The fourth annual Splash-in underwater photography competition run by the Torbay branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club, postponed by coronavirus from July, took place in challenging weather conditions in West Country waters on 19 September.
The scuba divers were competing in four categories: Beginner, Compact Camera, Wide-Angle and Close-Up/Macro. Category judge Peter Rowlands, working remotely to maintain social distancing, described the sea conditions as “the essence, and also the attraction, of a Splash-in.
“You’re all, so to speak, in the same boat,” he said. “With good weather it’s easier, but when the conditions and visibility are significantly restricted it becomes a test of your photographic mettle.” At the end of the day 49 photos were submitted by 12 of the 19 registered competitors.
The entries were shown that evening at a dinner and presentation at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club “observing the Rule of Six”, and those present established a Popular Vote overall winner, with a watch prize from manufacturer Christopher Ward. Drysuit manufacturer O’Three sponsored the Beginner category.
The Popular Vote was for this shot of a ringneck blenny (Parablennius pilicornis) taken by Simon Temple.
“I decided to dive Easter Kings reef in Plymouth,” he explained. “Big spring tides over the competition weekend meant that I had to dive at high water and, even then, there was little or no slack water. Visibility was not ideal – 2-3m at best and lots of sediment in the water.”