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Scubaverse Underwater Photographer Interview: Tobias Friedrich

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In this ongoing series, Scubaverse’s Underwater Photography Editor Nick Robertson-Brown talks to underwater photographers from around the world that he admires. In this blog: Tobias Friedrich

In his childhood Tobias Friedrich loved to watch the adventures of the Calypso with Jacques-Yves Cousteau as its captain and the beauty of the world that is below the ocean’s surface. It’s still an overwhelming feeling for him when he has the chance to dive. He loves the elegance and calmness of the world underwater standing in contrast to the hectic atmosphere above.

Tobias Friedrich lives in Germany and started taking pictures with a DSLR underwater in 2007. Since then, his images have been published in prestigious scuba diving magazines and newspapers around the world. Several underwater photographic competitions have honoured his work, resulting in over 50 awards with nearly 30 1st places. Lately he has been named “Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018” in the prestigious UPY London competition and “German Photographer of the Year 2019” in Germany. All waters, from zero to 30° Celsius, are attractive for him, so long as there is something to photograph. He uses SEACAM equipment for his Canon EOS 1DX Mark II and 5D Mark II DSLR. Tobias leads expeditions and workshops around the world, where everybody can join.


NRB: How did your underwater photography start?

TF: Basically, through diving. I made my Open Water Diver in 2001 and from 2003 I took a small compact camera underwater to be able to take a few shots. In 2007 I changed to a DSLR and from then on it started to become more professional.

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

TF: My current main camera is a Canon 1DX Mark II in a SEACAM silver housing along with SEACAM Seaflash 150D strobes. Everything else is also from SEACAM.  I consider this setup as the best I have had so far.

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

TF: Try to take the camera as much as you can underwater and learn from images of other underwater photographers as you try to analyse why they are good (or not). This helped me a lot in the beginning.

Iceberg with a diver underneath it with video lights shining on the iceberg, supported by Northern Explorers A/S, Tasiilaq, East Greenland, Atlantic Ocean, Arctic, Northpole, Icebergs.

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

TF: I followed Eric Cheng a lot in the early 2000s and I can definitely say that he inspired me in becoming an underwater photographer.

NRB: What image are you most proud of and why?

TF: I’m not really “proud” of my images, I’m just happy if people like them. But I was proud that Adobe selected my split shot of the Humpback Whale from the Sultanate of Oman as their start screen of Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, swimming close to the surface in a split shot half under and half over water with brown desert mountains in the background at Al Sawda, Al-Hallaniyah, Khuriya Muriya Islands, Oman, Indian Ocean.

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

TF: That are so many, but if I have to name one, then definitely Egypt because it’s so reliable regarding diving and photography there, and at the same time so close to reach.

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

TF: It’s a definite no go for me to manipulate images, especially for marine life and also if you want to document marine life. To remove a diver in the background who is “in the way” might be ok as well for advertising, but not in documentary.

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

TF: Usually not something in particular. I like to go on a dive and discover the subjects right on the dive. But then I’m always looking for the best perspective on a subject.

Split shot of a hard coral garden with sunset behind it, Gordon Reef, Strait of Tiran, Northern Red Sea, Egypt, Northern Africa.

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

TF: To see that people like the images and they can see the beauty of the oceans and they need to be preserved.

Male Orca Whale, Orcinus orca, swimming underneath the surface to take a breath, split shot half half with snowy mountains in the background, near Tromso, near Skjervoy, Northern Norway, Atlantic Ocean.

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

TF: I would like to photograph a Blue Whale.


To see more of Tobias’ work please visit his website here: www.BELOW-SURFACE.com

His book “Underwater Photography” about how to photograph underwater can be found on Amazon and is available in English and German: www.amazon.com/Underwater-Photography-Tobias-Friedrich/dp/1937538524

To read his feature on Apo Reef in our Philippines Dive Adventures magazine 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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News

Ocean Art 2020 Winners Announced!

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Ocean Art Contest Announces the Best Underwater Photos of the Year

The prestigious Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition, organized by the Underwater Photography Guide, has announced the best underwater photos this year with its 2020 winners. Despite global travel restrictions and the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 9th annual competition attracted an extremely high caliber of photos from oceans around the world. Underwater explorers captured photos locally, in select destinations currently open to travel, or revisited their archives to bring us some eye-catching photography. This unique assortment of photos could not have been possible without the help of our generous sponsors who have all had to navigate a changing travel and dive industry. Many of these same sponsors helped the Ocean Art competition raise money earlier in this year to raise money to donate to the WHO and CDC in their fight against Covid-19. These photos showcase the perseverance of underwater artistry amidst the adversity of the times.

All the winning photos can be seen at the Underwater Photography Guide at https://www.uwphotographyguide.com/ocean-art-contest-winners-2020

The Best of Show is a once-in-a-lifetime moment of an octopus taking a selfie with the photographer and his curious family in the background. The photo was captured by photographer Gaetano Dario Gargiulo close to his home in the tide pools of Kamay Botany Bay National Park, New South Wales, Australia.  Other extraordinary winners include astonishing scenes of animal behavior, images that bring hope for the next generation of sea creatures, displays of ingenious photographic technique, and conservation scenes that reflect on not just the need to conserve our planet, but our species as well. The judges evaluated thousands of entries from 80 countries before selecting the final set of images as Ocean Art winners.

Ocean Art 2020 judges included prestigious underwater photographers Tony Wu, Mark Strickland, and Marty Snyderman.

Over $45,000 in prizes have be awarded, making the Ocean Art prize value among the highest in the world.

Ocean Art prizes are provided by some of the world’s top scuba diving resorts, liveaboard dive yachts, and underwater photo gear manufacturers. Grand prizes include a choice of 7 or 8 nights for two aboard the Coralia Liveaboard in Raja Ampat or Komodo, a 7 night liveaboard trip on the M.V. Bilikili in the Solomon Islands, a 7-night dive package with Villa Markisa, a 7 night dive package at Siladen Resort & Spa in Bunaken, a 12 night Passport to Paradise with Murex Dive Resorts and Lembeh Resort to three different Indonesian destinations, a 5-night dive vacation with AquaMarine Diving Bali & Ramayana Candidasa, a 7-night dive vacation at Atlantis Philippines Dive Resorts, and a variety of gift certificates from Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel. Premium travel prizes are provided by Volivoli Beach Resort (Fiji), Crystal Blue Dive Resort (Philippines), and Solitude Liveaboards & Resorts (Philippines and Indonesia). Premium gear prizes are provided by Sea & Sea and Ikelite. 12 different categories ensure a competitive contest for all levels and disciplines of underwater photography.

The photographic ingenuity from competitors is getting better every year – making judging very difficult and demonstrating that the winning images are some of the best in the world. Bluewater Photo and Bluewater Travel owner and Underwater Photography Guide publisher, Scott Gietler commented, “The Ocean Art team was thrilled to see that so many photographers were able to get out, dive, and immerse themselves in photography this year. The Best of Show was especially impressive. My only concern is that the octopus should get its share of the prize, as it did assist in taking the shot!” 

For more information, please visit http://www.uwphotographyguide.com 

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Gear Reviews

Gear Review: SeaLife SportDiver housing for iPhone (Watch Video)

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In a video shot exclusively for Scubaverse.com, Jeff Goodman reviews the SeaLife SportDiver housing for Apple’s iPhone, used with the Sea Dragon 2500 Light.

For more information about Sealife Underwater Cameras visit the website by clicking here

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