10 years taking photos underwater

It’s been 10 years (last month) since I starting diving (and taking underwater photos). 10 YEARS! Wow, that flew by. And I still use the same fins I started with. I’ll ruminate on a top ten photos in the coming weeks but here I wanted to look back and reflect on my time and photos with you.

Camera History
I knew I wanted to take photos underwater from the get go, but I needed the buoyancy skills first (the reef has always come first). I started off with a little plastic disposable camera, my photos were bad. Really bad. Pictures of a flash of a fish tail as he swam out of frame. *Sigh*. I upgraded to a digital compact in 2004 and kept that until I flooded it and was persuaded to upgrade to DLR in end of 2007 (when I started this blog). This year I’ve upgraded to a Mirrorless camera and am the happiest I’ve ever been with a underwater rig.

Here is my stroll down memory lane. Thankfully the photos get better as we go along!

Memory lane:

This photo of a lionfish was taken in my first week underwater with my compact, in 2004, In Jordan, Red Sea:

Mike quickly realised that life with me would require some training, here he is in 2005 learning buoyancy control for his PADI open water.

My image quality started to pick up when I bought a strobe in 2006:

2007, my first taste of muck diving in Lembeh. Pregnant Pygmy Seahorses, flamboyant cuttle fish hatching, wonderpus, blue ring octopus, oh my! Also where I flooded my camera. Doh! Luckily I was able to borrow someone’s spare.

This is my first underwater SLR photo session – in the pool with Martin Edge and my Nikon D300.

And first photos in the open ocean with it in Cebu, Philippines

Also in 2008, we saw Masked puffer fish schooling in the red sea, so cute & en mass:

In 2009, I saw my first stargazer (Lembeh, where else)?

As part of the same trip, we got our first taste of Raja Ampat. What an amazing place! Unexpectedly (even though I had my first Manta experience), if you discount the mangroves, the highlight for me was the teeny tiny bobtail squid (another first).

Of course you can’t discount the mangroves. This was by far and away the most magical place I’ve ever visited underwater. I couldnt do it justice with my camera unfortunately.

We liked to try and get back to the red sea every year (in fact I think 2007 was the only year I missed since 2003). In 2009, we saw the schooling snappers and other fish for the first time.

In 2010, the water was eerily calm but we didnt seem much schooling action.

Also, in 2010 we went on our first Grand Cayman Alex Mustard workshop. Sharks, Rays, off camera lighting, it was a very interesting trip.

We went back in 2011 to see the newly sank Kittewake wreck (while it was still white):

We chased that one with a snorkel in the hot springs in florida with the Manatees – awesome creatures! I totally had manatee madness. I still wear the manatee yoga pants I bought in the diveshop 🙂 This trip was a tester to see if I could get over my fear or snorkelling (the springs were only waist deep). See here for an adorable manatee video.

We went Cayman to Orlando via a quick stop to dive in Blue Heron Bridge – wow their critters get big! The biggest arrow crabs I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t quite fit him all in as he galloped towards me!

Our red sea trip in 2011 was down to the south, where we played in the caves and the wrecks and saw a lot of clownfish

After the successful manatee snorkelling I decided to go for broke and snorkel in the open ocean with the whalesharks last year. Boy am I glad I did! Here is a selfie I took

While we were over in Mexico we had our first experiences of diving in freshwater caves – the Cenotes were amazing. I’m not a caver so I didn’t go too far off the beaten track.

We squeezed in some macro fun in Bali last year too

Also, started off my video channel on vimeo with this one from my gopro


That brings us to this year, where we lost all our luggage on the way to Raja Ampat and I borrowed Alex’s Olympus for the trip. Hopefully next time it will arrive in time to use it.

And the red sea trip where we had amazing schooling action and lots of fun photographing the Thistlegorm wreck.

Thanks for taking a trip down through the years with me. I made so many amazing friends along the way! Perhaps some of you could do this too? A rundown of your diving adventures since learning to dive and post links into the comments below so we can all see them?

3 thoughts on “10 years taking photos underwater

  1. I enjoyed the trip, Suzy! It seems so similar to mine and probably many others (plastic disposable camera, dreadful pictures, compact camera, more frustration, Martin Edge tutorial, DSLR, Alex Mustard workshops…). Unfortunately, I’ve not hit 10 years with an underwater camera yet (quite a few to go), so I’ll not take up your offer yet to mirror your blog, but when I do…

    p.s. I bottled out of the mirror-less idea (for now). Full frame rig in the post, first outing next month in Cuba!

  2. thanks Paul. Shame – you could do a five years memory lane maybe? Choosing my top 10 all time favs is proving to be very hard!

    Looking fwd to seeing what you do with the fullframe. I suspect you’ll succumb to the beauty of mirrorless in the end though 😉

  3. Pingback: Top 10 underwater photos | Memoirs of an Underwater Photographer

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