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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 supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Competitions

WIN a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!

This torch delivers 1200 lumens of light powered by an ion rechargeable battery. There are 4 levels of brightness with burn times between 2-20 hours. Battery charge level is indicated via coloured lights around the on/off button. The beam angle is 10°. The anodised aluminium alloy housing sealed by double ‘O’ rings with a max operating depth of 100m. SRP £125.00 which includes torch, charging cradle and battery.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported via the Marine Conservation Society that the UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act is the first legislation of its kind in nearly how many years?

Is it:

  • A) 60
  • B) 50
  • C) 40

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch November 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 06/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Northern Diver Christmas Sale starts TODAY!

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This year Northern Diver’s Christmas offers are starting on Black Friday and running until midnight on New Year’s Eve! 

There are some great deals to be had across the site – www.ndiver.com – from discounted Drysuits and Coltri compressors to 15% off their entire Lighting Section!

And if you can’t find the perfect present for the diver in your life, they have a choice of Gift Cards on offer. They are even giving you £25 extra when you purchase a £100 voucher!

The offers don’t stop there – there is FREE shipping on all orders over £100 and even a FREE gift with every online purchase.

Every purchase will get you entered into a great prize draw to win one of their new Electracore 3.0mm Rechargeable Heated Vests!

And should you find that you need to return any of your purchases, Northern Diver understand that Christmas may be a little different for everyone this year and you may not get to see every one over Christmas, so they have extended their Returns Period to the end of January 2021. (Valid for purchases made from Black Friday to end of December 2020).

Some unmissable offers to look out for are the Varilux Zoom, part of the Varilux Black & Gold Range, with its variable beam width; and Northern Diver’s 4mm compressed Neoprene Drysuit, the Voyager, which is on offer for an incredible £475!

For more information visit the Northern Diver website by clicking here.

Photo credit: Joe Duffy

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Competitions

Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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