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Paul Kay

Motivation

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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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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.

 

Bart

Edited by Glasseye Snapper

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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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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!

John

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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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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

 

DeanB

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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

 

Cheers

Ted

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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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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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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!

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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.

 

 

post-4522-1158009255_thumb.jpg post-4522-1158009337_thumb.jpg

 

 

Tim

 

B)

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

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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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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

 

West Oz

Australia

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

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

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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.

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

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

 

Now I dive to take pictures.

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I love to share the exatraordinary diverstity that non-divers miss.

 

I love the challenge of shooting in conditions that would make most topside photogpraphers cringe.

 

I love the amazing creatures that we share our time with underwater.

 

I love the reactions I get from showing people the things I see.

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Ah... I never even wanted to take photo's, then a very good friend went a gave a little camera as a pressie.

 

I have to say... I do love it, being able to create my own galleries of things I've seen underwater is amazing, for me it is now like a log of what animals can be seen, well I should say what animals can be photographed with a very limiting camera in Indonesia and beyond. I find it great to log animals seen by destination. I also love the scientific side of having a camera along with me on dives, now I am able to log unusual animals, even at times new species of animals as well. If I am unsure, nw I know what to do, take a photo, pop on Wetpixel and let Worm Girl (Leslie) do the rest, she usually knows what it is, or at least knows someone who should know what it is.

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Its funny that I'm reading this thread tonight. I'vejust changed over from film to digital in the last few weeks. And after diving for 20 years (geez...I think I just broke my hip leaning over to fart), it was interesing to look over my original prints and slides from back then. Amazing at it seemed, I could recall most of those dive from reliving it through the pictures...pretty cool!

 

And I'll be the first to say it...its a great ego booster! Coming back from a trip with the 1% top drawer images, just makes me feel so damn good.

 

And here is a true "Warm Fuzzy" story -

One of the resons I created my web site (H2opictures), was to have a wide ranging outlet for sharing my images. Over the years, I've recieved e-mail's asking for assistance or usage of a image. This one time, you could tell it was a kid who wrote the e-mail. Pretty simple request, he wanted to use some pictures for a report he was doing. As I always do, I fully supported him and made sure he got whatever he needed. Nothing special, just being a good mentor and helping someone who asked for it. Well, I really didn't give it much thought at the time...and a few weeks past. Another e-mail showed up. This time, it was the mother writting me. She went on to explain how happy her son was, and how proud of his report he was. Then the kicker...she then when on to explain that her son was a challenged individual...with a terminal illness. And all she could say was "thank you" over and over again. And how nice it was to have someone, who didn't know her son at all, extend themselves to help. Remember, I didn't think I really did anything special at the time.

 

The whole episode just kinda overwhelmed me.....that's why I do this...that one kid.

Edited by h2opictures

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Some interesting comments, and the last posting was touching. I was a photographer, albeit photo teacher, long before I dove. I had stopped enjoying it, as I taught it all day to teenagers :blush: I took up diving, and saw the possibility of a new challenge, and that rekindled my love of capturing the beauty of the natural world. No longer do I enter photo contests, the magazine and stock business is, well, poor, and that's an understatement, so I'm now back just enjoying the reason I started to begin with: the challenge of discovering new things and the way to capture the familiar in new and exciting ways.

By the way, John B. mentioned that there are so few females...there are tons of females joining the digicam revolution. My recent trip to Roatan showed me just how many there are now armed and sometimes dangerous (gosh, new cameras should come with U/W etiquette rules) new photographers there are. However, in the really serious amateur category, many females that were once pretty into it ran when the talk became more about megapixels than the subject matter and composition. They are now coming back after backing away from u/w photography (I speak about UW Photo Club members that I know). As far as the pro end, well, it's tough for everyone, particularly for the past few years, and it is a male dominated sport, although it seems many art directors are women...with male bosses. Women tend to photograph from a different perspective than the formula that is often used in publishing. However, there are some amazing female photographers out there; perhaps they're just not online so much...

Cheers,

Marli

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