Sea life through a lens
Friday 15th July 2011
Spider crab and snakelocks anemone by Cathy Lewis
An underwater photography competition in which participants have one day to capture images off the Devon coast has announced its winners, with photographer Dan Bolt scooping the top prize
The annual British Underwater Photography Championships (BUPC) is organised by The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP). 2011 saw the formal involvement of The Wildlife Trusts with the introduction of their Living Seas category. Judging took place at the Mountbatten Centre, Plymouth, on Saturday 9 July.
Dan Bolt’s starfish through a fisheye lens was taken at low tide as dawn was breaking off Hope’s Nose, Torquay, and was overall winner of the competition. The Wildlife Trusts chose Cathy Lewis’ snakelocks anemone and spider crab as the winner of the Living Seas category*, with a painted goby by Jan Davies as runner-up.
Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts, sat on the judging panel. Joan said: “Cathy’s image, with its partnering of crab and anemone, perfectly captures the vibrancy and variety of our marine habitats. Looking out to sea on a dull grey day it’s perhaps hard to imagine these spectacular creatures existing just below the waves, and Cathy’s image brings it to life for us.
“Jan’s goby comes a close second – gobies are incredibly common off the southwest coast, and could perhaps be overlooked, but the vivid iridescence of the colours in this image shows they are no shrinking violets.
“We really hope that when people see these images they’ll feel proud of the wildlife the UK’s seas support, and in turn feel inspired to sign a scale in our Petition Fish campaign, which aims to gather public support for Marine Protected Areas.”
Martin Davies of BSoUP said: “Given the challenging conditions on the day – visibility was at about three metres following rough weather – we were taken aback by the quality of the entries. All the photographers rose to the challenge. There was a great deal of variety in the locations, from wrecked ribs to sea caves, and also a wealth of species including pipefish, seasquirts, cuttlefish, sea slugs and lobsters.
“The winner, Dan Bolt, showed great initiative with his split starfish image. He had thoroughly researched his time and location, choosing an area facing northeast to capture sunrise at low tide both above and below the water. It’s a stunning composition.”
To find out more about The Wildlife Trusts’ Petition Fish campaign and to sign a scale online visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/petitionfish.
For more information on BSoUP and its underwater photography competitions visit www.bsoup.org.