Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Splash In 2010 - photos now online

Scuba divers travelled from all over the UK to take part in the ‘Splash In’, an underwater photography competition held on the August bank holiday weekend. Organised by the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, this annual event is in its 23rd year, and is a favourite date on the underwater photographer’s calendar.

31 competitors gathered at the Marine Reserve on Saturday 28th August, hoping that the forecast inclement weather would hold off long enough for them to capture what they hoped would be a prize winning image. The competition has three categories: Marine Life Portrait (close up images of the Reserve’s amazing marine life); Reserve Atmospheric (wide angle shots showing the stunning underwater landscape); and Most Humorous Shot (where the photographers use their imagination in an attempt to raise a smile). 80 images were ultimately submitted in the competition by the photographers. They were projected at the Old School, St Abbs, on the Sunday evening for the audience to vote on their favourite shots in each of the three categories.

Underwater visibility was excellent, allowing the competitors to capture some fantastic images. In the Marine Life Portrait category, Sarah Forbes’ nudibranch won the best beginner prize; Steve Bateman’s colourful Ballan wrasse won third prize; Clair Jubb’s close up of a shanny second prize; and Kam Arya’s striking image of a coalfish next to a lion’s mane jellyfish in mid-water won first prize. Clair Jubb’s shanny (pictured) was so well liked by the audience that it also won the prize for the best image in the whole competition.

The winners of the Reserve Atmospheric category were a mixture of the new and the old, with Alex Blythe taking the best beginner prize with his shot of underwater photographers next to a reef. The top three prizes were taken by folk who have been regulars in the competition for a good number of years. Mike Clarke won third prize for his atmospheric image of a diver next to a lion’s mane jellyfish; Paul Bury took second with his stunning image of a ballan wrasse at the famous ‘Cathedral Rock’ dive site, a site which can be reached by a 50m swim from St Abbs harbour wall; and Derek Clarke took first prize for his shot of a diver inspecting some colourful soft corals on a reef.

The Most humorous Shot category had a good number of entrants this year, and it was a close fought competition, with plenty of laughs. Third prize was taken by Paul Slater’s “Outgassing”; second prize went to Alex Tattersall’s plumose anemones entitled “Oooh Matron” in homage to the ‘Carry On’ films; with first prize being won by Colin Samuel who went all out with his “St Abbs – a place with real bite!” photo.

Apart from the prestige of taking a winning image, there was over £3000 worth of prizes to fight for; anything from a bottle of wine to a dive computer. All prizes were generously donated by local, national & international businesses and were presented by Rhona Goldie (the most humorous shot category being in memory of her husband) and Lawson Wood, Chairman of the Marine Reserve Committee.

The winning images are now available to view on the Marine Reserve website and all the images entered into the competition are available to view on the St Abbs and Eyemouth VMR Facebook page. So, that's it for another year! Next year's competition will be held on 27th and 28th August 2011.

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