Underwater Photography Corner Article #1
The following article is the first ever from our new "Underwater Photography Corner". The content of all these articles has been assembled by our in - house photography and videography team, made of Takuya Miyazawa & Nicolas Lurot. This first article is being released to coincide with Project AWARE's "Month against debris - September 2013"
Underwater photography, though the most popular type of scuba diving amongst divers of all levels, without the appropriate environmental respect, adequate training and spacial awareness, can be a serious health hazard to any coral reefs. The sight of photographers kicking/ breaking coral, not using proper buoyancy control and harassing their subjects has became more and more common. The following is merely a helpful suggestion from two seasoned underwater photographers on best dive practises for underwater photographers.
Please try to be polite underwater, respect marine life while diving and set a good example for others. These underwater etiquette guidelines are not listed in any particular order.
- Don’t grab on to coral.
- Don’t damage the reef just to get a shot.
- Be extremely careful not to damage the sea fans when shooting around them (e.g. pygmy sea horses).
- If you are getting too close to the coral, gently push away with one finger or a Lembeh Stick, on the area with the least amount of growth: preferably a dead zone.
- Don’t silt up an area before or after taking a photograph. Often I see photographs "flutter kicking away" after taking a shot picture, ruining the shot for others. They usually don't realise they are doing so. Learn how to frog kick and do it slowly.
- When waiting for another photographer, give him some distance. Make sure you wait down current, so silt is not carried to the photo subject. Photographers will often change position while taking a shot, sometimes stretching their legs back. This is why you should/have to stay back further than you would think. If there’s many photographers among you, take turns photographing the subject. Discuss hand signals with your buddy ahead of time if you want to "work" a subject for a while and make sure you let the other person get some shots first.
- When diving with others you should always discuss dive etiquette rules ahead of time. Agree on how long each photographer will spend with a subject. Everyones time is valuable.
- Regarding buoyancy, I believe that most people don't realise when they have a bad buoyancy or a the tendency to silt up the area. If you see other divers doing so, think of a way to politely mention it to them and ask your buddy to tell you if he would see you doing the same thing.
- Always show your friends interesting subjects that you find. They will really appreciate it.
This image clearly shows a responsible underwater photography behaviour.