I got into underwater photography because I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture the beauty I was seeing underwater in a photograph. I want my photos to be as beautiful as what I see. Mostly I fail miserably as the natural world I observe is much more beautiful than my captures. :-) So the challenge continues and I find this very stimulating, and rewarding on occasion when I get it right.
Recently though, I have seen a very distinct change, or growth, in my motivations for shooting underwater. Increasingly what I'm dipping into is documentation. This can vary:
- documenting an interesting/unusual/rare/new species or behaviour
- documenting a site of scientific/archaeological interest for scientists who aren't divers
- recording "before" in case there is an "after" - to show change over time to natural environments
I think if you tried to make money from this type of underwater photography you could probably quite literally die of starvation. However, I am finding it to be very rewarding in its own right. I feel like I'm contributing to something bigger, the advancement of knowledge. It's not glamorous but I think it's really cool.
In 2009 I took a photo of a pair of sundial snails spawning. I was excited about:
a) spotting them
b) getting a photo
c) finding someone who cared enough to identify them
A couple of days ago I received a request from a scientist who is studying these molluscs and apparently there are very few photos of their egg masses. Getting my geek on!
I'm still aspiring to take the "wow" magical photos but I'm also finding great pleasure in taking underwater photos that would struggle to get a like on facebook. It doesn't have to be popular to be interesting.
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