Written by Jo Mattock Tuesday, 22 February 2011 11:05
Now in its sixth year, BUIF is the biggest competition of its kind in the UK. It comprises two sections – the video category is judged by BAFTA-winning cameraman Peter Scoones and the stills section is judged by DIVE regulars Alex Mustard and Charles Hood. Joining them on both judging panels were DIVE editor Simon Rogerson and Colin Does, founder of the British Society of Underwater Photographers. The awards were presented at a ceremony held at the Big Scuba Show in London’s Olympia, where 50 of the best photographs were on display. The winning DVDs were shown in a dedicated film theatre.
If previous years have seen marked trends popping up in the stills category, this year’s entries were notable for their variety. There were plenty of entries depicting scenes from Hanifaru, site of a newly-discovered manta ray aggregation in the Maldives, but for the most part the entries were of varied subject material – everything from toads to humpback whales.
In the Suunto Open Section, the judges were unanimous in their praise of Simon Brown’s intricately lit photograph of Royal Navy clearance divers staging a mock underwater fight. The photo is obviously a set-up [in fact, it was staged to make a Christmas card for the team], but the precision of its lighting and the subtlety of the composition create a dramatic image. Interestingly, Simon’s photograph was taken using remote flashes, currently a fashionable technique among underwater photographers, and used here to compelling effect.
There was a glut of excellent entries in the Apex British Section. The judges were torn between some quality work, but eventually gave first place to Keith Lyall’s atmospheric diver shot from the wreck of the James Eagan Layne in Whitsand Bay, Cornwall.
The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer category is for users of compact cameras, and was dominated this year by a hard-working British photographer, Dan Bolt. He took first place with a striking silhouette shot of a diver taken in a river, while his super sharp seal photo took second place in the same category.
The judges had tougher time going over the Fourth Element Portfolio section, which is open to many different interpretations and can generate entries that are hard to compare. In the end, Warren Baverstock’s manta rays from Hanifaru won everyone’s admiration and first place.
The DVD section was judged over a very intensive day at Peter Scoones’ home in north London. Peter commented that standards were higher than ever in the BSAC Amateur Category, which also had the most entries. Putting together a film single-handedly is a labour-intensive job, but the entries had been filmed and edited with care and creativity.
There was a close battle for first place, but Peter’s casting vote decided it in favour of Lisa Alison’s ‘Maldives’, an action-packed story about a cleaning station and the creatures that live around it. A special mention should go to Jo Horrocks, whose expertly-produced ‘Oceans of Blue’ was a very close second.
In the AP Valves British section – open to professional and non-professional alike – first place went to John McIntyre, a former BBC news reporter who now works on the other side of the camera making underwater films. His entry, ‘Basking Shark’, tells the story of the annual appearance of the filter-feeding sharks off the coast of Cornwall.
The Mares Professional category saw an esoteric selection of films, including a series of shorts by a previous BUIF favourite, Leandro Blanco of Spain. However first place this year went to Edward Snjiders documentary, ‘Zenobia’, which offers an extremely comprehensive and professionally produced overview of the famous shipwreck in Lanarca, Cyprus. With atmospheric underwater images, well-informed commentary and great interviews with local witnesses to the sinking, it is every inch a divers’ film.
•Thanks again to the sponsors and entrants for making BUIF the UK’s biggest underwater image competition. Special thanks to competition organiser Jane Morgan for making it all happen.
Winners in full
1ST SIMON BROWN (guns)
2ND WARREN BAVERSTOCK (whaleshark)
3RD TONY BASKEYFIELD (dolpins)
FOURTH ELEMENT PORTFOLIO
1ST WARREN BAVERSTOCK
2ND DENNIS VANDERMEERSCH
3RD TONY BASKEYFIELD
PADI DIGITAL UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER
1ST DAN BOLT (silhouette)
2ND DAN BOLT (seal)
3RD LEENA ROY (manatee)
1ST KEITH LYALL (James Eagan Layne)
2ND JOSS WOOLF (sleepy seal)
3RD CATHY LEWIS (crab)
1ST MALDIVES by Lisa Alison
2ND OCEANS OF BLUE by Jo Horrocks
3RD BLUE EDEN by Zsolt Sasdi
AP VALVES BRITISH
1ST BASKING SHARKS by John McIntyre
2ND AUTUMN SWIRL by Dave Peake
3RD DIVE THE WRECK – PENTRYCH by Bob Jaroc
1ST ZENOBIA by Edward Snjiders
2ND DEMONS/ PERFECT SHARK ATTACK/ THINK ABOUT IT by Leandro Blanco
3RD GALÁPAGOS by Josh Jenson