PHOTOGRAPHERS made a splash in Portland this month as part of this year’s British Underwater Photography Championship.

The annual competition was held on the island for the first time, with 24 photographers taking part.

The first ever underwater photograph was taken in nearby Weymouth Bay by William Thompson in 1856.

He lowered a housed plate camera to the seabed and oper-ated the shutter from a boat.

Competitors dived from Scimitar Diving boats in Portland Harbour, while some were stationed as far as Swanage Pier to capture a winning shot.

Each had from midnight Friday until 6pm on Saturday and had three main categories to enter: Marine Life, Mankind in the Sea and Compact Cameras.

Entries were submitted following a barbecue at the Harbour Lights.

Dorset Echo:

A panel of judges featuring underwater photographers Dan Bolt, Gavin Parsons and Stuart Philpott, selected the winners and runner-ups in each category.

The competition also featured a Humorous category, with the winner judged by the audience.

Cathy Lewis was declared the overall winner on the day for her photo of a snakelocks anemone shrimp. She took the photo on her second dive of the day.

Cathy was also the winner of the Marine Life category with the same image. She was presented with the UnderWater Visions Trophy and a diving holiday in the Maldives among other prizes.

Terry Griffiths won the Mankind in the Sea category with an image of a diver. His entry was considered to be an ‘excellent example’, showing a diver with all his hoses neatly secured and rays of light in the background.

The Compact Cameras category was introduced for divers without expensive cameras.

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Colin Whyte’s image of a black-faced blenny won the category, and was taken using a Canon PowerShot G9.

The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) was formed in 1967.

It has over 250 members and is the largest underwater photographic society in Britain.

Joss Woolf, pictured inset, chair of the BSoUP Committee, said those who took part liked what they managed to produce.

She said: “We loved the new venue.

“We thought it was time for a change. We just need more people.”

Force six winds on the day meant most divers were confined to Portland Harbour, but this didn’t stop those competing.

Joss added: “Someone can always pull something out of the bag. If people want to compete next year, check out our website”