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Scubaverse Underwater Photographer Interview: Josef Litt

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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: Josef Litt.

Photo: Dr Alex Mustard

I grew up in Czechoslovakia, and we now live with my family in a small town called Twyford, west of London. I dreamt of adventures in faraway lands and in the ocean since I was a little boy, although my interest in technology took over in my early teenage years. Computers became the subject of my studies and later occupation. However, the romance with adventure and nature grew stronger and stronger. The decision to go diving was inspired by my dad becoming a diver in the local army organisation in the late 1970s.

‘Build a house, father a child, become a diver.’

I managed these goals and also planted some trees in 2006. The decisive moment arrived when I brought a borrowed Canon S90 in an underwater housing to my second diving trip. The photos were dreadful, but the bug has bitten.

I like photography, but I love the stories and the adventure more. Which explains why I’d rather write an article than prepare images for competition. Winning is a great feeling but so is to see an article published in a magazine with a photo on the cover page. The most rewarding feeling though was to receive fantastic reviews of my book GALÁPAGOS from readers and magazine editors.

Nowadays I enjoy leading trips to the Galapagos and other destinations, taking photographs, writing articles and working on my next book. Juggling this, family life and my work as a business transformation consultant keeps me busy every minute.

My website www.joseflitt.com covers all about the trips, GALÁPAGOS and my photography. Follow me on Facebook (Josef Litt and Photography by Josef Litt) and on Instagram (@jlittphoto).

Check out the 2020 Galapagos trips on Scuba Travel’s website by clicking here.


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

JL: The first camera I ever used underwater was a Canon, and I stayed faithful ever since. I own a Canon 5D Mark IV in Nauticam housing, and I am loving it. The dynamic range and the low noise of the sensor allow me to take pictures in difficult lighting situations. The ergonomics of the housing is impressive. I feel I have everything I need at my fingertips.

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

JL: Firstly, have fun! Learn as much as you can, read about photography, book an underwater photography workshop. Bite the bullet and learn Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop properly. Your ability to develop underwater images is as important as the ability to take them.

NRB: What, or who, has been your single biggest inspiration for your underwater photography?

JL: The word ‘single’ in the question puzzles me. The natural history TV series featuring the underwater world formed my interest. But there was no such a thing as a single biggest inspiration. I am privileged to have a chance to learn from the grandmasters: Martin Edge and Alex Mustard, and also be part of an awesome community of underwater photographers around the world.

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

JL: My most favourite dive locations are in the Galapagos. Darwin and Wolf are fantastic dive sites. Diving with marine iguanas at Cabo Douglas on Fernandina is also an unforgettable experience. Galapagos is not an easy location to take photographs, but results can be stunning with perseverance and careful lighting techniques.

NRB: What are you views on marine life manipulation, moving subjects?

JL: I am against harassing marine life. One could say that the act of flying to exotic destinations has a much more significant impact than moving a candy crab to the top of the soft coral. Also, one flash may not harm a pygmy seahorse but a queue of keen photographers taking ten or more shots each probably will. A healthy respect for the environment and the creatures living in it is critical. Awarding a manipulated image means blacklisting the competition for me.

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

JL: I look for the background, the decisive moment, composition, play of light and an interesting foreground subject. I am usually pleased with clean, uncluttered images.

NRB: What motivates you to take u/w photos?

JL: It is the desire to illustrate the stories about a place, an animal or an event with a view from another angle. Same reason why I enjoy taking split photographs and taking images with a drone.

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

JL: A gathering of whales. If I were limited to a single place, I would stay in the Galapagos.

To see more of Josef Litt’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 www.frogfishphotography.com

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

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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.

Situated a short drive out of Simonstown is the shore dive at Windmill beach. A short swim over the sand and through the large boulders you enter the incredibly diverse and colourful kelp forests (Ecklonia maxima), a species that can grow up to 12m tall. Life is found in abundance from the base of the kelp where many sea urchins and species such as abalone can be seen then heading into the canopy many shoaling fish species can be observed.

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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Gear News

Fourth Element to make diving tools from recycled PPE

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Fourth Element has partnered with recycling and repurposing experts, Waterhaul, to retask the mask; turning single-use plastics into the tools we use in pursuit of underwater adventure. Face masks and other items of PPE from hospitals are melted down into blocks, sterilising the material which fourth element purchases, recycle and transforms.

These cave line markers are the first of what fourth element hopes will be many products using this waste material to give it a new life beyond protecting the lives of our frontline healthcare workers. Each marker re-uses the equivalent of two disposable masks. Waste is given a new direction.

The end product is completely safe. The PPE is heat treated by the hospital: the plastic is heated to high temperatures multiple times; first to make the blocks within the recycling process, and also whilst injection moulding the parts.

What makes this OceanPositive?

In the UK alone, 58 million single-use plastic face masks are thrown away every day, littering landfills and polluting the environment. Globally, we use 129 billion per month – that’s enough to wrap around the world 550 times! Over the last 12 months, a recorded 1.5 billion have entered the ocean, disrupting our ecosystem and endangering marine life across the globe. And that’s just what has been recorded.

These lines markers are made from recycled PPE, each one saving two masks from entering landfill or our oceans. Part of fourth element’s Zero Waste and Zero Plastic initiatives; to re-purpose as much plastic as possible and find new uses for products at the end of their lives.

We believe that this is the way,” said Jim Standing, co-founder of fourth element. “We are all going to have to tackle the challenges of a post covid world and one of these will be how we deal with the waste we have created as part of keeping ourselves and in particular, our frontline workers protected. We intend to play our part.”

For more information visit the Fourth Element website by clicking here.

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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 john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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