questions because this is the start of the British Society of Underwater Photographers' annual 'Splash-in' or underwater photographic competition.

The competitors disperse singly or in small groups to load their cameras and dive in Plymouth waters to try to take the best winning underwater photograph 'On the Day'.

Some board the Bovisand shuttle, others climb into their RIBs and inflatables bound for dive sites as far east as Hillsea Point Rock and the wreck of the James Egan Layne to the west. A few opt to shore dive out of the harbour.

At the ready

Cameras at the ready, they plunge into the underwater world. Some seek out a photogenic marine life subject or scenic view. Others set up a shot for the humorous category. The visibility is 4-5 metres and there is an abundance of marine life from anemones to angler fish, beadlets to blennies, cuttlefish to crabs and dogfish to dories.

By 4.30pm all the films had been exposed and all but one returned for processing - my own was forgotten inside my camera as I rewound films for others cutting the deadline a little fine!

At 5pm the 50 entries for the British and Open Prints category were put on display. Anyone passing through reception was invited to vote for their favourites.

By 8pm the films were processed, dried and sleeved ready to be returned to the eagerly awaiting photographers.

Voting system

Each was asked to select and mount one or two of their best shots for judging. Each of the selected slides was then projected anonymously and the audience invited to vote for their favourite three slides.

By lOpm all votes had been counted and the results of this year's Splash-in were announced.

British Prints

Third in the British Prints category with 12 points was Ian Taylor with a portrait of a seal. Second place, with 27 points, was Dave Peake with a photograph of two cuttlefish taken in Plymouth waters. Winner of the British Prints category was VVyn Roberts with 41 points for a close-up of an angler fish.

Each of the winners was presented with a bronze, silver or gold medal respectively. Wyn was presented with the Ocean Optics Trophy for the best British Print.

Open prints

Third in the Open Prints category with 40 points was Les Kemp with a photograph of a diver seen through the legs of an oil rig. Second with 41 points was Andy Hirst with a macro photograph of two red gobies on a red whip coral. The winner with 73 points was Wyn Roberts with a close-up of a clown fish in an anemone.

Each of the winners was presented with a bronze, silver or gold medal respectively. Wyn was presented with the Greenaway Marine Trophy for the best Open Print.


Third in the Humorous category 'On the Day' was Howard Bunyan with 10 points for a photograph of a model of 'Ariane 13'. Second in the Humorous category was Martin Parker with 17 points. His shot showed a photographer with a giant, condom-shaped lifting bag accompanied by the caption 'Whose a big buoy then'. The winner, with 30 points, was John Souness with a close-up photograph of a model clown fish in a snakelocks anemone. John was presented with a gold medal and the new AP Valves Trophy.

On the Day

Third in the 'On the Day' category with 24 points was Dave Peake with a double exposure of a nudibranch and a diver. Second was Peter Hewitt with 30 points for a macro photograph of a Tompot blenny. The winner was Linda Pitkin with 38 points for a close up of a male cuckoo wrasse.

Each of the winners was presented with a bronze, silver or gold medal respectively. Linda was presented with the BSoUP Trophy for the best photograph take on the day - an attractive wood carving of a wrasse.


The chairman closed the evening by thanking all those who had helped during the weekend.
In particular, he mentioned David Nardini and Les Kemp who had processed the films aided by Mark









Linda Pitkin

Male cuckoo wrasse



Peter Hewitt

Tompot blenny



Dave Peake

Nudibranch and diver









John Souness

'Clown fish' in snakelocks anemone



Martin Parker

'Whose a big buoy then'



Howard Bunyan

'Ariane 13'









Wyn Roberts

Angler fish



Dave Peake

Cuttle fish



Ian Taylor Seal








Wyn Roberts

Clown fish in anemone



Andy Hirst

Gobies on whip coral



Wyn Roberts

Angler fish


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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