Reflections on the underwater world, photography and diving I: Why our point of view is back to basics.
These little reflections highlight our approach to diving, underwater photography and videography and how we are linked to the underwater world. They are based on our philosophy, reflect our point of view and share our experiences as dive guides and instructors.
On the hunt for a „perfect“ shot or a special creature, we are often forgetting about the rest of the world around us. Therefore back to basics: Enjoy and respect.
Underwater world: Wildlife is better on the reef
Diving offers such a unique opportunity to connect to nature and capture wildlife. Nowhere else do we actually get to see – and photograph – as many different species as on tropical reefs – and that’s not taking limitations of dive time into account. Rainforest, as the tropical counterpart and biodiversity hotspot on land, however lush and diverse hopefully still in certain areas, lack direct contact in the fauna department.
At least in our experience, you get tortured by all sort of insects and teased by the sounds of animals you’ll never get to see or photograph. Tropical reefs on the other hand, whenever treated with care and respect, allow us to experience all sorts of different species and their daily routines. The reefs of Wakatobi are a good example (Take a minute: Coral reefs of Wakatobi).
Diving: Free your mind
Sometimes all you get to hear from divers are lists of extremely small, extremely rare, or extremely big creatures that they want to see and most of the time also photograph or film. In general, there is nothing wrong with wanting to see certain creatures in your dive life, but don’t let it take over the whole experience.
Especially with photographers/videographers, these wish lists turn into such an obsession, that the narrow-mindedness literally narrows their vision – nothing else registers anymore. Why would you do that to yourself? Come up after a 70-minutes dive with full-on reef life activity presented to you with a healthy and diverse coral reef background and claim, there was nothing to see!
Devocean Pictures: Knowledge is power
To counter mindless consumption of nature – preferably on-demand – and to interest and inform non-divers about what is out there, we want to build a very important part of our guiding philosophy into our website. Briefings or postings: Key is to introduce certain creatures and their behaviour combined with other interesting facts. The usual suspects on the reef often lead a life less ordinary.
With a little bit of extra knowledge, it is also much easier to remember and recognise the marine animal in question during a dive. Big bonus: The better you know your subject, the more likely you can get the shot you want. For us, it is not all about the guests or our own shots. In fact, we want to create understanding, to turn knowledge into power and pass our passion onto as many people, divers, photographers and beyond as possible.
Underwater: Enjoy the ride
Our advice, to ourselves as well as to others: Don’t get too stressed about the results. Enjoy yourselves and be present in that very moment, at least for a little while, before you are off with the pygmy seahorses. The underwater world is magical, but it’s nature and there are no guaranteed encounters and quite often the subject simply isn’t in the right position for the perfect shot or even any good composition at all. Appreciate their presence, wave goodbye and continue: Eyes wide open and go with the flow. Even on a „bad“ dive, there is always something to focus on.
Photography: Be yourself and find your own style
Actually, it doesn’t matter what you do, just be true to yourself and respect others as well as nature in general and your photo/video subjects in particular. Same goes for underwater photography (My long way to underwater photography): What motivates you to take a certain shot? Which particular part do you enjoy? What is the story behind the scenes?
Not only do we feel happier, more at ease if we don’t have to try to be somebody else. Of course, we can – and should – learn from each other. But that doesn’t mean to go out and try to please somebody else or follow a particular trend that is popular. Express yourself! We see underwater photography and videography as an endless ocean – so to speak – where our creativity can swim frenetically and freely (Yoeri’s interpretation and Nicki’s „Photo series: Waves of energy“).
Devocean Pictures: Our approach
We try to do the same, in and outside of the water. Devocean Pictures is a journey that will never end. The website is reflecting our vision and will keep on growing, improving, connecting, changing, reaching out, reflecting and featuring different ideas, projects and people. Far from perfect, but very personal, honest, interested and passionate in diving as well as photography, videography and the (underwater) world beyond.