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Cal

Why do we do what we do?

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Hey UW photographers,

 

I've pondering this question for a while now. Why do strive to get better and better Underwater photos? Is it to impress our friends/family? Is it in that noble pursuit of raising awarenress? Is it the technical side of it which makes you want to know/learn more? Is it the prizes in comps? Is it for peer respect? Is it to emulate your idols?

 

I was staring at my d80 rig the other day wondering why I pumped so much money into this hobby....... I mean we really do get nothing tangible out of it yet back I go into the ocean every weekend to shoot.

 

For me , I think I do it to try and get images like some of my favourite photographers. When ever I feel like the passion is dropping, I pick up DD's "light , time and water" and instantly I'm hooked again. I guess I want to one day produce images like his that make peoples jaws drop. Images like his B&W -

 

http://www.daviddoubilet.com/portfolio/default.asp?catid=1

 

On that note, when/if you do feel the passion for shooting dropping, what reinvigorates it?

 

I'm curious as to why everyone else shoots?

 

There are so many possible reasons but if you had to choose one or two, what would it be?

 

Looking foward to the answers!

 

Cheers,

 

Cal

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Hi

 

I guess I shoot to document my dives. I was useless at fish recognition when I started diving, and had no structured way of describing what I saw. "Hey, did you see that cool silver fish, no... not the one with the blue tail, the other one" So I bought my first P+S film camera to snap what I saw then look them up later.

 

I still have the dive and snap mentality, but now demand a higher level of quality from the result. I think most people strive to be good at what they like to do. It's not my career, I don't want to be the best, just produce photos of things I have seen that I can be proud to show my friends.

 

Cheers

 

Hal

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Mine started as a passion to show my non-diver friends the beauty of what I'm seeing down below. Now its become an obsession. The law of intermittent reward is fully invoked here as most of mine are trash. Usually one or two photos per dive everything comes together and POW you have that very nice shot. The thrill of nailing the shot ...or the fear of a just miss...drives you back to the hotel and your laptop to find out the truth. Like a kid unwrapping a long sought after gift you download and open the photo. Suddenly before your eyes is not only a pic you can show friends...its a pic you can share with the world on sites like this and get a few pats on the back as well. The satisfaction of a job well done sinks in almost as fast as a corona at the bar. Yeap...I can still taste the lime.

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" The thrill of nailing the shot ...or the fear of a just miss...drives you back to the hotel and your laptop to find out the truth. Like a kid unwrapping a long sought after gift you download and open the photo. Suddenly before your eyes is not only a pic you can show friends...its a pic you can share with the world on sites like this and get a few pats on the back as well. The satisfaction of a job well done sinks in almost as fast as a corona at the bar. Yeap...I can still taste the lime."

 

Sensational response.

 

Thats so incredibly true.

 

I quite often get home at 1am or so from a night dive, ill have work at 8am yet ill stay up to download and check the photos........ :-)

 

Cal

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Just returned from an Aqua Cat cruise in the Bahamas where I had a very frustrating transition from point and shoot to DSLR. The first two dives I could not get the camera to turn on (perhaps camera was not seated perfectly), the next dive I used it on was a night dive, and I kept getting bright splotches like my camera had fogged (turned out I was simply not focusing on anything with my 60mm lens), but I got 2 shots of a turtle that managed to focus and, W O W, was I impressed. Basically, after three dives, I managed to take a picture. I felt like such a goof, but the picture was really quite awesome.

 

And after all of the grief, I managed to get the camera to take some nice pictures on the shark dives. I'm going to go through the photos over the next couple of weeks and will eventually post my finer shots. I was also able to hand the camera off to my dive buddy (whose camera I flooded on dive 1), and she took some very nice shots as well.

 

I do it because I want people to see what I see. And because I want people to see me swim with the sharks. And, because I want to have great pictures to put on my wall.

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I think we all shoot because we're masochists at heart.

 

We encourage others to try it so that they share in our misery of empty bank accounts, anxiety over equipment maintenance/failure/obsolescence, and frustration over missed shots/missed airline connections/missed sleep.

 

Seriously, for me it was the fact that I had shot topside for years, so there was never any question that when I learned to dive, I would marry the two hobbies. I bought my first used Nikons III before finishing SCUBA lessons, and convinced my instructor to let me take it down on my certification dives. Working with student divers is the only time I don't have a camera with me to this day.

 

The desire to capture and share with others what we divers see underwater is the driving motivation, and the satisfaction of nailing a shot and preserving a part of nature is a very sweet reward for all of effort.

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Maybe I can answer this since i am buying my first DSLR underwater equipment. Nobody of my friends understand this and usual saying is, does somebody want´s to see these pictures. They look into my eyes to see if i have completely gone mad when i tell them the cost. For me the cost doesn´t matter since I must do this. I am not sure why but it has something to do with this:

 

Do something special before I die.

 

Hope for very special photo which can make it to the wall or the papers.

 

And the fun of learning.

 

Cheers

 

Gassa

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Just returned from an Aqua Cat cruise in the Bahamas where I had a very frustrating transition from point and shoot to DSLR. The first two dives I could not get the camera to turn on (perhaps camera was not seated perfectly), the next dive I used it on was a night dive, and I kept getting bright splotches like my camera had fogged (turned out I was simply not focusing on anything with my 60mm lens), but I got 2 shots of a turtle that managed to focus and, W O W, was I impressed. Basically, after three dives, I managed to take a picture. I felt like such a goof, but the picture was really quite awesome.

 

And after all of the grief, I managed to get the camera to take some nice pictures on the shark dives. I'm going to go through the photos over the next couple of weeks and will eventually post my finer shots. I was also able to hand the camera off to my dive buddy (whose camera I flooded on dive 1), and she took some very nice shots as well.

 

I do it because I want people to see what I see. And because I want people to see me swim with the sharks. And, because I want to have great pictures to put on my wall.

The only thing more frustrating than switching from P&S to DSLR is getting your 5 year old to eat anything green. Hang in there. You will get better and better quickly and look back with wonder to the days when you could time your P&S shutter lag and get the picture.

I shoot because I love to capture moments. I dive because i love the silence and the submerged land. I merged my two loves and have never thought about the price of either. It's the excess baggage charges which kill me.

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Great question Cal, I ask myself all the time why do I do this? I recently picked up a copy of "The Art of Underwater Photography" by Andera & Antonella Ferrari. A beautiful book of over three hundred images, some by folks you know very well. In the foreword they answer the question "Why in the world are we doing this?" It's a great read and hooked me for the rest of the book. They very aptly describe the different stages an underwater photographer goes through in learning and growing in this "slightly demented branch of a more general breed of weirdoes – i.e. scuba divers"

 

You owe it to yourselves to get a copy. They answer your question this way and I'm quoting from the preface, page 1.

 

"This means realizing that we divers are all explorers, that every dive – regardless of our level of experience – is another step in a new direction and that we all have the chance of seeing and maybe photographing something mysterious and even unknown. Despite the funny stares we get on dry land, we are in fact spearheading the exploration of a new world, so incredibly complex, so little documented and yet so dangerously threatened by uncontrolled human activity. We dive in awe, every time, everywhere and at any depth and we – as explorers, as pioneers, and yes indeed as photographers – have the moral duty to bring back tangible, visible records of what we have experienced, to be shared with the world….. Knowledge brings respect, and respect, in turn gives rise to understanding and ultimately love. And love is what the ocean needs today from all of us – for without love there can be no preservation. So how's that for motivation, eh?"

 

That's part of the Ferrai's answer to your question. I don't want to confuse anyone. I didn't write that, but I wish I had. I would have just said, like most of us I'll bet, "Because I love it"

 

 

Here is the link to Dr. Mustard's review of the book in case you missed it in April.

 

Dive safe,

Steve

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I decided to do uw photo shortly after I started diving bcos I wanted to do more than following the dive guide on a group tour. I like to spend my time observing the uw citizens. I love the independence of doing my own thing. Of course, I get satisfaction from sharing my pics with fellow divers and non diving friends but ultimately it's my passion in photograpy that matters.

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What an interesting post. Here is my $0.02

 

I have been taking photos for about 40 years (starting as a teenager), and have only been diving for about three and a half years. I started taking pictures within a couple of months after having started diving, first with a P&S, graduating to a DSLR about 18 months ago. Most of the photography I had done when I was younger was nature photography, things like mountain meadows, canyons, redwood forests, impressive landscapes, etc. I suppose that I was equally fanatic about that type of photography when I used to do it. For myself, I see the underwater photography bug as a direct extension of that. When I used to do above-water nature photography, I got a thrill from taking pictures. Specifically, each picture you took was a means of "framing" a scene that made an impression on you and captured your imagination. Some of the settings could be almost spiritual in their impact. For an extreme case of a spectacular setting and an incredible photographer, consider the example of Ansel Adams and his pictures of Yosemite Valley. While very few of us work in the same universe as that, I think that many photographers get intense satisfaction of a photo which captures the feeling we are aiming for. Even the term "capture" is pretty revealing IMO. I think that all of the factors for nature photography also apply to underwater photography. If anything, many aspects and feelings that I referred to are amplified. That is because the underwater world really is another world, so it is possible to work with a "blanker slate," at least for me. Also, it is more challenging (i.e., mountain meadows rarely swam away from me). A lot of what I just stated is a variation on the quote that Steve posted, I guess.

 

I suppose that there are many different reasons that people derive satisfaction from doing underwater photography, but in a nutshell, having those pictures is a way of capturing the unique experiences of a great environment. (Plus, I get to look at pretty pictures when I am done.)

Edited by edpdiver

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GREAT TOPIC - good on ya!

 

I actually never wanted to use a camera underwater as I thought it would be too intrusive when with clients. However my best friend bought me a tiny pocket sized Sony T1. this doesn't get in the way when I'm guiding and my clients are always priority... having said that I only shoot as a marketing tool on my website and to be able to show friends and family some of the highlights for my travels...

 

My personal images are simply what I call "Moments In Time", this is my personal gallery name. Some of the images may not be brilliant though each one holds a fantastic story behind it. I remember every single photograph on my website and can probably tell you a story about each image on there.

 

I also shoot as documentation of what I see on trips, especially things I haven't seen before. So far I've photographed a few totally unknown fish species, many unknown opistobranch species, a new species of mantis shrimp and continue in my search for new, exciting and unknown! Oh yeah, and an amazing cool species of nudibranch Ceratosoma alleni, previously only known from a small area in the Philippines. Now that to me cool and exciting and why I love it so much....

 

I still do not want to upgrade, even after just having my hands on a D300 with a cool 18-200 lens. I'm just playing with my friends camera topside here in Frisco! This city is the best city I've been to, generally I can't stand cities, though Frisco has a cool vibe, great changing light and tons of talented and interesting people too!

Edited by Graham Abbott

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First, follow this link :huh:

 

 

I've always seen UW Photography in that light. A ludicrous challenge, requiring many things to go right together. It is an exercise of skills, patience, memory and art. Everything has to happen right, very fast when necessary. This gives that whole endeavor a frisson of excitement. And when it comes together, WHAT A FINISH

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First, follow this link :huh:

 

Yeehhaaa! Another Sesame Street fan. I haven't watched this for many years, maybe I'll go buy a load of DVD's while I can!

 

Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

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take two...

 

for me a picture tells a thousands words....and this is why I try to do what all of you do so beautifully....

(thats me on the left)

post-18600-1217496307.jpg

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Hey,

 

Theres some great food for thought in this thread.

 

The exploration side of underwater photography is paramount to why I dive. I'm fortunate enough to dive in an area where barely anyone has every photographed its critters - Melbourne, Australia. There are deep water reefs in Melbourne that are simply too dangerous for cameras (4-7 knot currents) but I strap my camera on and roll over board to bring that incredible world back to the public. I hope that one day I'll get people looking at my pics and putting Melbourne down as a destination that they'd like to dive.................

 

2ndly, as a young guy; its great for picking up chicks ^_^

 

Cheers,

 

Cal :)

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I find I want to share the experience, as best I can, with my friends/family that do not dive. They are amazed at how close you get to fish, sharks, etc. since all the animals they ever seen scurry away.

 

As for getting you $0.02 in, remember the words of Steven Wright....

You get your 2 cents in while others offer a penny for your thoughts...

Somewhere, someone is making a penny.

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I started UW photography about 12 years ago, I had been doing technical diving (cave / Trimix / rebreather) for quite some time, but over the years too many of my friends had "bad days", and I had a near miss myself. Loosing a close friend to a tech. dive accident really brought the point home. Once I got married, I felt the risk/benfit ratio was too high, so I decided to give up my technical diving pursuits, and stick with recreational open water diving. After technical diving for so long, I felt somewhat bored with the recreational diving I was doing, so I gave UW photography a try. I was hooked after that. I can still get my "gadget fix", without feeling like I am selfish for taking undo risks for my recreational activities. UW photography continues to present me new challenges, and keeps diving fresh for me. It gets me to continually look at the subsurface environment in new ways.

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I decided to do uw photo shortly after I started diving bcos I wanted to do more than following the dive guide on a group tour.

 

Same here.

 

I was getting increasingly frustrated at not being able to slow down and study the marine life as I followed the dive leader around the dive site - and I noticed that photographers were given more leeway to stop and observe! So that's why I got hold of a s/h camera - and instantly felt 'at home' with it in my hands.

 

Fast forward a few years to now: I don't show my images to anyone without a lot of cajoling, my website has actual dust on it, I'm not interested in competitions, yet I love to dive with my camera and just thoroughly enjoy all aspects of u/water photography. My work is nothing special, I hardly ever take a picture above water and so many of the threads on Wetpixel are over my head :drink: but there is nothing I'd rather be doing more than taking pics underwater!!!!

 

I shoot because I love to capture moments. I dive because i love the silence and the submerged land. I merged my two loves and have never thought about the price of either. It's the excess baggage charges which kill me.
That's a great perspective!

 

R

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