Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton couple celebrate underwater photography success

Gannets underwater by Matt Doggett Image copyright Matt Doggett
Image caption Matt Doggett won the British Underwater Photographer of the Year for his picture of diving gannets

A husband and wife from Southampton are celebrating a double success in an underwater photography competition.

Matt Doggett has been named British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2015 for his shot of feeding gannets in the waters around Shetland.

A shot of a puffin was a runner up in the British Waters Macro category. His wife, Polly Whyte, was also runner-up in the British Compact Camera category.

Mr Doggett said they were both "thrilled" at the awards.

Image copyright Matt doggett
Image caption 'Picaboo Puffin', taken in the north Atlantic, was a runner-up in the British Waters Macro category

Working with his wife and friend Richard Shucksmith, Mr Doggett used 100kg of mackerel each day to tempt the gannets to dive into the water to get the photographs they wanted.

"It wasn't easy - they were hitting the water at 50 or 60 mph. A lot of the first images we were getting were bits of bird - a wing here, a beak there.

"Eventually we were able to get the timing right as they hit the water," he explained.

Image copyright Matt Doggett
Image caption A polystyrene model of a puffin was used by the team to attract the usually shy seabirds

"We knew we had some strong images but never in a million years expected this result - it's brilliant.

"Hopefully our pictures will show people what wonderful life we have in the seas around the UK and encourage more people to support marine conservation zones that are currently out for public consultation."

The picture of a puffin, entitled Peekaboo Puffin, was taken in the north Atlantic.

Mr Doggett explained he used a polystyrene model of a puffin stuck to his head to attract the usually shy birds towards the camera.

Image copyright UPY/matt doggett
Image caption Matt Doggett and Polly Whyte worked together on underwater shoots

Polly Whyte took five out of the ten places in the British Compact Camera category.

More than 2,500 entries were received for the ten categories of the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2015 awards.

Mr Doggett was named British Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2012 for a different image of gannets taken in the north of Scotland.

Image copyright Polly whyte
Image caption Polly Whyte's picture of 'Hermit crabs hanging out' was taken with compact camera

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