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Scubaverse Underwater Photographer Interview: Ivana Orlović Kranjc



In an ongoing series, Scubaverse’s Underwater Photography Editor Nick Robertson-Brown talks to underwater photographers from around the world that he admires. In this blog: Ivana Orlović Kranjc

IOK: Born at the center of Balkan Peninsula in Belgrade, Serbia, hundreds of miles away from the seas it was almost incredible to foresee that Ivana Orlović Kranjc would chose to make sea her passion, home and a workplace. In the last ten years Ivana has been dedicated to underwater photography. Today Ivana is using Nikon D850 in Subal housing. Her specialities are underwater selfies with inhabitants of underwater world and her great split images. Her commitment and exceptional quality were recognized by Mares company and since April 2017 she became Mares Ambassador, one of the biggest brands in the world of diving.

Ivana OK

Mares Ambassador; Padi and SSI diving instructor; National Geographic Serbia Photographer

Facebook: Ivana Orlovic

Instagram: Ivana.O.K

NRB: How did your underwater photography start?

IOK: For many years I have worked as an instructor and managed a diving center. At some point, I wanted to change something. That’s when I fell in love with underwater photography, because it is a lot more than just a simple “snap”. You have to understand the sea and the routines of its inhabitants, perfectly. You need to have a perfect buoyancy and an eye sharp enough to find interesting objects to photograph. But in order to have a recognizable work among photographers from all over the world, you must be very original! Once I started photographing, I have never dived without the camera again.

NRB: What is your favourite u/w camera equipment (past & present) & why?

IOK: Nikon D810 & Nikon D850. Answer is very simple. Those cameras not only make stunning photos but also produce a great video material. Housing I have been using for years is Subal Underwater housing and I am more than satisfied.

NRB: What would be your advice to anyone new to underwater photography?

IOK: With the camera you are not just a “random passer-by” on the reef, it makes you stop, see, explore, learn more and enjoy more…. For me personally, the most beautiful when, upon ascending, I know I have photographed a creature I haven’t seen before…  I sit at the computer and start, with the great help of my friends from around the world, marine biologists, to gather information, explore and learn. Then, I pass it to my diving students via social networks, learning them about the magic of the underwater world.

NRB: What image are you most proud of and why?

IOK: Definitely on the photos of my, back then, six-year-old son who was born in water and is always with us on many diving destinations. He is my favourite model and I am always surprised how much he knows about the sea life and how much he enjoys water.

NRB: Where is your favourite dive location, and is it for the photography?

IOK: There are many locations that live everyone breathless, not just divers, but I have definitely experienced something which knocked me off balance, recently. As a judge of the worlds biggest fiving magazine I was sent to Anilao, Philippines to the world’s biggest underwater photography competition. More than 240 competitors from all over the world. While they were competing, I couldn’t wait to dive myself and explore the far known macro world of Anilao with my camera. They drove us to the location, and we descended. We fell to the 3m deep sandy plateau. Visibility was mediocre. A few blades of grass. Nothing. I thought I had a better location in front of my center, on the lake in Belgrade. I stayed still and sharpened my eyes and mind. And then a most beautiful underwater movie started in front of my eyes. Sand started moving, grass blades started moving, glass bottles started getting eyes… Everything started swarming from life. I simply didn’t know what to photograph first. Nudibranchs, frogfish, glass shrimp, pipefish, pipehorses and seahorses, eels, gobi, clown fish lying on their eggs…. One whole new micro cosmos was created in front of my eyes!

NRB: What do you look for when you are making your images?

IOK: We have all photographed moray eels, octopus ore dolphins a lot of times…but I search for a special scene. Few months ago, in Egypt, I had found a moray eel having a remora cleaner in its mouth. I realized I had to be very patient to make an incredible scene, because I know that it will widely open its mouth at some point. And it did, 45 minutes later. And I was ready. Snap. Phenomenal photo, different perspective and I was awarded for my patience with an exhibition photography.

NRB: If you could photograph any one thing/place what or where would that be?

IOK: I would like to dive with and photograph whales on Tonga and orcas in New Zealand.

To see more of Ivana’s work click here.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit


Diving below the waves of the Western Cape, South Africa – Long Beach at night (Watch Video)



Head under the waves of False Bay and explore the incredible diversity that is found along the Western Cape. The bay has popular dive spots from diving amongst the biodiverse underwater kelp forests to jumping in with the playful and friendly cape fur sealions (Arctocephalus pusillus). The bay along with the rest of the South Africa coast is known for the range of shark species that are found from the shallow coastal shores out into the open oceans. The coast is also home to numerous endemic shark species such as puffadder shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) and Pyjama shark.

Longbeach is a shallow shore dive close to the coastal town of Simonstown on the Western Cape. The dive is mainly made up of diving across the sand with a few wreckages, rocks and outcrops where there’s algae growing. A pipeline can be found at the site which provides locations for species such as Pyjama Sharks (Poroderma africanum) and octopus (Octopus vulgaris) to shelter. Diving at night at the site provides the opportunity to see species that are more often hidden during the day such as cape Squid (Loligo reynaudii) and Biscuit Skate (Raja straeleni). Other shark species such as the small Puff Adder Shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) are also occasionally seen at the site.

Diving with the local dive club – Cape Town Dive Centre.

Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Book Review – The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)



It was the height of the Cold War. The Soviet Cruiser Ordzhonikidz, supported by two destroyers, had brought Soviet leaders Khruschev and Bulganin to Britain for sensitive meetings with the British Government. The ships were moored in Portsmouth harbour and the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, had expressly forbidden any clandestine inspection of them. However, on the morning of 19th April 1956 Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabbe, an experienced naval diver, slipped into the cold waters of Portsmouth harbour. His top secret mission was to photograph the hull, propellers and rudder of the Ordzhonikidze. He was never seen alive again.

A badly decomposed body, with head and hands missing, was discovered by fishermen in Chichester harbour months later. It was claimed to be the missing body of Buster Crabbe – but many had doubts. The incident marked the start of a controversy that claimed the posts of several high ranking naval, government and intelligence service personnel. The author of The Final Dive, Don Hale, claims it is one that still rages and which may not be resolved even when secret government files are released in 2057.

Don Hale, an acknowledged campaigning journalist and former Journalist of the Year brings all his experience and skill to unravelling this longstanding scandal. He has drawn upon official reports and private letters, statements from government representatives, fellow officers and friends to piece together Buster’s life and events leading to his disappearance and subsequent investigation. He speaks of “inquiries blocked by intrigue, constant cover-ups and government bureaucracy coupled with threats relating to the Official Secrets Act” (p. xi). If you like reading about subterfuge on a grand scale you will enjoy The Final Dive.

Don Hale’s meticulous account of the life of Buster Crabbe is supported by dozens of black and white photos and extracts from numerous official documents. It reveals how an amazing series of civilian jobs, wartime activities and friendships with high ranking government officials, British intelligence officers, American CIA operatives. . . and now known spies, prepared him for his final dive and perhaps his fate. One of Crabbe’s acquaintances was the author Ian Fleming – of James Bond fame. Indeed, it is suggested that Fleming based the character of 007 on Buster Crabbe. After reading of his exploits, both before WWII, his bomb disposal work during the war, and afterwards it is easy to see why. Certainly, those who worked with Buster Crabbe “all agree he was fearless.” (p.59). After reading of his exploits one wonders if he was too fearless.

In the later stage of Buster’s life, prior to his disappearance, Don Hall recounts “a constant merry-go-round of overseas assignments” (p. 118) for Crabbe and how he “began to receive increasingly hazardous commissions” (p. 136). It culminated in the morning dive in Portsmouth harbour. Hale’s forsensic-like account of the events surrounding the final dive and aftermath reveals absolute panic and bungling behind the scenes as official answers conflict with known facts. He describes how “The whole incident still seems bathed in secrecy, with the true facts deliberately buried in bureaucracy, and supported at the highest level by an incredible cover-up operation”.(p. 205).

A final comment by Don Hale adds to the intrigue. He states “The only part of the Crabbe puzzle about which I am not certain is not who sent him – we know the answer to that – but why on earth he was he sent, possibly at considerable risk?” (p. 248). After reading The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe you will no doubt have your own ideas.

The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

  • By Don Hale
  • Stroud: Sutton Publishing
  • ISBN 978 0 7509 4574 5
  • 260 pp

Don Hale was a professional footballer before becoming editor of several regional newspapers. He has received numerous national and international awards for investigative journalism including Journalist of the Year. In 2002 he was awarded an OBE for his campaigning journalism in the Stephen Downing miscarriage of justice case. He has championed several others who have been wrongly convicted.

His other books include Town without Pity (2002), Murder in the Graveyard (2019) and Mallard: How the ‘Blue Steak’ Broke the World Speed Record (2019).

Find out more about Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author, at

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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