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Scubaverse Underwater Photographer Interview: Janice Carter

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In an ongoing series, Scubaverse.com’s Underwater Photography Editors Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown talk to underwater photographers from around the world that they admire.

I started diving as a way to find myself again after 8.5 years of spinal surgeries which included a fusion and an artificial disc in my lumbar spine. I always loved the water so I decided to get back to the basics of what I loved. Over the years I have enjoyed helping others find passion and healing by volunteering my time with multiple Girl Scout troops, S.H.A.R.K. (Sheriff’s High Adventure for Responsible Kids), dive clubs and wounded Veteran programs.

I’ve been very lucky to have traveled all around the world to experience amazing cultures and places to dive. I have been working and traveling with Scuba Diver Girls for a few years as their photographer and am a Sea & Sea Alpha Alumni which is a great honor. Amongst some wonderful accolades, I’ve been lucky enough to have my work in a National Geographic program with Sylvia Earle and will soon announce another amazing accomplishment equally as great.

I’ve always been an artist and I think it’s just my passion and how I look at things that helps make an interesting photo. I currently live in Southern California but my heart lives in many places around the world and below the surface.

You can see more of my work here and I love meeting new dive buddies so stop by and say “Hi” sometime! Instagram: www.instagram.com/ScubaChickPhotography Facebook: www.facebook.com/ScubaChickPhotography Website: www.ScubaChickPhotography.com


N&C: How did your underwater photography start?

JC: It all started my first day in the ocean in my open water class when a large school of fish surrounded me. It was an immediate sense of awe and something inside me screamed that I needed to photograph this amazing new world. My Mom was a photographer and I dabbled with it a little, but never found inspiration until that day when the ocean gave it to me.

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

JC: I absolutely love my Sea & Sea gear! I’ve lugged it all over the world for years and it’s even affectionately nicknamed my “baby”. I currently use a Nikon D7000 with either a Tokina 10-17 wide angle lens or a 105 macro lens and Sea & Sea housing and YS-D1 strobes.

N&C: What would be your advice to anyone new to underwater photography?

JC: The first thing is to make sure you are knowledgeable and comfortable diving before you ever put a camera in your hands. It’s important for so many reasons to also have your buoyancy on point. So often you see those “photographers” damaging the reef or putting themselves at risk, because they simply don’t have the dive skills.

For a new photographer, its helpful to remember to get close and fill your frame with the subject if possible (without disturbing anything obviously). Make it the star of the photo and think about the composition.

Another major help is to use lighting. At depth you lose your colors so adding back a full spectrum of light will really help your images pop and not be all blue tones. If you can’t afford a strobe maybe try your dive light and see what you can come up with. Remember, never light straight at a subject from the lens or you will highlight the detritus in the water, light the subject from the sides!

My final bit of advice is to have fun and just keep practicing. I never took any classes (except the basic PADI photographer class) or learned from anyone. I simply just kept trying and working at it. Keep in mind you can find lots of information online to help you improve.

N&C: What, or who, has been your single biggest inspiration for your underwater photography?

JC: That’s a hard question because I’m pretty much self-taught as an underwater photographer but I’d say my biggest inspiration for photography itself would be my Mom who passed away when I was 17. I’ll always remember her dark room and her love of doing her photos. What inspired me to do underwater photography was simply my love of the ocean and everything in it.

N&C: What image are you most proud of and why?

JC: That’s just almost an impossible question for me to answer but I have one that sticks in my mind. I love many images for many different reasons but I tend to love very close up and personal images. For example, the shark image I took right before he tried to bite my strobe or the turtle intensely looking at his reflection in my dome port. But I still think one of my favorite images is this one (even though it’s before we got in the water to dive). These Wounded Warriors gave so much and I love having them in my life.

N&C: Where is your favourite dive location, and is it for the photography?

JC: I have a few that I really enjoyed but I have to say my favorite dive location so far is Yap. The diving was so pristine and beautiful with Sharks and Mantas and the best night dive I’ve ever done. I also thought the people and culture were so amazing. I tend to love more off-the-grid locations that aren’t as touched by civilization.

N&C: What are you views on marine life manipulation, moving subjects?

JC: It’s just absolutely a no-no! Many times, I couldn’t get the shot because of the position of the subject, but that is never an excuse to move an animal for an image. Laying on or damaging coral, or other fragile sea life to get a shot is not ok. We have to respect our environment and protect it as best we can.

N&C: What do you look for when you are making your images?

JC: I’m just looking for a moment. Sometimes you get lucky and a special moment happens underwater. To be in the right place at the right time to capture that moment is what I want. It’s those handful of dives, out of thousands, that you will never forget.

N&C: What motivates you to take u/w photos?

JC: Pure passion is what motivates me! I love bringing back images to share that bring a smile to someone’s face or makes a difference in their life somehow. Sometimes it’s the person who thanks me for bringing back a piece of something they can’t see anymore, and sometimes it’s bringing back a sense of peace to someone who has lost someone they can’t see anymore. I’ve heard so many stories about how an image has affected another, either by a smile or by something more. That’s why I do it. I also hope my photos gives an insight into our blue planet, so people think more about taking better care of it for our future.

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

JC: Well, thats a pretty easy answer for me. I’d love to go down and see/photograph the Titanic. I know it’s been done, but I’d just love to be that deep (12,500 feet) in the ocean and see something few people will ever see in person. Something that will soon not exist except in a photograph or in a book.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 1

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Over the next seven days, join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy as we publish a Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Deptherapy made the very brave decision to book an expedition to our home in Egypt as soon as Roots Red Sea received their certificate from the Egyptian Authorities that the camp and dive centre was COVID secure. Roots is one of very few resorts to receive a certificate from the Egyptian Government.

We arrived in Roots the day after they re-opened.

Getting together an expedition was a major task. Very few Approved Medical Examiners’ of Divers or Dive Referees are conducting consultations at the moment. Availability of beneficiaries and the requirement to quarantine on return from Egypt affected the number of beneficiaries available.

There was also a requirement to pass a COVID PCR virus test within 72 hours of travelling.

We had decided on a small expedition and on the day of travel we had six flying to Egypt.  Unfortunately, Chris Middleton had to drop out the day before we travelled after emergency wisdom tooth surgery.

Our group comprised of Richard Cullen, Michael Hawley, Tom Oates, Tom Swarbrick, Keiron Bradbury and Corey Goodson.  Keiron was undertaking his RAID Master Rescue Course and, as it turned out, Corey was undertaking the RAID Open Water 20 course.

A deserted Gatwick Airport at 0900 on 10 October

Our outbound flight was before midday on Saturday 10 October and I must admit we were all shocked at how deserted was.  Checking in with easyJet took minutes and when we boarded the plane, we found it less than half full.

Corey is a paraplegic since a car accident two years ago while he was training prior to joining the Royal Anglian Regiment.  Corey has no sensation below the waist and is unable to use his legs.  The cabin crew on our flight were quite amazed to see the two Toms and Michael lift him from his wheelchair and place him in his seat for the flight.

Mask protocols were strictly observed by the team, the flight was uneventful, and the easyJet Cabin Crew superb. We also took a digital thermometer to check temperatures prior to flying.

Corey having a pre-flight temperature check

Hurghada Airport was very quiet and we moved through Immigration and collected our baggage in very quick time.

Two things to note:  If you are travelling to Hurghada you need to complete a COVID declaration for the Egyptian Authorities. If not, you have to fill out the rather lengthy form when you arrive.  You can undertake a COVID test on arrival at Hurghada Airport but the queues are long.  It costs much less than the tests we had done in the UK – BUT – you are required to be quarantined at your hotel until the test result comes through.  This means two days with no access to resort facilities.  If the test comes back as positive you have at least two weeks being confined to your room.

COVID guidelines

Transport to Roots was, as ever, on hand and we were soon at the camp and being briefed about the COVID arrangements.  A lot of work has been put in place to make Roots COVID compliant – and all at considerable expense.

None of the usual hugs with the Roots team and you have your temperature checked every morning and every time you return from the dive centre.  Your dive kit is sterilised every night ready for the next day’s diving.

Sterilised Dive Kit

We all felt very COVID secure.

Check back for tomorrow’s Blog and our first day diving…


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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And the winner of our TUSA Paragon S Mask competition is…

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We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win a TUSA Paragon S Mask from our good friends at CPS Partnership!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Lee Evans from the UK.

Congratulations Lee – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on Scubaverse.com right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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