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: Jane Morgan.
JM: Ever since I was a child I had strong attraction to the sea, in fact the first time I saw it as a toddler I ran straight in to the shock of my parents, who had to run in fully clothed to drag me back out.
In my past life I worked at DIVE magazine in London, but I am now Dive Safety Officer on the Marine and Natural History Photography degree course at Falmouth University.
I am inspired by a love of nature and the sea. I originally come from Bedfordshire, but spent most of my adult life in London before making the move to Cornwall in 2009. It’s the perfect mix of country and coastal living.
As I have the sea on my doorstep most of my diving is here in Cornwall, but I do enjoy diving over the rest of the UK too and try to arrange a couple of trips to other parts of England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland each year. But I do of course still enjoy some warm water diving when I can. I am also a part of a team from Falmouth University who take students to the Red Sea each year to hone their underwater photography skills.
NRB: How did your underwater photography start?
JM: I learned to dive in 1991, but didn’t pick up a camera until 2000 when a very persistent dive guide on a liveaboard insisted that I do a course. I had spent the late 90s working on conservation projects overseas and was suddenly wondering how to keep myself entertained underwater. It was love at first click. My proudest moment was winning the Plongeur D’Or at the Antibes Festival in 2006.
NRB: What is your favourite u/w camera equipment (past & present) & why?
JM: My first underwater camera was a second hand Motormarine II Ex, which I absolutely loved. Nowadays as I work at Falmouth University my own D300 with Sea & Sea housing has been in storage for some years as I need to be familiar with the uni kit so I can help the students. I am rather taken with the Nikon D500 in a Nauticam housing, plus as I’m a big fan of macro the Nauticam SMC is also a big favourite.
NRB: What would be your advice to anyone new to underwater photography?
JM: My advice to anyone new to underwater photography would be to get close and pick the brains of everyone who inspires you.
NRB: What, or who, has been your single biggest inspiration for your underwater photography?
JM: Due to his support and help in the early days I would have to say that Martin Edge was my big inspiration.
NRB: What image are you most proud of and why?
JM: The image I am most proud of right now would be a shot taken with the SMC in the Scillies of two skeleton shrimps and a sea spider. I just love that there is a whole tiny and almost invisible world down there if you can take the time to find it.
NRB: Where is your favourite dive location, and is it for the photography?
JM: The Cornwall and the Scillies have to be my favourite dive location. Maybe I’m biased as I live here. The UK can be more challenging that blue water diving, but it’s exciting, you never know what you may see, and when its good its amazing.
NRB: What are you views on marine life manipulation, moving subjects?
JM: I don’t agreed at all with moving or manipulating subjects underwater, I very much come from the generation of ‘take only photos leave only bubbles.’
NRB: What do you look for when you are making your images?
JM: I generally look for good backgrounds and compositions when making images. Also finding subjects that can be photographed without damaging any fragile habitats around them.
NRB: What motivates you to take u/w photos?
JM: I think what motivates me most is the ability to share the beauty of our oceans. We all know that the seas are in danger and as divers and underwater photographers we have a responsibility to help safeguard them. Many people have no idea of the life below the waves and hopefully by sharing the beauty more will be inspired to help save them.
RB: If you could photograph any one thing/place what or where would that be?
JM: If I could photograph one thing it would have to be whales. I’ve never been in the water with these majestic creatures and it would definitely be a dream come true.
To see more of Jane’s work click here.
Jane’s work will be featured in the next issue of Dive Travel Adventures magazine!