Discovering a new world: underwater photography

Hello! I’ve been taking pictures for over 20 years but that has been mostly on the ground and in a few occasions over the ground, underwater photography has always fascinated me but for the real stuff there were 2 hurdles: I had never scuba dived and I had no proper photo equipment to do that with my full format camera.

In 2016 during a visit to the Galapagos Islands I had the opportunity to snorkel and try out my full format camera with a kind of multipurpose underwater case. That wasn’t the really good stuff, but still I leave you some shots of what I got. The location was of course great but the equipment wasn’t:

Sea lion (Zalophus californianus wollebaeki), San Cristobal island, Galapagos islands, Ecuador
Scarus ghobban, Las Bachas, Baltra island, Galapagos islands, Ecuador
Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis), San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

After confirming my presence in the adventure in Fidji, Vanuatu and Australia for summer 2020 with lots of diving opportunities there was no excuse anymore to go for real underwater photography.

Firstly I bought a case for my Canon 5DS that can be used to a depth of up to  60 m (200ft) and also ordered a second handle, a lens port extension for my 16-35 mm lens (for now), the dome port (8 inches) and a gear set to use the focus. All components from Ikelite, a well-known company with a good performance/price rate. Still an expensive hobby…

I booked a trip to Madeira, an island I always wanted to visit and photograph, where the submarine fauna was also interesting for what I could read online and the pictures I saw. I also booked some dives in advance in a diving school called Madeira Divepoint, which came out to be a great spot with a fantastic team. Wilfried, Miguel and the whole staff are great professionals that also made sure that I had a lot of fun.

It took me 45 years to get a scuba gear and dive into the water. It was exciting and fun, but also challenging and demanding.  Buoyancy control is something you definitely have to learn and requires some experience. The fauna around Madeira is very diverse, you can find pretty much everything there. After the first 4 dives, and although I still was in the middle of my learning curve, I asked (carefully) whether I could take my camera and Miguel, my instructor, gave me green light, so I had the opportunity to take shots underwater in the following 4 dives including the last one in a corvette Alfonso Cerqueira.

I did my best but to be honest, I was at least as busy with myself than I was with the camera and the motifs, that was very obvious when diving in the rooms of the corvette. I was really happy to finally have tried it out and the fact that I will do some more diving in Spain (north coast) this summer is the proof that I had a lot of fun. In fact, rediscovering photography 20 years later is really amazing and stimulating.

I leave you some shots, hope you like it and please, be mercy, it’s just the beginning of a long learning curve 🙂

…your Diego.


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