The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP)
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BSoUP's Splash-in Competition 2003

The Mount Batten Centre, Plymouth, Devon, Saturday 5th July

by Brian Pitkin

The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) founded in 1967, is dedicated to encouraging and developing underwater photography in all its aspects, from slides to cine and video. Its members vary from divers who have just started to take underwater photographs to eminent professionals who lead the world.

Every year since its formation BSoUP has organised an underwater photographic competition or 'Splash-in' at Plymouth, Devon, which has set a standard for similar events elsewhere in Britain and around the world. This year's event took place on Saturday 5th July at the The Mount Batten Centre. All underwater photographers were invited to participate either by entering prints taken prior to the event or slides taken on the day to compete for the seven trophies and sixteen personal awards.

Cuttlefish Basking shark Cuckoo wrasse

Alan James
1st British Prints

Basking shark
Alan James
2nd British Prints
Cuckoo wrasse
Alan James
3rd British Prints

More than 50 prints were submitted in advance in the British and Open categories and a total of 37 underwater photographers participated in the 'on the day' competition. For the first time ever, films were issued to participants the Friday evening so that all could make an early start on Saturday morning. This added to the excitement and filled the bar where registration took place.

Following breakfast on Saturday, where there was a second opportunity to register, particpants set off in small groups, either by car to shore dive from one of the many excellent sites around Plymouth or by boat, many of the later opting to head south to the Eddystone Lighthouse, some 12 miles offshore where the visibility promised to be better, or west to the wreck of the James Egan Layne or east to Hillsea Point Rock. Sea conditions were smooth to very slight and the weather warm, but overcast for much of the day.


Anemone fish

Horse mackerel

Bob Soames
2nd Overseas Prints
Anemone fish
Len Deeley
1st Overseas Prints
Horse mackerel
Ken Sullivan
3rd Overseas Prints

By tea-time, 35 exposed films were returned to for processing in one of the Centre's cabins, blacked out for the occasion. The prints were put on display in the Waterside Room for all to admire. A barbeque was held on the patio alongside the Waterside Room and 50 photographers and their friends sat down to eat and swap tales of their recent exploits and the one that got away. By nine, the films were dry and returned to their respective photographers to make a selection of their best two macro, wide-angle or fish photographs for projection. The assembled audience were then invited to vote for their favourite thee in each category. Once all votes had been counted the results were announced.


Sea hare


David Stephens
1st On the Day - Macro
Sea hare
Anthony Holley
2nd On the Day - Macro
Peter Tatton
3rd On the Day - Macro
Diver Wreck Diver

Dave Peake
1st On the Day - Wide-angle

Peter Ladell
3rd On the Day - Wide-angle

Dave Peake
2nd On the Day - Wide-angle

Alan James was a clear winner in the British Prints category taking first, second and third place with stunning images of cuttlefish, basking shark and cuckoo wrasse. Len Deeley won the Open Prints category with an exceptionally well-executed photograph of an anemone fish, beating Bob Soames' seasnake and Ken Sullivan's horse mackerel. The macro event was won by David Stevens with a group of anemones, beating Anthony Holley's second place seahare and Peter Tatton's third place anemones. Dave Peake took first and second place in the Wide-angle category with two very different but equally splendid shots of divers, beating Peter Ladell's study of the bow of the James Eagn Layne, who took thrid place. Peter Hewitt's Tom-pot blenny took first place in the Fish category beating Mike John's Ballan wrasse, which came second, and Tom Cowan's John Dory, which came third. Len Deeley took the most humourous shot on the day.

Tom pot blenny

Ballan wrasse

Tom pot blenny
Peter Hewitt
1st On the Day - Fish

Ballan wrasse
Mike Johns
2nd On the Day - Fish
John Dory
Tom Cowan
3rd On the Day - Macro
  Weapons of Mass Destruction  
  Weapons of Mass Destruction
Len Deeley
1st On the Day - Creative/Humour

Trophies were awarded to the winners and personal awards to the first, second and third in each category by the Society's President, Brian Pitkin. The Society is grateful to all those members and their guests who helped to make the event such a success. BSoUP extends its thanks to Alan James Photography, AP Valves, Greenaway Marine, Ocean Optics Ltd, and The Image Centre who each provided a trophy for the BSoUP's annual Splash-in competition.

Category/Position Points Photographer Subject
'On the Day'      
1st 33 David Stephens Anemones
2nd 30 Anthony Holley Sea Hare
3rd 27 Peter Tatton Anemones
1st 83 Dave Peake Diver
2nd 79 Dave Peake Wreck
3rd= 33 Peter Ladell Diver
1st 55 Bill Hewitt Tom Pot Blenny
2nd 42 Mike Johns Ballan wrasse
3rd 29 Tom Cowan John Dory
Creative / Humour      
1st 33 Len Deeley Weapons of mass destruction
Open Prints      
1st 37 Len Deeley Clown Fish
2nd 36 Bob soames Sea snake
3rd 31 Ken Sullivan Turtle in school of fish
British Prints      
1st 60 Alan James Cuttlefish
2nd 53 Alan James Baskin Shark
3rd 43 Alan James Cuckoo wrasse

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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