You will be amazed when you can see yourself underwater, post-dive.
It might be on a video clip or on a photo that your buddy has taken. Underwater photography holds memories of a scuba diving holiday or live-aboard experience that are precious to you. The experience of a life time, through underwater photography can be shared with family and friends on social media.
Our presence underwater.
However, as we venture into the underwater world, our presence will have a huge effect on the underwater creatures. It effects creatures of all sizes as they go about their daily lifes. When we prevent animals from reaching a safe hide out, we cause the animal stress. If we disturb its feeding habits, we cause the animal stress. The interruption of a burial process in the sand, will cause high stress levels to those creatures. Underwater creatures must not waste valuable energy reserves through stress factors. They try efficiently to conserve it for defense, flight or food gain.
Study and learn about the species.
All underwater photographers need to develop exceptional diving skills to prevent damage to the environment. They need to learn and understand how marine life behaves. If you study the species, you will be in the ‘right place at the right time’. Exceptionally good diving skills are an essential part of being a good photographer. Let’s say “if you cannot capture an image without causing damage or dislodging things” then that image/video should NOT be taken. Our reefs and ecosystem are so fragile already, without divers. There is no image or video worth taking that causes damage to the underwater environment.
Underwater photography offers a fantastic insight to those who are not lucky enough to see it for themselves. People who engage in bad practice show flawed judgement. Damage caused, just to gather that “super image” is unacceptable at all times. If they say their actions are “not as bad as others” this does not justify their own actions and should not be tolerated.
Do not handle marine species.
Similarly, in some areas where dive guides pick up and handle marine life eg: seahorses, octopus and crabs to offer potential photogenic situations. This type of behaviour should be immediately stopped by a shake of the head and a ‘wave off’ with the hand. On the surface, you should explain that this is not the way and to misinterpret a scene that has been manipulated is morally questionable.
If an animal seeks interaction with you as a diver, for example dolphins or grey seals, they do this by choice, not by force. Very occasionally, an octopus will come out and investigate a camera lens, if so, stay still and wait for your opportunity to take some amazing shots…….if you are lucky enough!!
Take care of the environment.
Be sensitive to the environment and to the aquatic life. Do not interact with marine life that searches for a hide out to get away from you. Take images that are original, in an honest way without the subject being distrubed or stressed. Take care of what is around you and remember “any image that looks questionable”, you should be prepared to question how it was captured. Keep an open mind when you read or listen to the explanation of the photographer.
Check out this great guide to beginners photography here; https://hobbyhelp.com/photography/
Finding Your Inner Photographer: Making the Most of Your Camera