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#1 Paul Kay

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 03:18 AM

OK, this may sound like a silly question, but why do people take underwater photographs? I wonder because I'm interested in the motivation that people have for taking underwater images. Is it because you are fascinated by the marine life, or perhaps a marine scientist who wants to be able to record things better. Are you a wreckie who shoots to help identify the wreck or its features, or is it simply to be able to illustrate to non-divers what it is like where you dive? I'm sure that there are many reasons and wonder if this is the place to see if there are broad categories and what proportion of people fit into each?

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#2 Glasseye Snapper

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 04:36 AM

Hi Paul,

Not a silly question at all. Given how much money is involved there must be some good reasons and I expect they will be very different for many of us.

For me I just love fish, always have , always will. I find you enjoy things more if you know more about them, so when I started diving I picked up fish identification, sending my reports in to REEF. But because I typically make only one dive trip a year I'd like to have pictures to just enjoy and to use to keep my ID skills up to date. So 95+ percent of my images are fish. I don't think I have a single shipwreck shot and my largest fish is a barracuda. I would certainly take pictures of whales or sharks if I came upon them (and didn't have the 100mm macro mounted) but wouldn't make an effort to seek them out. They are not "my type".

I would like to make some splendid fish shots so that people on wetpixel go oooh and aaaah, but that is not my main motivation. I want to keep improving my image quality but I do take pictures of fish from the top or rear on purpose, because if you want to ID a fish in the wild you don't always get the perfect side-on view.

Finally, cameras, optics and the technical issues of photography underwater also have a certain charm.


Edited by Glasseye Snapper, 11 September 2006 - 04:36 AM.

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#3 loftus


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 05:19 AM

For me it's about doing my two favorite things together. Being immersed in that different world totally isolated from what's above; and then trying to create pleasing visual images (whether it's fish, wrecks or just recording light for light's sake) of that wonderful world.

And I forgot; I also love the 'digital darkroom' though it does not quite have the atmosphere of my old darkroom, where I was again isolated (or sometimes with a hot lady) and immersed in the creative process.
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#4 jarhed


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 07:16 AM

Interesting question, and could create a fun thread.

Being a scuba addict, I first wanted to share what it looks like wioth others who don't venture beyond the surface. Then I caught the photography bug. Now I am as much of a photography fanatic as a scuba addict, both above and below water.

Plus I love all the toys that go with th is great hobby!
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#5 John Bantin

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:17 AM

I find it interesting that there are so few female underwater photographers. Is it because men like shiny things with knobs and dials? My wife has a good eye for a photograph and therefore makesa great underwater model but when it comes to using a camera she cannot be asked to find out what all those numbers and dials do. I have tried to explain the difference between 1/15@f22 and 1/1000@f2.8 but she simply does not want to know. I can't even get her to check if the auto functions are switched on!
So men like a challenge. They like technical stuff. Women seem happy to spend hours with the healing tool. I guess we are all different.
Why do I do it? I'm trying to make a living for goodness sake!

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#6 DeanB


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:19 AM

No particular order..

Love the sea, wildlife, looks on viewers faces, travel, meeting new friends, helping with enviroment issues, buying(too much)new equipment, getting shots right, editing, winning awards..etc...

Well everthing to do wtih film-making I suppose :P

Dive safe

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#7 j_shine


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:36 AM

I just find diving more fun when I go down with a purpose.

#8 Elli and Ted

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:35 AM

I work in for a local newspaper as a photo editor, taking and editing photos all day, most of them are the usuall stand in a row and shake hands pics of the local "politicians" and others who believe they belong to the "culture world", then theres what they wear, mostly "black", then comes the weather, mostly "grey". Recently I started diving and began to take photos underwater, it makes me sooo happy to be down there. BTW some of the fish look like some of the poli`s and culti`s, I know but are much more coulorful, if I didnt have a reg in my mouth I would drown laughing. :P


#9 Giles


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:52 AM

I like it cause it look scool to be walking around with a big camera !

oh and i like diving and photography since I was very young.

And always nice to show people your photos and get a good response .. especially if it's chicks !

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#10 AndyBarker


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 10:21 AM

Good question Paul,

for me I just love the feeling of floating through the blue,

& I love the complete under water world. As for images

as long as I am happy with them I'm happy. I also get a

sense of pride when other people see my images & say

how good they are. So I do not beat myself up if my

images are not as good as other photographers.

In my world they are GREAT!!!!!!!!!!! :P :D ;)

Andy :) :wacko: :huh:

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#11 ralphy


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 12:56 PM

As Andy said above (Hi Andy!), it's a good question.

I've given this some thought, as I've been asked the question on a number of occasions & have struggled to come up with an immediate response. Which is kind of odd, given that I'm not usually tongue-tied!
After some deliberation, I came up with my answer: I do it for ME.

My business life was all about doing things for others - as is my family life. So I guess a part of me craved something that was totally for MY own enjoyment; not for anyone else.

As we all know, underwater photography is one heck of a challenge; monitoring your own safety, maintaining neutral buoyancy, working in a three dimensional environment, non co-operational subjects, lack of light, the list goes on and on. All of which makes it such a challenge, - so when a pic comes out right............. well, I get such a great sense of acheivement and satisfaction.

On the rare occasions I've gone for a dive without my camera it has felt weird; I've enjoyed the sensation of the freedom, appreciated the environment and marvelled at the wonderful world below the surface, yet it has always felt that something was 'missing' - and I always seem to see some great compositions too!

#12 tdpriest


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 01:20 PM

It's a long story: years ago I was interested in astronomy and photography, but I got so seriously sidetracked by biology that I ended up with a PhD in lobsters... and the diving bug. Like Alex Mustard, though earlier in my career, I found that an academic life gets more and more restricting as you move up the ladder, so I reinvented myself, but I'd also got the teaching bug. I wanted to show other people, and especially new divers, what all the scuba fuss was about. The pictures were dreadful, as unlike Paul my skills weren't good enough for the British diving I was doing. I have adopted the technical fix that seems to be so common in underwater photography: my equipment gets updated every time I get frustrated with its limitations. I suspect that most women are too sensible to get diverted into this kind of (mildly?) obsessive behaviour, and prefer to enjoy their dives: I don't know if it's a good dive until the images hit the screen!

I've also become very interested in the way that wrecks are altered by the sea, particularly the way in which warships are transformed and reclaimed by biology, the unnatural becoming natural.

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#13 SCubed



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Posted 11 September 2006 - 06:04 PM

I thought an underwater camera was just supposed to be part of your dive gear :lol:

#14 betti154


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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:44 PM

Because it is:

a) fun
b) challenging
c) rewarding to get a good shot after so much time, money and effort!

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#15 d.abdo



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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:07 PM

simplest questions are often the best!

I take pics underwater for a number of reasons. I do it becasue I enjoy it. I love capturing a beautiful scene or a weird and wonderful critter. I suppose there is also the allure of being able to sell an image. I like being able to show off my images to friends and family, and most importantly capture memories for when I cant dive anymore!
I like others also have the pleasure of using photography for my work. I am finishing off my PhD on sponges and use photography for my research.

So ther are personal and professional reasons for my need/want to take photos underwater.

Cheers Dave

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#16 Andi Voeltz

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 03:01 AM

I do it because I like to show my housing to people :lol:
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#17 MikeVeitch


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Posted 12 September 2006 - 04:07 AM

if i didn't shoot photo or video underwater i couldn't drink whisky or eat.... :lol: :lol:

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#18 underwatercolours


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Posted 12 September 2006 - 07:45 PM

That's a great question!

I take pictures underwater because I love to share what's down there with anyone who's interested.

I started taking pictures on the first dive trip I did to Cozumel right after my open water certification. My date/dive buddy brought a little orange Hanimax (sp?) camera that I wouldn't give back for the entire trip. Even before I shot the pictures I was so excited about the idea of sharing the beauty of what I was so lucky to see with all my friends and family. Twenty years later this has not changed a bit. I've never lost appreciation of the experience and I still love to share it.

#19 John Bantin

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 10:44 PM

Altruism. I'm having such a good time I am desperate to inspire ('koff) other people who have to work for Merill Lynch.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?


#20 KenByrne


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Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:54 AM

I started taking pictures underwater to share the experience with non diver friends.

Now I dive to take pictures.
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