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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 (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 www.frogfishphotography.com

News

Nauticam announce NA-A7C Housing for Sony a7C Camera

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Sony’s latest full frame mirrorless camera, the a7C offers the underwater image maker one of the most compact and travel friendly full frame systems available on the market today.  The a7C features Sony’s latest stellar autofocus and a much improved battery life thanks to its use of the larger Z series battery. The BIONZ X processor delivers superb low-light performance and faster image processing. For video shooters, the a7C features internal UHD 4K capture in the wide-dynamic range HLG image profile at up to 30p.

Nauticam has housed more mirrorless cameras, and more Sony E Mount cameras than any other housing manufacturer. This experience results in the most evolved housing line with broadest range of accessories available today.

Pioneering optical accessories elevate performance to a new level. Magnifying viewfinders, the sharpest super macro accessory lenses ever made, and now the highest quality water contact wide angle lenses (the WWL-1B and WACP-1) combine with the NA-A7C housing to form a complete imaging system.

Nauticam is known for ergonomics, and an unmatched experience. Key controls are placed at the photographer’s fingertips. The housing and accessories are light weight, and easy to assemble. The camera drops in without any control presetting, and lens port changes are effortless.

NA-A7C features an integrated handle system. This ergonomic style provides exceptional control access, even with thick gloves, with ideal placement of the shutter release and a thumb-lever to actuate the AF-ON button from the right handle.

Nauticam build quality is well known by underwater photographers around the globe. The housing is machined from a solid block of aluminum, then hard anodized making it impervious to salt water corrosion. Marine grade stainless and plastic parts complete the housing, and it is backed by a two year warranty against manufacturing defects.

For more information in the UK visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

For more information in the USA visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

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Blogs

BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

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A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.

The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

We have a new host, Dr. Colleen Bielitz, and today we’ll be interviewing a recent college graduate as part of our once-a-month episode that focuses on students: the next generation of conservationists, researchers, and activists.

What are the next generation of ocean stewards doing to protect our Blue Earth? Join us as we find out by speaking to Lauren Brideau, a recent graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. Lauren started as an undeclared major but soon found her calling, now she is part of a research team conserving life below water.  She is a prime example that if you want to defend our oceans and the creatures that depend on the sea to survive, now is the time to become part of the solution.


Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.


You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

 

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